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Courtesy of Yellow Jigsaw

From placards and protests to social media and selfies – youngsters put modern twist on historical women’s rights event

From placards and protests to social media and selfies, young people from across all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester came together for the first time to put their own modern-day twist on an historical women’s rights event.

The event at Manchester Central Library, which recreated the Women’s Bazaar of 1912, mirrored how it would have looked and felt more than 100 years ago with art displays of posters, placards and marketing materials, performances including dance and poetry, and a debate on education.

The groups of young people from across the 10 boroughs also each created a jigsaw piece to represent their area, and put them together at this event to show how change can be made and campaigns can be successful when people work in unity.

They showed off their new skills to become campaigners of the future in front of the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor June Hitchen.

She said: “As a woman from a proud working-class family, who was born and raised in Manchester, and still living on a council estate, I am passionate about young people being supported to raise their aspirations and reach their full potential. This event and the work that has been done before the event is doing just that.

“Although, many improvements have been made, it is just as important today to campaign for women’s rights, as it was for women in history, who created a path for us to follow.

“I hope this is just a start for these young people on their journeys to become active, vocal and successful citizens of Manchester.”

This event was part of our Game Changers project, which has been made possible with a grant from Heritage Lottery Fund, to explore the suffragists movement – helping the youngsters learn about the peaceful methods they used to campaign – unlike the more militant and more famous suffragettes.

Frances Nutt, artistic director at Tandem Theatre, who is running the project, said: “The young people who have taken part in this project have been amazing. A lot of them have never left their own boroughs before this event or engaged with the arts and history. So, for them to get to this point and understand why it is important to stand up for themselves and engage in campaigns that they believe in is an outstanding achievement.

“We wanted this project to highlight the lesser known suffragists, who used law abiding methods to campaign, to be an inspiration to these young people today. We are really proud of them all – and are looking forward to seeing more of their campaigns in the future.”

For more information on the project go to https://tandemtheatre.com/game-changers/

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The new Suffragists: Project for young women across Greater Manchester aims to empower them to lead change.

Tandem Theatre is thrilled to announce a new project that will empower young women across all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester to become campaigners of the future.

The Game Changers project, which has been made possible by a £88,371 grant by Heritage Lottery Fund, will explore the movement of the ‘hidden’ female campaigners – the suffragists – and learn about the peaceful methods they used to campaign for their right to vote, which led to the Representation of the People Act 1918.

Frances Nutt, Artistic Director at Tandem Theatre, said: “In Manchester, the high-profile role of Emmeline Pankhurst and the more militant activities of the suffragettes can sometimes overshadow others who campaigned for women’s suffrage.

“So, we are excited to launch this new Game Changers project, which highlight the lesser known suffragists, who used law abiding methods to campaign.

“It is important, young women learn from the past on how to campaign for women’s rights – as it is still so relevant today. Last year, 2018, saw women’s marches, campaigns against the gender pay gap and the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, where many women have been outspoken about sexual harassment in the workplace – showing there is still work that needs to be done for gender equality.

“Through looking at the different methods women used to campaign for suffrage leading up to 1918, young women will be inspired, equipped and empowered to continue that campaign.

“I would like to say a big thank you to Heritage Lottery Fund – without whom it would not have been possible to reach young women in all ten Greater Manchester boroughs.”

Each young women’s group will attend skills workshops to help them become effective campaigners and leaders of the future and build self-esteem, social skills, confidence and raise aspirations.

They will also get the opportunity to visit the People’s History Museum, Archives+ and research campaigners from their respective borough to help them get inspiration to create a giant jigsaw piece in the shape of their borough decorated with information about local campaigners, along with other visual arts based on suffragist materials.

All 10 groups will enact the 1908 Manchester Demonstration by marching though Lark Hill Place, Salford Museum and Art Gallery in February, and the day after International Women’s Day (March 9) the groups will have pop up stalls in their local museums.

The project will culminate in a joint event on April 13 – where the young women from all the boroughs will come together for a performance and mock debate at Manchester Central Library recreating the Women’s Bazaar of 1912.

The project will support more than 150 young women across the 10 boroughs – including the participants and youth mentors, as well as hundreds more future generations, who will benefit from a key stage two resource pack that will be available to all Greater Manchester primary schools.

Tandem Theatre delivers participatory arts programmes for communities across Greater Manchester facing challenges specialising in vulnerable adults and young people. This Game Changers project aims to enhance young women’s knowledge and appreciation of arts, heritage and culture, improve mental health and emotional wellbeing, develop personal and social aptitude and increase vocational and employability skills.

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