We’ve detected that you are using an outdated browser. This will prevent you from accessing certain features. Update browser

SHE_SEES exhibition opens in Portsmouth

Landmark SHE_SEES exhibition comes to Portsmouth

After its launch at last year’s London International Shipping Week, a groundbreaking exhibition spotlighting the inspirational stories of women in maritime is coming to Portsmouth, United Kingdom.

Launching on Friday 2 August, members of the public will be able to experience the free, thought-provoking SHE_SEES exhibition hosted in Boathouse 4 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

The exhibition, hosted in partnership with Portsmouth Historic Quarter and the University of Portsmouth, taps into archive materials from across the UK and Ireland to uncover the extensive history of trailblazing female voices in the maritime industry and aims to change the tide on diversity.


More than just looking into the past, the exhibition highlights a persistent gender imbalance. Recent research from the International Maritime Organization, found that women currently only account for just 29% of the overall industry workforce – a figure that drops to 2% when it comes to female seafarers within the crewing workforce.

Blending striking visuals, art and storytelling, the SHE_SEES exhibition features portraits of inspiring women working in the maritime industry. It also includes two new portraits from Portsmouth-based women – Betzy Shell, Boatbuilder, and Emily Ball, Boatkeeper Assistant.  

Louise Sanger, Head of Research, Interpretation & Engagement at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, said: “We’re thrilled to be bringing SHE_SEES to Portsmouth, one of Britain’s most significant cities when it comes to naval history.

“When we started working on this project, we had one mission in mind: to set the record straight on women’s contributions to maritime, now and throughout history. There is so much the industry has to offer, but we need more representation first to inspire young girls to explore potential careers there – so we hope our exhibition will be a catalyst for change.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the support and contributions we’ve received from the University of Portsmouth and the Portsmouth Historic Quarter We’re looking forward to welcoming people from Portsmouth and further afield – and hopefully inspire more girls to consider a career in maritime.”

The exhibition also features research from Dr Melanie Bassett, historian and Research Fellow in Public Engagement at the University of Portsmouth. Dr Bassett is a member of the University’s Centre for Port Cities and Maritime Cultures (PCMC), which focuses on the past, present and future importance of urban-maritime cultures and communities across the globe. Her research has examined the crucial role that women played in the city’s Historic Dockyard during the First World War.

Dr Bassett said: “We are delighted to bring this fascinating intergenerational exhibition about the role of women in maritime industries to Portsmouth, and to tell the stories of Portsmouth Royal Dockyard and the Royal Navy.

"Women have had limited visibility in the maritime sector and this exhibition is an important testament to their continued contribution and presence. The exhibition is striking in scale and impact, celebrating the role of maritime women by fusing history, photography and textile art installations in a thought-provoking way. We hope that it showcases these maritime pioneers and inspires the next generation to follow in their footsteps."

Hannah Prowse, CEO of Portsmouth Historic Quarter Trust, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be welcoming the SHE_SEES exhibition here into the Dockyard and into Boathouse 4 from the International Maritime Organisation.“The boathouse can seem intimidating, with its boats, tools and people working there – but with this exhibition, we hope to reinforce the idea that this space is for everyone.”

Entry for the exhibition is free; visitors should ask for a ‘historic quarter pass’ at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard’s Visitor Centre, which gives them free access to the site excluding ticketed attractions. The SHE_SEES exhibition is open in Boathouse 4 for visitors between 10am and 4:30pm.

To find out more, visit hec.lrfoundation.org.uk/whats-on/rewriting-women-into-maritime-history

Sign up for news from the Foundation

Latest News

Can't find what you are looking for?

Hit enter or the arrow to search Hit enter to search

Search icon

Are you looking for?