getting attention

Current media coverage, active campaigns, public involvement and creative interventions, in the debate that has been running since at least 1952.

Inspiration

If you are thinking of starting a campaign for a statue or memorial honouring women and would like to find some wonderful inspiration for ways of getting attention just check the tactics used in campaigns like those for Mary Wollstonecraft and Emmeline Pankhurst.

What a brainwave to project Mary Wollstonecraft's image on to the Houses of Parliament, a great way to get her in the public eye.

And imagine the power of organising a public vote like the one in Manchester to start the conversation and get a real sense from the wider public about who they truly value.

The energetic, effective campaign, led by engineer Jane Priston, to celebrate the astonishing achievements of pioneering aviator Amy Johnson resulted in not one but two beautiful, lively statues.

Amy Johnson

So that’s a thought to bear in mind; is there more than one place that is significant in the life of the person or group that you are campaigning for? Once the sculptor’s work is done, more than one cast can be made. We have such a lot of ground to make up in terms of the recognition of women that this is a strategy worth considering. Amy was important both to the people of Hull where she was born and in Herne Bay where she died.

Amy Johnson statue text

Another clever feature of these statues is that even without a sound component they still allow Amy’s inspiring words to reach us through engravings of her words on the surface of the statue.

Amy Johnson statue text - Believe nothing to be impossible

Changing Attitudes

And for some food for thought from the USA take a look at the Moving On page for the Millie Dresselhaus video. Attitudes are changing everywhere.

The Pankhursts

The clever "Wifies" - www.wifie.org.uk - in Edinburgh made life size portraits (above) of the women they wanted to see honoured, then set them around the city: a real call to action.

Sheffield City Council used the “Just Giving” site as part of their fundraising efforts. They attracted 295 supporters and exceeded their goal of raising £150,000 and actually got £163,166. The campaign reached a highly motivated group of givers. One of the very many supporters who donated said she had made her donation:

“In memory of our lovely brave Mother, Mary Gilbert (Nee Broomhead) who worked in Munitions at Stocksbridge Steel Works during the Second World War. Remembering too, all these ladies, from both wars.”

With the extra money raised Sheffield City Council were able to strike commemorative medals to be presented to the surviving steel factory workers.

More Power than a Plaque?

Aug. 8, 2018

Ritual Re-Veiling of the Stanley Statue

A group of artists, musicians and local residents will be taking part in a funereal march and ritual re-veiling of the Stanley statue – with an enormous rubber sheath - in Denbigh this Saturday. 

       When a statue, erected in the past, glorifies a person or attitudes that have been revealed to be abhorrent there are a number of possible responses. One is to tear the statue down, another is to install an explanatory plaque ( as is being suggested in Bristol ) and then this most active and creative possibility; a ceremony or ritual. 
This year marks the seventh annual re-veiling of the HM Stanley statue in Denbigh High St that takes place every August. The dedicated band of artists and supporters who enact the ceremony will be celebrating new evidence that the yearly repetition of the ceremony is changing hearts and minds in Denbigh. 

The event is organised by artist Wanda Zyborska on behalf of all those concerned by Denbigh council's decision in 2010 to glorify H M Stanley as an unblemished hero with a celebratory statue in the town. A widespread campaign of protest was organised in reaction to this decision, bringing together writers, academics (including some of the world’s leading experts on African history), African religious leaders, people of Congolese / African ancestry as well as individuals of a wide range of religious and political beliefs and individuals prominent in the life of Wales, and people involved in African aid organisations. 

         
“I created a black rubber sheath to ceremoniously fit over the statue as part of the annual funeral procession to draw attention to the millions of African people who died or were mutilated as a result of Stanley's exploits in the Congo rubber industry” said Wanda Zyborska. “We usually sing some African songs and people make speeches about Stanley: All are welcome”. 

Henry Morton Stanley Statue 7th Annual Re-Veiling Ceremony in Denbigh, Saturday 18 August 2018 at 11am. Meet in the Factory Road car park at 10.45map link below:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Denbigh+Library+%26+Gallery/@53.1836437,-3.4186726,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x20ec1a8571523607!8m2!3d53.1836437!4d-3.4186726

Wanda Zyborska (@WandaZyborska) | Twitter

Bristol Tackles Slave Trader's Statue

Aug. 5, 2018

 from the Telegraph

Bristol is facing up to the problem of its historic statue of Edward Colston, a slave trader who was described at the time as a "virtuous and wise son of the city ". The memorial to him was erected when knowledge of the immorality and vicious cruelty of the slave trade was under the control of the rich and powerful who profited from it. Today we abhor this trade and statues that celebrate its perpetrators pose a problem; do we remove them and risk forgetting what our country was responsible for historically or keep them and make attempts to provide education about the attitudes and standards of the past?

Let's not look up to him without knowing what he was responsible for.

Women Standing Up for Women

Aug. 3, 2018

Across the political divide women are standing up for women. Here are some excerpts from an article by  JO SWINSON FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY in March this year, a Liberal Democrat advocating for a statue of Conservative Margaret Thatcher. She said " If we want gender equality, we have to fight for space for women we vigorously disagree with, as well as those we support." 

 "Thanks to public campaigns such as ‘Plinths for Women’, a statue of suffragist Millicent Fawcett will rightly be unveiled ( in Parliament Square ). While Queen Victoria boosts the numbers of women statues, and unnamed nude women are not hard to find, data suggests fewer than 1 in 30 statues in the UK depicts a real woman from history, who wasn’t in the royal family. So it was disappointing to see Westminster Council .. turn down an application for a statue of Margaret Thatcher in Parliament Square. Maybe they think one out of twelve is enough, that they’ve ticked the woman box with the addition of Millicent Fawcett?" 

'As a little girl growing up in the 1980s, it never even crossed my mind to doubt that a woman could be Prime Minister. That achievement alone – for me and my whole generation – is more than significant enough to warrant a prominent statue in our public realm'"Apparently one of the reasons given for refusal was the state robes Thatcher would have been wearing. Even in death, it seems there are no limits to how society judges women by how they look and what they wear."

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5459053/We-Margaret-Thatcher-statue-writes-Jo-Swinson.html

'As a passionate advocate of Scotland’s place within the United Kingdom family of nations, I strongly oppose the attempts of Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP to tear our country apart. Yet like Mrs Thatcher, there is no denying Ms Sturgeon’s significance as a political figure'

 

 

Historic England - Who Gets Memorialised?

Aug. 3, 2018

Emily Gee of Historic England will be reviewing who has been  ( and hasn't been) memorialsied in a discussion at the British Library on Tuesday 11th  September. 

Immortalised: Remembering Women's Achievements will be at 7.15 until 8.30 at the British Library.

Emily Gee @ejngee

Famous Fossil Hunter should be Set in Stone!

Aug. 3, 2018

A new campaign is starting for Mary Anning who was an important English fossil collector and paleantologist who became known around the world for the finds she made in Jurrassic marine fossil beds in the Dorset cliffs. 

Her findings contributed to important changes in scientific thinking about the history of the earth. Surely a great candidate for a civic statue?

Wounded Warrior Woman

June 29, 2018

Prune Nourry's latest work in USA arising from her experience of breast cancer, based on the classic statue of an Amazon woman.

She will chisel away one of the breasts at a private ceremony and then the statue will continue to be displayed. This work addresses an issue experienced in private by herself and by so many women, but places it in the public arena, for all to see.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/24/arts/design/prune-nourry-amazon-metropolitan-museum-of-art-sculpture.html

Speak up for Human Rights.

June 27, 2018

Join the twitterstorm for the Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh who has been imprisoned.

For years she has been advocating for human rights activists and women’s rights in Iran. Ms Sotoudeh came to prominence representing defendants sentenced to die for crimes committed when they were children, opposition politicians, and the Nobel Prize winning-Iranian dissident Shirin Ebadi. Shirin was the godmother of the IAWM - International Association of Women's Museums - network. inVISIBLEwomen is a member of the IAWM.

She recently represented Vida Mohaved, a 31-year-old mother of one who was arrested in Tehran as she stood on top of a telecoms box hoisting a white hijab on a stick in protest at Iran’s compulsory veiling laws. Ms Mohaved’s protest helped inspire dozens of other women and some men to mount similar protests.  

For more on this see https://invisiblewomen.org.uk/gettingattention/post/59 and http://mystealthyfreedom.net/en/

Please join the Twitter Storm to support Nasrin Sotoudeh. IMPORTANT! Use the SAME HASHTAG: For making her tweet "Trend," write some sentences due to her situation (or anything due to an imprisoned human rights defender) and use hashtag #FREENASRIN. Using the same hashtag is very important to bring the name up! Sending tweets on the SAME DAY, WEDNESDAY, at the SAME TIME20.30 in Iran18.00 in Brussel, 17.00 London, 12. p.m. North America (Est: 12.00, Gst: 11.00 a.m. & Pst: 9.00 a.m.) 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/13/iran-arrests-human-rights-lawyernasrin-sotoudeh-criticised-judiciary/

Have Your Say.

June 21, 2018

Put Her Forward

There are 925 public statues in the UK. 158 of these are women, and of these only 25 are of non-mythical, non-royal women. There are more statues of people called John. There are more statues of goats.

Put Her Forward is described as an artwork by the theatre group non zero one, commissioned by Heritage Open Days, that recognises living women who have positively impacted the people around them. Do you know of a woman who deserves her own statue? You can nominate online at http://putherforward.com or attend a workshop and nominate a living woman and up to 25 nominees will be 3D scanned, and 3D printed as photo-real sandstone figures.

With your nominations the aim is to to double the statues of non-mythical, non-royal women in England by September 2018.. 

 These works will be unveiled  across England during the Heritage Open Days weekends, 6-9 and 13-16 September 2018. Visit their site to find a workshop near you - Newcastle upon Tyne, Droitwich, Worcestershire, Leeds,  Brighton & Hove, Manchester, Preston, Bromsgrove, London.

More information and dates at - http://putherforward.com

Two Statues for Wales

May 8, 2018

Unknown Welsh Woman

This unknown Welsh woman neatly illustrates the many unknown women whose achievements go unrecognised. Happily, the Welsh Government has £300k to mark the Centenary of Women’s Suffrage. Communities across Wales will be able to bid for grants for events to celebrate the achievements of women. In a statement to the National Assembly, Leader of the House, Julie James outlined a programme of activities to celebrate and recognise the achievements of women, that too often are almost invisible in our history. In the Autumn, the public will be able to vote to choose the Welsh women who they believe have been most inspirational. Two statues will be commissioned as a result of this project. 

https://gov.wales/newsroom/people-and-communities/2018/centenary-of-womens-suffrage-in-wales/?lang=en

 

Edinburgh - City of Men?

May 8, 2018

In February Edinburgh hosts the Audacious Women Festival. This year the inVISIBLEwomen took the banner on a tour around some of the city's 50 statues of men,

                

to help raise public awareness of the campaign for a statue to Elsie Inglis, suffragette and founder of the Scottish Women's Hospital.

some of the women from the MERCAT TOURS team campaigning for Elsie Inglis' statue in Edinburgh

www.audaciouswomen.scot

uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/...

www.scotsman.com/news/campaigners-in-fight-for...

Caroline the Campaigner.

May 7, 2018

from The Observer spotted by Roving Reporter Lee Comer

and here are some of her suggestions for other women who do not have the memorials they deserve. All of these women appear on the inVISIBLEwomen "Waiting List" along with dozens of other wonderful worthy suggestions.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/15/caroline-criado-perez-suffragist-parliament-square-interview-millicent-fawcett-statue

The Historian's View.

May 7, 2018

After noticing this "unusual example of commemoration of the daily life of women in public spaces" in Dublin, historian Sophie Cooper reflected on the historical and social significance of public memorials. 

In the USA she noted that, similar to the situation in the UK, "According to the Smithsonian, only 10% of outdoor sculptures in the US portray women – and less than 2% of the National Park Service monuments"  Sophie's view on commemoration of women says that "While men who contribute to war are often commemorated with specificity and heroism, women are anonymous and usually placed in supporting roles, regardless of the role that they actually carry out at the war and home fronts. If women are only shown as victims and (helpless) wives/mothers/sisters/daughters of war compared to their brave and heroic husbands/fathers/brothers/sons, it can skew how people approach history and who they expect should write it".

image from Sophie Cooper's history blog

This is a line of thought interestingly discussed by Lori Holyfield and Clifford Beacham in their paper Memory Brokers, Shameful Pasts, and Civil War Commemoration which investigates  "The role of memory brokers in the commemoration process, both past and present, placing the com- memoration of the American Civil War within a shame-centered framework. Illustrations of the symbolic structure of the sites and ideological struggles to recognize the role of slavery as a cause for war, as well as the role of Black soldiers in the war’s outcome, may add to our understanding of U.S. race rela- tions, both past and present."

 

https://sophiecooperhistory.wordpress.com/2017/08/20/where-are-the-women-women-and-statues/

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0021934710378746

“I Am Queen Mary”

May 2, 2018

In Denmark, where most of the public statues represent white men, in March two artists unveiled this striking statue in tribute to a 19th-century rebel queen who had led a fiery revolt against Danish colonial rule in the Caribbean.This is said to be Denmark’s first public monument to a black woman, inspired by Mary Thomas, known as one of “the three queens.”

“I Am Queen Mary” - image from New York Times

Thomas, along with two other female leaders, unleashed an uprising in 1878 called the “Fireburn.” Fifty plantations and most of the town of Frederiksted in St. Croix were burned, in what has been called the largest labor revolt in Danish colonial history. It is another example of how the truth of a history hidden, erased, rendered invisible for decades can be made concrete and visible, another example of how women are now refusing to be airbrushed out of history.

This work is remarkable also for being a collaboration between 2 artists, Jeannette Ehlers and La Vaughn Belle. “This project is about challenging Denmark’s collective memory and changing it,” the Virgin Islands artist La Vaughn Belle, one of two principal forces behind the statue, said in a statement.

Jeannette Ehlers, left, and La Vaughn Belle - image from New York Times

https://www.iamqueenmary.com

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/31/world/europe/denmark-statue-black-woman.html

 

Choose Your Mary

May 1, 2018

Mary on the Green campaign has shortlisted two designs -  by Maggie Hambling and Matrtin Jennings - for Mary Wollstonecraft, the ‘foremother of feminism’ statue, and is launching a petition calling for London Mayor’s support.

https://www.change.org/p/sadiq-khan-a-statue-for-feminist-icon-mary-wollstonecraft-whereswolly-vindicationformary

The campaign’s chair Bee Rowlatt told the Hackney Citizen: “We are trying to get recognition for this extraordinary woman who was actively annihilated from history.

“Mary Wollstonecraft was campaigning for women’s political representation 100 years before the suffragettes. She was also a leading human rights pioneer and the foremother of feminism. Her legacy is gigantic yet most people don’t even know who she is.”

https://www.hackneycitizen.co.uk/2018/03/13/campaign-for-mary-wollstonecraft-public-memorial-on-newington-green-gains-momentum/

"Comfort Woman" Statue Causes Discomfort

April 30, 2018

 from the i spotted by Roving reporter Anne French

MANILA, Philippines –  A statue honoring women who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during World War II was quietly removed from a busy seaside promenade in the Philippine capital, angering women's groups.

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The rumour is that the removal has been prompted not by drainage works but because the Japanese do not like this permanent reminder of thier past abuse of Philipino women.  

Last year, Osaka terminated its 60-year sister-city ties with San Francisco to protest a statue commemorating Asian sex slaves that was erected by California's Korean, Chinese and Filipino communities.

 the San Franciso monument to "Comfort Women"

Again, we see the power of permanent tributes to the lives of women. Even national governments recognise the capacity to reach people with a 3 dimensional representation of past deeds and mis-deeds.

http://journalstar.com/news/world/statue-honoring-wwii-sex-slaves-removed-in-philippines/article_3d902e13-46e9-5c3e-8de3-52e51d1b7346.html