The RCVS Charitable Trust, in collaboration with Imperial College London and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), is supporting a studentship entitled ‘Veterinary training and veterinary work: a female perspective, 1919-2000’.
This studentship will study women’s shifting expectations, experiences, professional networks and career trajectories, and examine how and why certain veterinary activities came to be regarded as suitable (or unsuitable) work for women.
In the course of this research Julie Hipperson (student) will catalogue the personal collections of two prominent female vets, Connie Ford and Olga Uvarov, in order to make their papers more accessible to both a veterinary and a general audience.
"This exciting project is an opportunity to use archival material held by the RCVS Charitable Trust Library, interview transcripts, and surveys, to describe and analyse the educational and work experiences of successive generations of female British vets.”
Trust Librarian & Collaborative Partner Supervisor
About the student
Julie Hipperson completed her BA in History at King’s College London, and after a lengthy detour through university administration, completed her MA in Modern History, also at King’s, last year. Her background is predominantly in modern British History, and as well as an interest in women in the professions in the twentieth century, is also interested in rural environments and communities.
“I am very much looking forward to getting started on the project. Not coming from a veterinary background, and as someone who has spent most of her working life behind a computer, I am full of admiration for professionals who have not only trained for so long to become competent in what they do, but who are on their feet on a day-to-day basis, applying their knowledge to real situations. These intellectual and physical challenges are remarkable even today, but put in the context of older veterinary practices, they seem even more so.
Through this project I seek to explore the change which has occurred in the profession in the twentieth century, and more specifically the experience of women in veterinary education and work. Aleen Cust sounds like a remarkable woman, and in cataloguing the papers of Connie Ford and Olga Uvarov, I hope new insights will be gained into the most famous of veterinary female pioneers. More than this, however, I will be looking at the larger body of female vets in their own right, their aspirations, motivations and achievements since 1919, and also the obstacles they encountered, in order to contextualise the ‘feminisation’ the profession.
This is a sizeable challenge, but one which I hope will be invaluable not only to the profession, but also to understand more fully women in the professions throughout the twentieth century.”
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If you would like to find out more about this project, please contact Trust Librarian, Clare Boulton, on 020 7202 0752 or at email@example.com.
Photo: Graduating class of 1954 Bristol Veterinary School. Photo kindly supplied by Bristol Veterinary School.