getting attention

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


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" - - 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.

'Messenger' UK's Biggest Bronze!

Nov. 26, 2018

Well hallelujah! Size isn't everything, but how great that this new sculpture in Plymouth will be the country's biggest bronze - and it will be a woman. The 7m (23ft) sculpture, called 'Messenger', will be installed outside the Theatre Royal.

Sculptor Joseph Hillier was inspired to create it by an actor rehearsing Shakespeare's Othello at the theatre. He said its name refers to the "pivotal" role of a performer to "breathe life into words". The sculpture, commissioned by the theatre, has a working title of Bianca after the character whose "split-second pose" is the basis for the piece.

"This work offers a young, powerful woman, a potent force about to transform the world by her actions," Mr Hillier said."The actor ...carries a message...It's a metaphor for what great theatre does".

'Messenger', will be unveiled next year in front of the Theatre Royal. It will be so huge that when he is lying down the sculptor is the same size as one of its feet.

He told the Press Association that the piece will be the largest bronze sculpture in the UK by volume  – at 25.6 metres cubed and will weigh nine and a half tonnes. Speaking on Radio 4 Hillier said that when he looked around Plymouth he saw so many statues of men that he decided to choose a woman for his subject.

Evie, 11 years old, Campaigns for Mary Anning

Nov. 13, 2018

She couldn't believe that someone as important as the pioneering fossil hunter, Mary Anning had no statue. Evie Swire ( who is the same age as Anning was when she found her first fossil ) has started a campaign for a statue to be built of the working-class Victorian woman whose discoveries helped to shape the theory of evolution. She has secured the backing of Sir David Attenborough.

Out of This World

Oct. 27, 2018

VIEW is a project in Aberdeen, part of the Visual Arts and Culture Programme at University. The event marks the centenary year of the Representation of the Peoples Act 1918 and celebrates the achievements of some of the very many women still overlooked by history. There will be activities and a talk - all free - a participatory performance on Castlegate, making artworks to celebrate the achievements of women over the last 100 years of suffrage.

The talk will cast a beady feminist eye on how UK civic statues give the impression that it is almost only men who have ever done anything worth commemorating and how that is changing with great women - activists, reformers, and pioneers - begining to be honoured at last.

Come along and take part - click on link below.

Historic England Protests for Mrs Pankhurst

Aug. 30, 2018

Historic England have described the attempt to move the Statue of Mrs Pankhurst from her site near Parliament as "arbitrary " and have objected to the move suggested by the Pankhurst Trust. They criticise the proposed new site for this listed statue as having 'limited public benefit' due to its "private nature". In effect, the move would steal this relatively rare statue of a women, honoured for her contribution to the cause of universal suffrage, from the public view. It would hide her away - render her virtually invisible. 

Mary Anning Rocks!

Aug. 24, 2018

Girl Power Kick Starts Campaign

The campaign fo a permanent statue in Lyme Regis in honour of the famous fossil hunter Mary Anning has passed another milestone and gained unanimous council approval. Set in motion when fossil mad Evie Swire asked her mum, Anya, why there wasn't already a statue of Anning in the town 'as she is amazing'. So Anya then met with town and district councillor Cheryl Reynolds who said "A statue for Mary has always been something we wanted to do for the town, we just needed the energy and the girl power of the young to kick start it," 

''We are very good at immortalising men in this country," said Anya. "But when it comes to remembering and celebrating.. remarkable .. women .. we are, sadly, really bad at it." So who are our boys and girls looking up to? Mary Anning is a perfect example and a statue to her is long overdue."

The #MaryAnningRocks campaign is looking for local people, schools and businesses to help with the project.

For more information and to contribute, tweet @MaryAnningRocks

or contact Cllr Reynolds directly on

Breaking the Bronze Ceiling in USA

Aug. 23, 2018


August 21, 2018 02:30 PM

It's Happaning Everywhere - in Lexington, Kentucky, where there are more statues of men, horses, dogs ( and even a camel ) than women, people have finally had enough.

Reporter Tom Eblen wrote - "A century ago, Lexington women were national leaders in the movement to secure civil rights for women, including the 19th Amendment giving them the right to vote. But there are no statues, monuments or plaques in town to honor them. In fact, while Lexington has many monuments to men and horses — and even a dog and a camel — I know of only one significant statue honoring a woman. A bronze Catherine Spalding (1793-1858), founder of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, sits outside KentuckyOne Health St. Joseph Hospital. A non-profit group called Breaking the Bronze Ceiling hopes to change that. The group raising money for a monument to the history of women in Fayette County to be placed in a prominent downtown location during 2020, the centennial of 19th Amendment’s ratification."

Read more here:

Hands Off Mrs Pannkhurst

Aug. 23, 2018

 Spotted in the Telegraph by Roving Reporter GD

It would be funny if it were not so sad and ridiculous to see the manoueverings engendered ( we can only assume ) by the arrival - finally - of the statue of one lone women in the Parliament Square "gentlemen's club" of 11 chaps. Why, WHY would this statue of Emeline Pankhurst, paid for and placed by suffragettes, need to be moved on to a site with no connection ( despite attempts to argue to the contrary ) to her?

Frankly, the mind boggles.

For a fuller discussion of the issue see the Guardian and Womans Sphere, links below.

Sign the 38 degrees petition to stop the removal of this statue here

Bedford Women Changing History

Aug. 16, 2018

photo from the site

Amy Walmsley; Suffragette, headteacher, business leader, educationalist and politician

When it emeged that the Talking Statues project ( see post 94 for how that works ) in Bedford would be the voices of men and none of women a group formed to change history in the town. Their aim is simple – to celebrate the Women of Bedford, by installing the first public work of art in the town of a female which will be the first of several. Despite a wealth of strong, high-achieving women in Bedford's history; Artist Dora Carrington, Fashion Desingner Jean Muir, Santosh Kumari of the Asian Women's Foundation and Long distance runner Paula Radcliffe MBE  - not one of the 11 existing works of public art in the town is of a female - such a common theme across the country. The statue will recognise the significant contributions women have made, and continue to make to the borough in politics, the arts, business, education, health, social care and science. Their aim is to Celebrate the women of the past to inspire the women of the future!

For an informative video and more general information see -

and for information for schools 

Facebook page: 

Twitter: @womenofbedford Instagram: womenofbedford

and thier website:

Talking Statues. How does that work?

Aug. 16, 2018

Listen Up - Here's How.


'Talking Statues' enable people to access a monologue for each statue via a QR code or short URL incorporated into a sign placed in front of it.  The sound file is then accessed via the listeners' mobile phones.  With the 'singlondon' project ( as used in this Dublin statue of two women ) the sound file is disguised as a phone call – so the listener effectively receives a call from a statue.

The cost of the technology is relatively low – the main costs are hosting the website that holds the sound files and the technology design for the mobile phone. The starting price would probably be £3,000, which becomes more cost-effective if the website is hosting a number of statues – it would be an expensive way of doing just one statue but the cost would be the same for 10 or 20 (excluding any commissioning fees to write and record the text).   Costs can also be reduced by getting a student or volunteer to design and maintain the technology.

Photo Graham Hogg.

So how about installing sound in the wonderful 'Women of Steel' in Sheffield using that beautiful accapella song " The Drop Hammer " that was written for the opening ceremony? They probably would not mind shairing the privelege with other statues in the city to  keep the costs affordable.

Listen from 16.20 - 18.44 on Women of Steel Sheffield opening ceremony video

For more info on Talking Statues,



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:,-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.

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

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."

'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'



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.