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'Doing' Processions: An exercise in celebration, remembrance, gratitude and visibility

Deeds Not Words Towards Liberation: Processions 10 June

Deeds Not Words Towards Liberation were present and visible at Processions, London, 10th June 2018. Essentially Processions is a Project led by art organisation Artichoke. The Procession, from the perspective of the organisers, was in fact not a protest at all, but an art installation. However, the women who participated made the event their own. The women who spent hours of thought planning, stitching, painting and drawing…made the event a celebration, an act of remembrance and gratitude, a call to action and a protest and whatever else they conceived it to be! For us the main aim was to address the seeming ‘invisibility’ of Derby and Derbyshire women at such previous events. In the process of undertaking research for the Project, we found no image or words to suggest that the women of Derby and Derbyshire were present at key suffrage gatherings, marches or processions (for example in 1905, 1907 or 1915). If mentioned at all, local women were subsumed under the umbrella of ‘East Midlands’ and or as ‘Nottingham’. Yet from research uncovering the contribution and activism of some amazing women from our County and City, we know that they must have had a presence at some of these events. Processions gave us the opportunity to 'right this lack of a specific mention of Derby and or Derbyshire women in the records and to provide evidence for future historical records – that we were there!

On a less than savoury note, one of our party was heckled and verbally accosted by a notorious 'Men's Rights Activist' asking the question "What about men's rights?" "What about men's rights to vote?" The film of that encounter will be woven into our film telling the story of how Derby and Derbyshire women celebrated the Centenary.

Profuse thanks to Julie, Nancy, Sharon and Sam. Caron, Cecile, Sarah-Jayne and Wendy…sorry you could not make it in the end but you were, along with many others in Derby and Derbyshire with us in spirit. We marched for all of you xx

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