Women In The Hills is directed by a Leadership Group comprising Rachel Hewitt (Principal Investigator until 2023), Kerri Andrews (Co-Investigator; then PI from 2023) and Joanna Taylor. The leadership group benefits from guidance from the network’s Advisory Group, which includes writer and scholar Zakiya Mckenzie, Harvey Wilkinson (National Trust) and representatives from our three project partners: the John Muir Trust, Girls on Hills and Pelvic Roar. For more information about the individuals and organisations at the heart of Women In The Hills, please see below.
Rachel Hewitt: Principal Investigator
Rachel Hewitt was PI on the network until early 2023, but she has not been involved in network activities since early 2022, due to personal circumstances. She is Lecturer in Creative Writing at Newcastle University, and Director of the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts. She writes works of creative non-fiction, mixing history, biography, memoir, nature- and landscape-writing, feminism, literary criticism and psychology. She is author of In Her Nature: How Women Break Boundaries in the Great Outdoors (Chatto & Windus, April 2023), which has won the prestigious work-in-progress prize, the Eccles British Library Writer’s Award. Her first book was Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey (Granta, 2010), which won the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Galaxy Non-Fiction Awards, the Scottish Book Awards, the Bristol Festival of Ideas Book Prize, and BBC History Magazine’s Book Prize. Her second book was A Revolution of Feeling: The Decade that Forged the Modern Mind (Granta, 2017), which won a Gladstone’s Library Political Writing Residence. She writes and reviews for, among others, the Guardian, Telegraph, Financial Times, Economist, New Statesman, and TLS, and she has appeared on the BBC’s Coast and Timeshift programmes, as well as numerous programmes on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2018. She was also one of the first cohort elected as New Generation Thinkers by the AHRC and BBC Radio 3, and a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow from 2009-12. Rachel lives in Yorkshire, and runs in its moors and dales.
Kerri Andrews: Co-Investigator
Kerri Andrews took over as PI in March 2023. She lives in Scotland. She is a keen hillwalker and wild swimmer, and has walked extensively in the Scottish Highlands and Borders, the Lake District, and the Yorkshire Dales, as well as in the US and New Zealand. Her book, Wanderers: A History of Women Walking, which charts the history of women’s walking from the early eighteenth century to the present day, was published by Reaktion in autumn 2020. An article on Sarah Stoddart Hazlitt, the intrepid nineteenth-century solo adventurer who was married to the essayist William Hazlitt, was published in History Today in September 2018. She has published widely in academic journals on women’s writing in the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century. Her next book project is A Child of the Anthropocene, which explores parenting, climate crisis, and post-natal depression.
Joanna Taylor is Presidential Academic Fellow in Digital Humanities at the University of Manchester. Her research focuses on literary geographies, spatial humanities and nineteenth-century poetics. For the past few years, she has worked especially closely on literature of the Lake District, combining literary studies, corpus linguistics and geographical information sciences to explore this complex cultural landscape. She has worked with partners including the National Trust and Wordsworth Trust; in particular, she collaborated with the Wordsworth Trust alongside local artists and filmmakers on the exhibition ‘This Girl Did: Dorothy Wordsworth and Women Mountaineers’ (2018). You can watch Journeywoman, the project’s film, here. She has previously appeared on Woman’s Hour and Clare Balding’s Ramblings, both on BBC Radio 4. Her new research project uses a multi-scalar approach that combines digital with humanities methodologies to explore a large corpus of women’s writing about landscape in the long nineteenth century. This project ultimately seeks to unpack an alternative environmental history that asks how women’s perspectives might offer new solutions to the environmental challenges we are facing. She lives in Lancaster, from where she gets up to the Lake District with her dog as often as possible to work their way through the Wainwrights.
Advisory Group Members:
Emma Brockwell is a Specialist Women’s Health Physiotherapist. She treats women of all ages with all women’s health related conditions. She is passionate about pre and postnatal rehabilitation. She specialises in enabling women back to exercise, particularly running if they have any pelvic health dysfunction or are postnatal. She has co-authored the first ‘Returning to Running Postnatal Guidelines’ and has spoken about this subject at many medical and exercise conferences. Emma has written for many magazines including Women’s Running and Women’s Health magazine and is writing a book. Emma is also the co-founder of Pelvic Roar, a physiotherapy-led collaboration aiming to promote and unite all things ‘pelvic health’. She is on the advisory board for The Active Pregnancy Foundation. She works at The Halos Clinic in Oxted, Surrey and Body Logic Health in Battersea, London.
Izzy Filor is the East Schiehallion Conservation Officer at the John Muir Trust and is based on the Perthshire Munro, Schiehallion. Whilst at work she can normally be found tree planting, monitoring wildlife or running work parties with volunteers or school groups. Izzy has recently completed an MSc which focused on Scottish montane scrub – a rare and deteriorating upland ecosystem. She’s now focusing her work with the John Muir Trust on ways we can restore trees and scrub to mountainous areas across the properties the Trust cares for.
Izzy is a keen bikepacker, skier and hill walker. When not working, she’s generally riding a bicycle somewhere in the Scottish Highlands.
Zakiya Mckenzie is a PhD student at the University of Exeter, whose research explores literary archives to better understand Black British journalism in post-Empire Windrush Britain. This, after a childhood in Jamaica and an MRes in Environment, Energy and Resilience on the Caribbean country of Guyana, has given her a unique viewpoint on the position of ethnic minority communities in the UK. Zakiya is a volunteer at Ujima 98FM and a Bristol Green and Black Ambassador, tasked with closing the gap between Afro-Caribbean Bristolians and the city’s environmental sector. Their most popular activities are nature writing and photography trips that invite youngsters and families to explore woodland, wetland, farm and hillside. In 2019 she was chosen as Writer in Residence for the Forestry Commission to celebrate its centenary. She writes about her experiences as a woman in the forest, of climate change, memory and otherness. Her website is Zakiyamckenzie.com and you can follow her on Twitter @zakiyamedia.
Dr Keri Wallace is a trail running guide and Co-Director of project partner Girls on Hills Ltd. She is a qualified summer mountain leader, emergency outdoor first-aider and rock climbing instructor, working in the Scottish Highlands. Through Girls on Hills, Keri strives to empower women with the skills and confidence neccessary to become independent in the mountain environment. The company also seeks to reduce the gender-gap in participation that exists in trail/mountain running in the UK. Girls on Hills is sponsored by Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports and supported by Inov-8 and Harvey Maps. Girls on Hills guides are also part of the test-team for Bridgedale Socks.
Keri has been a competitive trail, fell and skurunner for over a decade and was selected for the UK Skyrunning Team in 2018. She provides expert editorial for Trail Running Magazine, Women’s Running Magazine, UKClimbing/UKHillwalking and Red Bull.
Keri has a scientific research background with a degree in Natural Sciences and a PhD in Neurobiology from Cambridge University.
Harvey Wilkinson is the National Trust Curator for the Lake District. The Trust cares for one fifth of the Lake District’s land; its woods, pleasure grounds, villas and gardens, and of course mountains. Harvey’s role is in the conservation and development of this incredible asset, as well as articulating the significance and relevance of these places to the public.
Harvey has been an alpine runner, sea kayaker and local fell runner for over thirty years, with an interest in sustainable access to our mountains and lakes.
John Muir Trust
The John Muir Trust is a UK-wide membership-based conservation charity dedicated to wild places and the people who enjoy and live around them. Founded in 1983, the Trust takes its name and inspiration from John Muir (1838-1914), the Scots-born founding father of modern conservation and the inspiration behind national parks. As well as promoting the many benefits of wildness, we campaign for the protection of wild land and look after some of our most magnificent landscapes across nine locations including the summits of Ben Nevis, Schiehallion and Helvellyn.
Wild places are a diminishing resource that need conserved – they contribute to the lives of many people in very specific ways; from recovery from illness, to recreation, to the attraction of paying guests in remote areas. We exist to help make these connections, to secure the resource, to encourage people to experience wildness at first hand, and work with others to repair and rewild damaged ecosystems.
Girls on Hills
Girls on Hills Ltd is Scotland’s only guided trail, fell and skyrunning running company, designed specifically for women. Their guided runs take place in the Glencoe area of the Scottish Highlands and are aimed at women who want to break free from the road and take their running into the mountains. Girls and Hills also offer navigation and mountain safety/hillwalking courses suitable for beginners. Bespoke guided adventures are available for both men and women.
#pelvicroar is a physiotherapy led collaboration in pelvic health campaigning, established by Emma Brockwell, Elaine Miller, and Myra Robson.
We use social media, and a closed Facebook group, to bring together a variety of people interested in pelvic health. We want to break down barriers, smash taboos, educate the general public on pelvic health issues and encourage individuals to seek treatment. Everyone has a place in pelvicroar – and our motto is “do what you can when you can, if you can!”