Veronica

The character of Veronica came about from a story that was told to us in the early stages of the project. Apparently, at some point in Castle's recent history, there was a speech made in the Great Hall by a woman (the name Veronica was banded about but we are still unsure of her name, or if in fact this speech even happened.) Within her speech, this unnamed female apparently questioned the Castle's use of the language 'Master' to describe the head of the collage, and campaigned to have the title re-named. It is worth noting that, up until the year 2020, the 'Master' of Castle had only ever been a role fulfilled by a male candidate. This is all the more evident from the decor within the Great Hall, which is adorned with painted portraits of all the former 'Masters' of Castle. The only female cultural presence within the Great Hall of the Castle at Durham is a small plaster bust of Sappho, which Castle Curator Gemma Lewis notably situated there in 2018.  

Veronica is an older woman, clearly disenchanted and frustrated by her position as a female in a male-dominated institution. She is articulate, well read and forceful; impassioned in her approach and desperate to enforce progressive institutional change. An academic, but also accessible, gentle, parental, and ultimately powerful.

 

I like to think that the character of Veronica is loosely based on Eva Schumacher-Reid (although through my research I have learnt that Eva was perfectly happy with the term ‘Master’ for either males or females who may undertake the role and was insistent when it came to upholding the traditions of Castle.) Saying this though, as the first female Vice-Master of Castle, I believe that Veronica represents Eva’s strength, no-nonsense attitude, and forceful delivery; fierce in her concern for her students and the next generation who were to come after her. As far as Eva was concerned, gender definitely didn’t strike her as an obstacle, and she didn’t believe it should be an obstacle for anyone else.


 

A Treatment of Women: Veronica, 2019

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