International Women’s Day on Friday 8 March marked the launch of the region’s first Festival of Women.
Exhibitions, theatre performances, workshops, talks, music, film screenings and café encounters in the honour of women and girls, will take place between now and the end of June 2019.
Highlights include a careers talk by some of the region’s most inspiring women professionals, a walking tour following the steps of suffragette Kathleen Brown and a night celebrating female singer songwriters at the Cluny.
There’ll also be family friendly events at Birtley’s Thought Foundation, and a workshop at the Discovery Museum for boys to explore the question ‘what if girls ruled the world’.
A whole host of Newcastle organisations are involved from cafès and bars, to museums and galleries.
The Great North Museum is even opening it’s doors after dark to allow women to explore representations of female species within its collections, and a get a bonus look at Dippy the Dinosaur while it’s on tour in Newcastle.
The Festival has been devised and co-ordinated by Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM) as part of its Women of Tyneside, community project.
The Women of Tyneside project has culminated in this first Festival of Women, created to recognise and celebrate women’s activity across Tyneside.
Iain Watson, Director of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, said: “We are committed to ensuring that the stories we tell and collections we hold are as relevant to and reflective of the population as possible.
“The Women of Tyneside Project has challenged our thinking and given us many new ideas and themes to help make and build on our valued connections between museums and archives and a wide audience of users.
“I am very grateful to the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation for supporting this work, enabling us to engage with women and girls across Tyneside with museum collections and culminating in our celebratory Festival of Women.”
Sarah Briggs, Collections Development Officer, Museums Association, said: “By working with local women, TWAM has been able to pull out some fascinating stories from their own collections, as well as hearing some truly inspirational stories from the community. This festival is the culmination of two years of hard work and enthusiasm from both staff and participants.”
For further information about the Festival of Women and to download a brochure of the full programme, visit www.twmuseums.org.uk/women-of-tyneside-events.
Festival events organised by Women of Tyneside and TWAM
Women of Tyneside: Communities and Collections
12 March, 5.30-7pm
Newcastle City Library
Women of Tyneside Project Co-ordinators, Clara Shield and Gemma Ashby, explore the journey of the project and the impact upon the museum collections so far. They also share their experiences of how museum and community development practice can work together to encourage communities to access and influence their heritage collections.
Women of Tyneside: Alternative Careers Day
27 March, 9am-4pm
Discovery Museum, Newcastle
Careers talks exclusively for young women from some of the region’s most inspiring women in industry.
Capturing a Star: Dame Flora Robson and other works by Dame Ethel Walker
Exhibition on until 27 April. Museum open 10am-5pm Mon-Fri & 11am-4pm Saturday
South Shields Museum and Art Gallery, Ocean Road, South Shields
Featuring works on loan from the Royal Academy of Arts collection as part of their 250th anniversary celebrations, this exhibition spotlights the work of artist Ethel Walker. An exhibition highlight is a portrait of Dame Flora Robson, a feted actor of both stage and screen, born in South Shields.
Women of Tyneside & (small but) FIERCE Magazine Presents: Why was this not collected?
13 April, 2-4pm
Thought Foundation, Birtley, DH3 2TB
Family friendly event exploring objects already in the museum collections and considering those that could be through inspirational stories of local politicians, forgotten sports stars, suffragettes and artists.
For girls and boys aged 8-15 years
Women of Tyneside: Café Encounter
24 April, 10am-12pm
The Nest, Durham Road, Gateshead NE9 5AN
A relaxed discussion exploring the theme of periods and fertility facilitated by women in the community.
Women of Tyneside: Female Relationships in Unexpected Spaces
Women’s Health in South Tyneside (WHIST), Salus House, South Shields, NE33 1TA
Using photographs from Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’ collections, women explore the uniqueness of the relationships women share with other women. Working with Workie Ticket Company, this opportunity is open to all women who would like to participate in drama workshops, culminating in a performance in June.
Sessions begin in April – more information to come soon.
Women of Tyneside: In the Steps of Kathleen Brown
5 May, 10.30am
Meet at Central Station
A short walk (approximately one hour) looking at sites where the suffragette Kathleen Brown was active in Newcastle. Starts at Central Station and covers Pink Lane, Assembly Rooms, Bigg Market, Pilgrim Street, Northumberland Street, Blackett Street and ends on Grey Street at the site of the Blue Plaque to suffragettes.
Free event but book your place via www.twmuseums.org.uk/women-of-tyneside-events
Women of Tyneside: Worth It
Preview: 15 May
Exhibition: 16-25 May (Gallery opening hours: Wed-Sat, 12-5pm)
Vane Art Gallery, Commercial Union House, Newcastle
Collective textile piece and exhibition exploring image and identity created by Women of Tyneside project participants and Melanie Kyles.
Women of Tyneside: Café Encounter
21 May, 10am-12pm
Thornton Street Café, 61-2 Thornton Street, Newcastle
Drop in to join Women of Tyneside for a relaxed discussion, exploring the theme of pleasure, facilitated by women in the community.
Women of Tyneside: Celebrating Women in Music with Kissed
24 May, 7pm
The Cluny, Ouseburn
Join Women of Tyneside as we celebrate local female singers/songwriters who perform an evening of uplifting material, with headline act North-East band Kissed. Following workshops with singer-songwriter Nicky Rushton, exploring the theme of women’s taboo health issues, a selection of songs written as a response to the museum collections will be performed for the first time.
Book tickets at www.thecluny.com
Women of Tyneside: Cafe Encounter
4 June, 10am-12pm
Cup of Joy Cafe, 20 Park Avenue, Whitley Bay, NE26 1DG
Join Women of Tyneside for a relaxed discussion exploring the theme of menopause, facilitated by women in the community.
Women of Tyneside: The Female of the Species (Great North Nights)
7 June, 6-8pm
Great North Museum: Hancock
Visit Great North Museum: Hancock after hours to explore the representation of women and female species within the museum collections. This event also offers the opportunity to see Dippy the dinosaur whilst it is on display in Newcastle.
Women of Tyneside: What If Girls Ruled the World?
8 June, 10am-12noon
Play + Invent space, Discovery Museum
Artist Richard Bliss works with boys to create an artistic response to the question ‘What if girls ruled the world?’ Workshop for boys aged 8-13 years and their male parents or guardians.
Free event, book your place at www.discoverymuseum.org.uk
Women of Tyneside: Legacy!
14 June, 9am-4pm
Great Hall, Discovery Museum
Celebrate and commemorate the Festival of Women with this day of inspiring presentations from some of the regions’ most talented and influential women. Join Baroness Joyce Quin, chair of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums as she presents this unmissable event. The opening presentation is given by Moira Kilkenny who, alongside Joyce, wrote the exceptional ‘Angels of the North: Notable women of the North East’. Hear how the book was compiled and learn about the women from the past who have paved the way for women in our present and future, celebrating the legacy they have left behind for girls and women on Tyneside today.
Details of speakers and how to book your place will be announced during the Festival at www.twmuseums.org.uk/women-of-tyneside-events
Women of Tyneside: Deeds Not Words
30 June, 10.30am
Meet at The Junction, Haymarket, Newcastle
Approximately 90 minutes guided walk beginning at Haymarket and ending at Central Station. The walk explores sites linked to the suffrage movement in Newcastle, including the events of 9 October 1909, known as the Battle of Newcastle.
Visit www.twmuseums.org.uk/women-of-tyneside-events to book.
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