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Iris Murdoch and Philippa Foot: an Arc of Friendship

Date:03 May 2013 to
25 May 2013
Location:Kingston Museum Gallery, Wheatfield Way, Kingston upon Thames
Opening times: Tuesday, Friday and Saturday 10am–5pm, Thursday 10am–7pm
 KT1 2PS

The exhibition will center on letters from Iris Murdoch (1919-1999) to Philippa Foot (1920-2010), acquired by Kingston University with the support of a grant of £107,000 from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The exhibition provides a fascinating visual record of a life-long friendship between two remarkable women who are substantial figures in mid to late 20th Century British history,” Dr Anne Rowe, Director of Kingston University’s Centre for Iris Murdoch Studies, said. “They have, between them, left an extremely rich cultural legacy in literature and philosophy.”

Both Murdoch and Foot remain influential moral philosophers. Murdoch is also the acclaimed author of 26 novels who won the coveted Booker Prize and became a Dame of the British Empire.  The exhibition will recount their lives and celebrate their achievements through Iris Murdoch’s letters, photographs of where they lived and worked, and in their books and other artefacts relating to their lives.

Many borough residents, young and old, have been taking part in a 15-month-long community project developed around the letters and have become intrigued by the lives and works of the writers along the way. “This experience has also helped them discover the interest and joy of exploring original archival material.  As such, this exhibition will not only tell the story of the friendship between two key British writers and thinkers – it will also tell the story of a dynamic relationship between the local community and Kingston University through its archives,” project officer Dr Frances White from Kingston University said.  It was particularly exciting that creative responses to the letters made by local community groups and schools would form part of the exhibition, Dr White added. “The exhibition provides us with another invaluable opportunity to share some of this rich correspondence with an even wider audience,” she said.

Events during the exhibition include:

Thursday 9th May 2013, 17.30

  • Belinda McKenna
  • Performance Story-telling session ‘Darling Pip…..Love, Iris’
  • Kingston Museum Gallery

Wednesday 15th May 2013, 19.00

  • The Guises of Love: The Friendship between Iris Murdoch and Philippa Foot
  • Peter Conradi (Professor Emeritus Kingston University) author of Iris Murdoch: a Life (2001) and A Very English Hero: The Making of Frank Thompson (2012)
  • Talk, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road Site, John Galsworthy Building, Room JG0003

Thursday 16th May 2013,17.30

  • Belinda McKenna
  • Performance Story-telling session ‘Darling Pip……Love, Iris’
  • Kingston Museum Gallery

Thursday 23rd May 2013, 19.00

  • Anne Rowe (Director of the Centre for Iris Murdoch Studies) and Avril Horner (Professor Emeritus, Kingston University)
  • A World of Thought and Feeling: Letters from Iris Murdoch to Philippa Foot’.
  • Talk, Kingston Museum Gallery

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