Home Call For Papers Submit a Proposal Location and Travel People and Partners Contact

Gilbert White and his Contexts

An International Conference at Selborne, Hampshire, UK, 3-5 June 2025

Keynote Speakers: Stephen Moss, Anne Secord, Jenny Uglow

Gilbert White (1720-93) has long been celebrated both as a keen-eyed naturalist and as a fine nature writer. The Natural History of Selborne (1789) garnered a cult following in the years after its publication in 1789, has never gone out of print, and is often considered as the guiding spirit of English nature writing. White's insights into the phenology of his Hampshire parish and his speculations about the migration of birds continue to interest and inspire naturalists and he has even been claimed as the first ecologist.

This international conference brings together academics, archivists, independent scholars, naturalists, and heritage providers working in both the sciences and the humanities to reassess White's life and work in the light of new findings and methodologies, to encourage and develop new networks and collaborations between White scholars, and to explore opportunities for collaborative research and publication.

The conference will take place across three days in early June 2025 in Gilbert White's own house in Selborne. As well as papers and discussion, there will be guided walks around White's home, gardens, church, and the surrounding countryside. There will be a wine reception and a conference dinner and transport will be available from nearby hotels in Alton.

We invite proposals for papers and panels that explore any aspect of Gilbert White's life, writing, and science, as well as his personal and intellectual contexts. We also welcome those who wish to attend but not to present.

The conference is organised by Brycchan Carey, Professor of English in the Department of Humanities at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, and Stephanie Holt, UK Biodiversity Training Manager in the Centre for UK Nature at the Natural History Museum, London. We are working in partnership with our colleagues at The Gilbert White House and Gardens in Selborne. Carey's research is generously supported by the British Academy and the Wolfson Foundation.

This site will be regularly updated with the latest news about the conference so please come back soon. We look forward to seeing you in Selborne!

Gilbert White

Conference Information

Full Call For Papers

Submit a Proposal

Location and Travel

People and Partners

Contact Us or Subscribe to the Mailing List

Register for the Conference (Spring 2025)

Conference Programme (Spring 2025)

Portrait of Gilbert White after a sketch by John Mulso. Reproduced courtesy of the Gilbert White House and Gardens, Selborne.


British Academy Logo Gilbert White House  Logo Natural History Museum Logo Northumbria University  Logo Wolfson Foundation  Logo vertical black line Twitter link icon Mail link icon Gilbert White Main Page logo