Project Background

The idea for this project was originally tabled in 2014 after a visit to the Pankhurst Centre in Manchester. As is usual at VoxFemme, several conversations later and many questions around whether or not there would be sufficient information to warrant an application to The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and we decided to have a 'look'. To that end, with the help of volunteers we undertook some pre-liminary research to see what surface information was available about Derbyshire Suffragettes and wider women's activism and found that there was indeed something worth pursuing. In the summer of 2015 we enaged a volunteer, Alice T-M (who did an amazing job) to lift the lid off Derbyshire Suffragettes and Suffragists further. It was during this preliminay research phase that we realised that 2018 marked the Centenary of the Representation of The People Act and several other anniversaries, including 90 years of Universal Suffrage, thus the momentum was established.

 

Our next major development was to consider how to incorporate the key issues, changes, challenges and movements which had occurred over the last 100 years or so leading up to 2018 into a single project. It is not a coincidence that the Project title has changed many times - we started with the title 'Deeds Not Words' which reflected our initial focus on Women's Suffrage to decide on 'Deeds Not Words Towards Liberation', which went beyond women winning The Vote to incorporate The Women's Liberation Movement up to the present, as the fight for equality contnues unabated.

 

Once we had decided on a title and a clearer focus, the next step was to complete an HLF inquiry form. The form was completed in October 2015 and alongside feedback and additional work/detail to justify a grant, several meetings and exchanges with HLF later and our bid was finally submitted on June 23rd 2016. The proposed notification of the outcome was August 18th and the team held its breath and waited...The call came around midday to say that the grant had been awarded. Needless to say that this news was met with momentary womanly squeals of delight and fist pumps followed by silence as we considered the responsibility that came with the project we had just taken on. The telling of 100 years of Derbyshire Women's HERstory rested, albeit for a moment (a two year project in relation to 100 yrs) in our hands. That is, not only do we need to uncover, share and raise awareness of that heritage with integrity and truth but, just as those who went before us did, do justice and leave a legacy for others to pick up the mantle to carry on this work beyond the remit of this Project.

The enormity of the task at hand made us realise that we could not do this alone and we are excited to announce that we have partnered with key organisations who will be assisting in various ways:  Derby Museums, Derbyshire County Council, Derbyshire Records Office, Parliamentary Outreach, Derby Women's History Group and the University of Derby. If you are/work with an organisation which might have something to contribute to the Project, then please get in touch and come and work with us.

We hope to take you on an exciting journey of discovery and engagment with women's activism history and an exploration of local activism, the rationale and outcomes of that activism, as well as, an examination of  the places, the personalities and the offshoots of those stories locally and within the context of the wider national struggle for equality. Everyone visiting this website or who knows about this Project has a key role to play in helping us to do the best job we can. To that end, we are asking for volunteers, those with local stories of women and girl activism or pioneers, those who have artefacts to share and those who would like to be interviewed to please get in touch with us at vox.feminarum@gmail.com and in general do get in touch to let us know what you think about the Project and how we might make it better.

Project Outputs Include:
Project Aims 

Aims

 To promote and encourage research, the collection and preservation of records and other artefacts of interest pertaining to Derbyshire women's activism heritage;

 

 To foster and promote public knowledge and interest in hidden local women's activism heritage.

 

 Use broader women’s activism heritage to create a context in which the role and contribution of Derbyshire women to socio-political and economic change is better understood, visible and more accessible.

 

 To engage local communities in celebrations of women’s contributions to life and community in Derbyshire, through connecting the past with the present.

 To promote and encourage research, the collection and preservation of records and other artefacts of interest pertaining to Derbyshire women's activism heritage;

 

 To foster and promote public knowledge and interest in hidden local women's activism heritage.

 

 Use broader women’s activism heritage to create a context in which the role and contribution of Derbyshire women to socio-political and economic change is better understood, visible and more accessible.

 

 To engage local communities in celebrations of women’s contributions to life and community in Derbyshire, through connecting the past with the present.

 ‘Shoulder to Shoulder with Women in Derbyshire’ Blog - this curators blog will give updates and the inside story of the project throughout. This will become part of the Project Legacy.

A dedicated Project Website — a platform to disseminate information and  serve as an audience building tool towards 2018. The Website will later host virtual exhibitions and a contextual timeline

One day Grassroots Community  Conference— main theme 'A Woman's Place' Submissions - 2018 marks the centenary of the first women (over 30 and meeting the property owning criteria) winning the right to vote in General Elections. Vox Feminarum: Women's Voices together with the Heritage Lottery Fund, our hosts the University of Derby and other partners examine, remember and celebrate the place of women past and present. papers, poster, panel and roundtable discussions lightening rounds and workshops

Strand themes:

  • A Woman's Place in Art, Politics, Science and Religion

  • A Woman's Place in Grassroots Activism

  • The Suffrage Movement 1866 - 1928

  • The Women's Liberation Movement 1960s Onwards

  • Researching Women's Individual and Collective Histories

The conference is an opportunity to bring under-represented, special and general interest groups together

The Mandela Centre, 179 Pear Tree Rd, Derby, DE23 8NQ  E:vox.feminarum@gmail.com T: 01332 347066

Deeds Not Words Towards Liberation has been supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to record, preserve and raise awareness about women's social and political activism in Derbyshire. Shoulder to Shoulder events are funded by the Celebrating Votes for Women Fund

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