To celebrate the Year of the Woman, Women’s Words Manchester has invited women from all backgrounds to submit their stories about what life is like in Manchester in ‘The Suffragette Magazine’.
Manchester-based writer and teacher, Kate Feld, became involved in the literary project by teaching and helping women on how to improve their writing through organised workshops with Women’s Words Manchester.
“It really kind of took shape over the spring and the early part of the summer, and it is a collaboration with Manchester City Council, Manchester Libraries, The Pankhurst Centre, Wordplay Writing Organisation and another organisation called The Soroptimists,” she says.
The original Suffragette Magazine was edited by Christabel Pankhurst during the Suffragette Movement in 1911.
“It was really instrumental in getting the views of the Suffragettes into the wider world, it provided a platform for women to write about their issues and it was really crucial to the dissemination of the history of those years,” she says.
The Magazine was set up by Tasneem Perry and Harriet Morgan who applied for an Arts Council grant which was submitted by the Pankhurst Centre.
“The people who organised this literary project wanted to be a part of the centenary celebration and pay tribute to the publication by presenting a new version of it today,” she continues.
The idea behind the new magazine, ‘The Suffragette’ produced by Women’s Words Manchester, was to bring together women from all over Greater Manchester and get them to tell stories about their lives, experiences and personal views.
“These are women who could be writers or women who have never done any writing before, women from all different walks of life and we got them together in workshops and gave them some tips on writing and sharing their stories and thinking about narrative as applied to their own lives and experiences,” Kate says.
Kate Feld and Michelle Green of Women’s Words Manchester led extremely successful and oversubscribed workshops in Chorlton Library to help women improve their writing skills.
“We have now amassed an incredible bunch of material that will be held in a special archive in Manchester City Central Library.”
“So the publication will include our pick of the best work or the most representative material that will be put together in a limited edition artist magazine.”
Artist Lucy May Schofield, is designing and putting together the magazine.
“It is a really interesting thing because it will actually be a beautiful object. Also in conjunction with this we’ve commissioned three writers, Rosie Garland, Reshma Ruia and Alex Keelan to create new writing along the theme of women’s suffrage, rights, and experiences and this will also be printed in The Suffragette and performed at the launch so there is new work happening from published writers as well,” she says.
“This project may be something they ask for contributions to periodically, or it might be this is all the stuff we have and it’s just going to be held for researchers and scholars and academics and future historians who want to know what life was like for women in 2017/18,” Kate continues.
“It’s really just about representing and celebrating the variety and the reality of women’s lives today, which is something that we don’t really see, that we haven’t seen even in the last 100 years. We can now have their stories being widely shared in the media and valued so this is kind of an effort to readdress that balance.”
“All of us involved in the project believe that empowering women to tell their stories is incredibly important work, particularly in a place like Salford, where there is more deprivation compared to other parts of the country. Many of the women here do not feel empowered to tell their story because of their lives or their circumstances.”
“What we want to do is help people realise their experiences are really valid and people are interested in hearing about their lives, putting a narrative on their lives, considering their lives and sharing their feelings about what they’ve been through. People can learn from that.”
The launch of the magazine took place at Central Library on the 5th February, where people watched performances and heard speeches about the Project.
“I think all the organisers wanted to plan something really special for the Year of the Woman, this is the time we should all really be celebrating.”
https://t.co/amaU9AGhHC The 3 selections 4 the Suffragette mag from our nearly 300 submissions were made in Dec. All 3 have been contacted & U will B able 2 find their work in print, along with that of Rosie Garland, Reshma Ruia and Alex Keelan on the 5th of Feb and onwards. pic.twitter.com/VwqJKVR3B9
— Women’s Words Mcr (@WomensWordsMcr) January 30, 2018
For more infomation visit Women’s Words Manchester website: http://womenswordsmcr.com