Chilterns Women Conference

Chilterns Women Conference

Chilterns Women logo

The Chalk, Cherries and Chairs Landscape Partnership Scheme held a one day conference to celebrate the working women of the Chilterns for International Women’s Day on Wednesday 8th March 2023 at Missenden Abbey.

The conference was an inspiring day celebrating the women who excelled in some of the traditional crafts, skills and work found in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, where record books tell us that the development of a modern local economy was driven by the men of the High Wycombe furniture trade, agricultural merchants and landowning farmers. The lives and critical importance of contributions made by the working women in this area has often been overlooked.

From weavers and sculptors, to historians and policy makers, we hosted a range of experts who presented and demonstrated as part of our one day conference on International Women’s Day.

View the conference brochure

View the conference slides

Conference details

We’ve written a News piece about the conference with some more photos and description. Read more about the conference.

  • Keynote speakers, speaker panels and discussions
  • Craft demonstrations – straw plaiting, lace making, chair caning, tambour beading
  • Book and craft shop, social networking, workshops
  • Buffet lunch included, featuring local fare and fine local products
  • Exhibition of ‘Invisible Chilterns Women’
  • Guided village and woodland walks (Weds and Thurs mornings), access to open gardens
  • Options for Wednesday evening dinner, bed and breakfast following the conference.


  • Straw plaiting with Veronica Main MBE
    Instagram @hat.plait
  • Lace Making with Alex Adkins
  • Chair Caning with Celia James
  • Tambour Beading with Stuart King
  • Chair Matting/Rushing with Mollie McMillen of Field Farm Project & McMillen Art
  • Book shop containing books from our speakers and panelists, the Chilterns Stories collection and more
  • Ceramics by Jane White
    Instagram @janewhiteceramics
  • Knots and Embers
    Instagram @knotsandembers
  • Textiles by Majeda Clarke
    Instagram majeda_clarke
  • Flick through the conference brochure above, or download it.
  • Flick through the conference slides above- please note any form of  reproduction, transmission, display, rental, lending or storage of the content and images in this document is prohibited in any retrieval system without the consent of the copyright holders.

Wednesday 8th March 2023

  • 9:30 am- 10:30 am: Guided Sufragettes walk led by historian Martin Pounce (optional, when booked with day conference ticket)
  • 10:00 -11am: Conference Registrations and Refreshments
  • 11-11:30am: Welcome by our conference Chair – Judith Green and Keynote address – Dr Elaine King, Chief Executive of the Chilterns Conservation Board
  • 11:30-1pm: Panel discussion: ‘Women and the natural environment’
    •In their Own Words 3 minute video
    •Panel Chair: Estelle Bailey, CEO of Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
    •Mary Tebje from Chilterns Tourism on the role of women in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
    •Dr Geeta Ludhra from Brunel University on ‘Women of Colour in the Chilterns: Space Invaders vs Safe Space Creators’
    •Claire de Carle from Buckinghamshire Gardens Trust on Maud Grieve and medicinal herb production in WWI
  • 12:55-1pm
    In their Own Words video / song video playing out into lunch
  • 1-2:30pm: Buffet lunch and a chance to network with delegates and speakers, as well as look at the craft demonstrations, ‘Invisible Women’ exhibition & shop
  • 2:30-4pm
    Panel discussion: ‘Women, arts & crafts’
    •In their Own Words 3 minute video
    •Panel Chair: Dr Helena Chance, leader of the Woodlanders’ Lives and Landscapes
    project, Buckinghamshire New University on Traditional Chilterns Crafts
    •Hattie Speed, Designer-Maker & Craft Communicator on the therapeutic nature of Craft
    •Majeda Clarke from the British Craft Council on ‘My Grandmother’s Sari: How to
    Sustain a Career in Crafts’
    •Jane White from Jane White Ceramics
  • 4 – 4:30 pm: Photographs in the Garden and afternoon refreshments
    Cheese & wine samples from local suppliers -Harrow & Hope and The Marlow Cheese Co
  • 4:30 – 6 pm: Women and The World of Work Panel Discussion
    •In their Own Words 3 minute video
    •Panel Chair: Eliza Alqassar, Historic and Built Environment Manager at
    Buckinghamshire Council
    •Dr Lesley Hoskins, Research Associate from Woodlanders Lives and Landscapes:
    ‘Girls, young women and work in the Chilterns 1850-1914’
    •Jane Clare Jones, feminist philosopher, writer and teacher
    •Ann Henderson former Assistant Secretary STUC, women’s movement and labour
    movement campaigner
  • 5:45 – 6pm: Closing words
  • 7 pm onwards: Formal Dinner and Social (optional when booked with day conference ticket)
  • Overnight stay & breakfast (optional when booked with day conference ticket)

Thursday 9th March 2023

  • 10am- 1pm: Guided Walk led by Nick Marriner (optional, to be booked with your day conference ticket)

Coming soon! Please register for our newsletter if you’d like to hear when they’re online.

Exhibition: Hidden Hands: Women and work in the Chilterns

Our conference coincided with the opening of a 6 month long exhibition at Wycombe Museum: ‘Hidden Hands: Women and work in the Chilterns’ which will look at women working in four of those industries: straw plaiting in Buckland; caning and rushing chair seats in West Wycombe; lace making in Great Hampden; and braiding and beading centred on Holmer Green.

The six month long exhibition opened at Wycombe Museum on 7th March, running until 10th September 2023 and has been curated by the Woodlanders’ Lives and Landscapes project team in partnership with Wycombe Museum. A series of events including Discover and Make sessions, a family day, lacemaking workshop, Bodgers Pub Tour and a ‘memory day’ will take place alongside the exhibition.

Find out more and book events
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In their Own Words: book and videos

In Their Own Words is part of the Chilterns Stories collection; a series of oral histories presented in videos and a book, describing work in the traditional Chilterns industries of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The nine stories are extracted from Wycombe Museum’s social history archive and based on original research by the volunteers and staff of Woodlanders’ Lives and Landscapes.

Find out more
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Chilterns ANOB
Chilterns ANOB

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