Staff, students, alumni and members of the local community gathered at Leeds Trinity University last week to celebrate Reverend Professor Jane de Gay's Professorial Lecture which explored Virginia Woolf's knowledge of and interest in Catholic Culture.
With her colleagues, students and family members in attendance, Professor de Gay spoke about Woolf's reactions to Catholicism within early twentieth-century culture, the awareness of the importance of Catholicism within English history and her encounters with worship and architecture during her travels in Europe. She also covered Woolf's contribution to social justice, a key priority of Leeds Trinity as a University.
The lecture also presented an opportunity to discuss the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies (LCVS) at Leeds Trinity University, which was established in 1994 and is one of the most active Victorian Studies centres in the country. As Programme Leader of the MA in Victorian Studies Reverend Professor de Gay supports MA and PhD students interested in the interdisciplinary study of the Victorian period.
Reverend Professor de Gay said: "I was honoured and excited to be invited to give a Professorial Seminar, and I have had great fun preparing and delivering it. I enjoyed the evening immensely. It was delightful to have such a large and enthusiastic audience that included my colleagues, students and church community."
She added: "My talk was a chance to showcase my research into Virginia Woolf and Christian culture, but with new research focusing on Catholic culture, in recognition of Leeds Trinity's foundation. Social Justice is important to me and to Leeds Trinity, and it was important to Woolf, and that was a key part of my talk, as I am committed to checking my privilege, reflecting on my practices, and working to increase participation in Higher Education ever more widely."
Following the lecture, guests participated in a networking session to reflect on the lecture, reconnect with colleagues and celebrate Reverend Professor de Gay's successful and extensive career in academia, wider research and the Church.
Professor Ray Lloyd, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Leeds Trinity University said: "This evening we have welcomed staff, students, alumni and members of the local community to celebrate the remarkable career of Reverend Professor de Gay who has been part of the Leeds Trinity community for 20 years.
"In that time, she has written monographs, regularly publishes and presents her research, and organised the 26th International Virginia Woolf Conference in 2016, bringing over 220 international scholars to campus. Her commitment to her research, students and LCVS can be seen in the number of people in attendance at tonight's celebration."
Reverend Professor Jane de Gay joined Leeds Trinity University in 1999 and is a Professor of English Literature and is programme leader for MA Victorian Studies which forms part of the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies (LCVS). De Gay is also an internationally-renowned expert on the life and works of Virginia Woolf. Outside of academia, she serves as Associate Priest at St Martin's Potternewton in Leeds.