In three years, British women will have much to celebrate. In three years, it will be 100 years since women first won the (partial) right to vote. That right was the culmination of a long, hard struggle – and although we’ve come a long way, ladies, there is still much work to be done. Every spring, Wonder Women shines a light on some of the incredible, creative and campaigning women working in and from Manchester today – it’s our way of highlighting that feminist journey, via a month’s worth of events, debate, music, art, gigs, profiles and more. – wonder women website.
Last Friday, I went to a planning meeting for a festival called Wonder Women. The festival is part of a five year journey to give a platform to show off the accomplishments of women in Manchester. It began in 2013, and will conclude for the 100 year anniversary of the women’s right to vote, in 2018. I’m glad to report it was a busy meeting! With lots of women who knew what they were talking about. We had to introduce ourselves to the room, by giving a 2 minute introduction about what you do, what brought you to the meeting, and what you would chain yourself to the fence for. I was so scared, I can’t do unplanned public speaking! And everyone else was making it worse by stating their fancy jobs, curators, directors, professors, course leaders, founders of feminist groups. I’m sat there thinking, oh no. I signed up for benefits yesterday. I’ve not got a title. And I haven’t read enough books. What makes a choir feminist?
And my arts and crafts friend Sarah, who came along with me, is very good at speaking “academically.” She speaks like you would write. Maybe this is why I don’t read non fiction books; a day with Sarah is like a day listening to a lecture series! Anyway, she knocked it out of the park. She introduced herself as an artist and curator, and spoke about the use of textiles for protest. All good. That is why we came, we want to make a quilt together for the Festival.
Then it was my turn. I promptly said, I’m not sure what to say…I guess I would describe myself as a printmaker and quiltmaker. Then the crowd went wild! Well, not wild. About three women in the room went ooh! I got an ooh people! I got the only ooh! I said I would like to bring textiles out of the domestic, and things about more teaching of crafts to both genders in schools. My wording was haphazzard, but the woman leading the meeting kindly translated my ideas into sentences for the rest of the room. But still, I got an ooh.
We got a chance to do some networking after our schpiels, and a woman from a craft and arts centre came over and said she would be happy to offer the centre as a venue if sarah and I make a quilt. She told me she was interested in what I had mumbled earlier! How great is that? I did alright.
The story continues…