Hear My Voice: Votes for Women

Hear My Voice workshop session Image: Sophie Teasdale

Image: Sophie Teasdale Von Fox Productions

This year marks the centenary of the first women in this country being awarded the right to vote.  The 1918 Representation of People Act gave women aged 30 years and over and owning property the vote.  However, it wasn’t until 1928 that all women aged 21 years and over could vote, on an equal footing with men.   The vote was hard won and this was brought home to me in 2013 when I was part of the Emily Inspires! project commemorating 100 years since the death of Suffragette Emily Wilding Davison and her North East roots.

Sophie Teasdale photographer

Sophie Teasdale photographer

Hear My Voice, was a community public engagement project commissioned by Durham County Council and was inspired by the Suffragette principle of making women’s voices important and heard.

I was privileged to work across the generations with women and girls’ groups from a variety of backgrounds in the Bishop Auckland area, and also in collaboration with gifted photographer Sophie Teasdale of Von Fox Productions.

My role was to run sessions to facilitate discussions, explore issues and gather responses.  The groups included sixth formers from St John’s RC School, Teen Spirit of Shildon, The Evergreens and Wear Valley Women’s Aid.  We explored the role of The Suffragettes, the importance of voting, inspirational women, and women’s equality in today’s society.

Hear My Voice workshop session Image: Sophie Teasdale Von Fox Productions

Image: Sophie Teasdale Von Fox Productions

I had previously asked local business women, Jo Cameron of The Launchpad Academy, Anne Painter of Green Tara Consulting and Julie Twist Counselling to give their uplifting messages for women today and these I shared with the groups, who in turn were invited to write their own messages to inspire the women and girls of their community.

All responses from the groups were then interpreted in a series of creative photographic tableaux by Sophie Teasdale, who also recorded the sessions with her camera.

Women at the Polling Station Image: Sophie Teasdale Von Fox Productions

Hear My Voice Image: Sophie Teasdale Von Fox Productions

The resulting exhibition will be on display in the library at Bishop Auckland Town Hall from Monday 19th February for 2 weeks together with further events.  For further information CLICK HERE

Hear My Voice exhibition Hear My Voice exhibition Bishop Auckland Town Hall

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