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Women in Sardinia: Creativity and Self-expression

27 September – 1 October 2021  

ICI London is delighted to support Women in Sardinia: Creativity and Self-expression, an online conference organised by the University of Cambridge on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Grazia Deledda

In English and Italian

This interdisciplinary event aims to explore the role of women in Sardinian culture and society from the Middle Ages to the present day, with an emphasis on the concepts of creativity and self-expression, intended not only in literary, cultural and artistic forms, but also in daily practices and contexts. A central geographical area in the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by an enduring archaic and mythical aura, Sardinia is a privileged space to examine the contradictions between pre-established gender roles and the emergence of extraordinary female figures, from the great giudicessa Eleanor of Arborea (1347-1404) to the Nobel prize winner in literature Grazia Deledda (1871-1936), the only woman who received this recognition in Italy to date.

Sardinia has witnessed a rising wave of imaginative women writers in the twentieth century, including Milena Agus, Antonella Anedda, Maria Giacobbe, Michela Murgia, Bianca Piztorno, Paola Soriga. As recently as 2019, several cultural events in Italy celebrated the centenary of Maria Lai’s birth (1919-2013), another distinguished artist from Sardinia, whose sculptures, canvases and “sewn fairy tales” speak of and to women’s creative self-expressions across time and space. Alongside such renowned female figures, numerous unknown women contributed to build up the unique and multifaceted character of this island, by blurring in everyday life the boundary between the secluded world of their households and the public sphere, and challenging their own worlds with small but bold acts of disobedience to the established order. By unravelling the unexplored threads between prominent female figures and those who did not make their way in the official history of this region, this conference seeks also to acknowledge the forms of creativity and self-expression that lesser-known women resorted to in a variety of social and cultural contexts.

For the full programme, abstracts, registration details and contacts please visit the conference website 

For further information please contact the conference organisers Sara Delmedico ( ed Elena Emma Sottilotta (, University of Cambridge, Italian section.

  • Organizzato da: University of Cambridge
  • In collaborazione con: Supported by ICI London