Marie In The Margins

A video installation highlighting England’s earliest known female adventure writer, Marie de France, and a forgotten workforce of twelfth-century female scribes & illustrators working alongside her, through three women working in the cultural sector in Hastings.

The performers, who share a building reflecting the medieval abbeys, explore their work spaces as sacred spaces. In each 10 minute film, the women explore female decision makers in Marie de France’s writing, stepping away from their working environment only in their imaginations. Adventures are found in expected and more radical use of their immediate environment, their furniture and work tools and in their creative thoughts.

The Marie in the Margins project was developed in 2022 to place an overlooked her-story in spaces related to male medieval workforce history. The work was hosted in various Sussex heritage sites including the Monk’s Common Room at English Heritage’s 1066 abbey and battleground in Battle as well as Bexhill Museum and Hastings Museum and Art Gallery.

The work has been shown internationally at the International Conference on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University and the International Courtly Literature Society conference at British Columbia University in Vancouver.

To host this installation, please email

Performers/Facilitators: Yasmin Aishah  Hannah Collisson  Erica Smith
with Lily Kim, Siddy Bennett, Philly Piggott and Tatenda Michael Manyarara

Cinematographer: Rod Morris
Composer and sound artist: Ruby Colley
Director and producer: Gail Borrow
Editor: Sarah Gomes Harris

Graphic Design: Ursula McLaughlin
Historian: Emily Joan Ward
Puppetry/web: @poorlybeetle
Mask: Thadeus Skews
Translation: Cécile Menon

Thanks to project partner Tamara Bentley Caudill of
International Marie de France Society

We have worked from The Lais of Marie de France; Text and Translation
edited and translated by Claire M Waters ISBN: 978-1-55481-082-6