the House of doors - exploring 100 years of women and the vote

Created by artist Kristina Clackson Bonnington, launched in partnership with UCL Art Museum


The House of Doors is a public art project exploring how society has changed as a result of women getting the right to vote.

touring for three years, the house of doors is travelling to both the first and last countries in Europe to grant this right to women.


to mark the centenary of the first women in the UK to get the VOTE, house of doors concludes in 2018 with a site & time-specific exhibition in the houses of parliamenT.

please see here for details and to book tickets.


The House of Doors at UCL Art Museum, London


An immersive installation, the House of Doors reworks public spaces into a private members' club. Much like MPs, Members of the House of Doors (MHDs) are invited to consider and propose new laws, and can scrutinise existing government policies by asking questions about current issues. The House of Doors’ primary focus is imagining - of futures, pasts and presents. 

MHDs are invited to reflect on contemporary society and are asked to consider what changes might move us towards greater equality. Each proposal put forward by an MHD is documented in the House of Doors' core text The Book of Love & Legislation

A Member of the House of Doors (MHD) adding their entry to The Book of Love & Legislation


The House of Doors' entrance is marked by a large, free-standing sculpture that references architectural details from three sites of significance to suffrage: 

  • University College London - which in 1878 became the first university in the UK to admit female students

  • The Houses of Parliament - which in 1918, after a long battle led by the Suffragettes, granted women the right to vote

  • White's Gentlemen's Club on St James' Street - one of the remaining institutions in the UK that continues to exclude all women

This sculpture extends to a members' space where MHDs can come together to scrutinise government policy and propose reforms.



On the eve of International Women's Day 2015, UCL's Quad was reworked into the House of Doors. In the member's area a series of talks, workshops and live events took place and the House of Doors' first MHDs were welcomed.

"UCL was thought to be the perfect site to launch the House of Doors due to its historical ethos of equality. Known as the 'godless college on Gower Street', UCL was the first secular university in the UK, and the first university to admit female students on equal terms to men. UCL's Slade School of Fine Art was also the first art college to admit women in the life room and has played a significant role in the inclusion of women in the arts."

Dr Martine Rouleau, UCL Art Museum

Launch Programme:

Friday 6 March, 1pm-8pm

  • 1pm-3.30pm, House of Doors new members' workshop (UCL Quad)

  • 4pm-5pm, Opening of the House of Doors (Portico)

  • 5.30pm-7pm, Opening Talk: Just what is gender equality and does it even matter? Professor Graham Scambler, Emeritus Professor of Sociology UCL, accompanied by Sixth Form students from Sacred Heart Catholic School, who spoke about gender equality from the perspectives of young people growing up in the UK today

  • 7pm-8pm, Drinks Reception

Saturday 7 March, 1pm-6pm

  • 1pm-2pm, Guided Walk (UCL Quad), a mischief-making meander. Suffrage and social equality was explored on a route that took in significant buildings around UCL. Led by researchers and students from UCL and Central St Martins

  • 2pm-3.30pm, House of Doors new members' workshop (UCL Quad)

  • 2.30pm-3.30pm, Talk: A Dress is not a Yes: Representation of the body in Art and visual culture - threat power and punishment Dr Susannah Walker, UCL Art History Department

  • 4pm-5pm, Closing Talk: Art and Social Change - How a bit of mischief and the House of Doors might pave the way towards greater social equality Dr Martine Rouleau, UCL Art Museum and Lead Artist, Kristina Clackson Bonnington

  • 5pm-6pm, Live music, discussion and drinks (Portico, UCL Quad).

The two day event concluded with a musical reading from The Book of Love & Legislation, with music provided by Les Zoings and pupils from Argyle Primary School taking the role of the 'Speaker of the House of Doors', reading aloud a selection of contributions entered into The Book of Love & Legislation.

The Little Girl at the Door, Harriet Halhed (1850–1933), Canterbury City Council Museums and Galleries

The Little Girl at the Door, Harriet Halhed (1850–1933), Canterbury City Council Museums and Galleries

“This all started with a painting I came across in Canterbury - it's a life-size painting of a little girl standing at a door, painted in 1910. The painting immediately struck me as being of huge social significance; in 1910 the little girl standing at that threshold was excluded from so many places, but major social change was on the way. By creating this large-scale, participatory work and welcoming hundreds of people to the House of Doors - from young children to Parliamentarians - we can face this barrier together and imagine what a more equal society would look like.”

Kristina Clackson Bonnington








The House of Doors will tour for three years, concluding in 2018 with an exhibition to mark the centenary of the first women in the UK to get the right to vote. Details about the tour can be found here