In March 2018 we invited people to share stories of women from Knowle West who inspire them, to mark 100 years since some women gained the right to vote in the UK. We attended International Women’s Day events at Filwood Community Centre and visited local groups to talk about what it means to ‘inspire’ and gather people’s thoughts.
“[She] has worked tirelessly to engage, inspire, build strong relationships and strive to make a difference to the people of Knowle West. As a resident, she truly cares about the area and its potential.”
“[She] has raised both me and my brother with a good set of morals to walk confidently through life with. I don’t think in life we tell the women in our family thank you enough for doing and putting up with everything they go through.”
“She was a constant in my life, strong, independent, and taught me many things. She never missed a birthday or Christmas and will be missed by everyone who knew her.”
“[She] is such an inspiration to me because she always has a smile and gives 100% to whatever she does. She does lots of voluntary work in the Knowle West area and is always caring and helpful.”
“She builds women’s confidence – inspiring them to take part in training and education. She’s down to earth and has a laugh. If it wasn’t for her all the women she works with wouldn’t get the opportunities and support they get.”
In the summer of 2018 artist Pippa Grace Robinson helped us identify themes and phrases that echoed across the stories that had been collected. In November 2018 Pippa turned a selection of these quotes into laser-cut stencils at our making space KWMC: The Factory, then used the stencils to paint onto a vintage teapot.
Pippa also held a workshop at the annual Knowle West festival in September 2018, when she invited people to share their responses to the question: ‘what makes a woman of Knowle West?’
The qualities and characteristics ranged from ‘strong’ to ‘upbeat’ and these words were embroidered onto patchwork squares by local residents and KWMC staff. Pippa stitched the patchwork pieces together into a table runner and completed the decoration by adding a digitally embroidered motif at KWMC: The Factory.
The tea set was used for the first time at our annual showcase event in November 2018, offering an invitation for people to come together, share conversation and reflect on the women who have been an inspiration to them.
Pippa commented: ““I’ve worked with the Knowle West community for over 10 years, and many of my projects have been with women. I really appreciate the strength, resilience, warmth, and, above all, the humour that so many local women possess.
“I have loved working on this project and hearing so many amazing stories. There are many extraordinary women working in the community, and also many unsung heroines – the mothers, school teachers and neighbours who quietly make a difference and deserve to be celebrated.”
Photography by Ibolya Feher
2018 marks 100 years since the right to vote was extended to some women in Britain. Activities and celebrations will be taking place across our city and country this year and we’re keen to make sure that the women of our community are recognised and remembered. Through our recent projects exploring local history and celebrating the hidden talents and skills of...