Rural Arts Banner  - 100 years of Women’s Suffrage

On Sunday 10th June 2018, a group of women from Rural Arts in Thirsk joined PROCESSIONS, a mass artwork celebrating 100 years of women voting, in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London. Tens of thousands of women took to the streets on the Sunday to create flowing rivers of purple, green and white – creating a spectacular, living artwork that brought our tribute to the Suffrage campaigners to front pages in the press. The event was sponsored by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary – and produced by Artichoke, who works with artists to create extraordinary ambitious art in cities, the countryside and on coastlines across the UK. 

I managed this project by writing the funding application, devising a delivery plan and design of the marketing materials. I produced and monitored the budget throughout the project whilst gathering evidence, data and feedback. I liased with the stakeholders and participants and co-facilitated the banner workshops with the support of collegue Sorcha McCall, who designed the banner and created the pattern for the fabric pieces. 

In May and June, the project was featured in The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, Sky News, Time Out, Evening Standard, Stylist and New York Times. The banner and women who took part from Rural Arts also featured in a 3-page spread in the Weekend magazine of the Yorkshire Post and online via articles within The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Northern Echo. During the event, the BBC interviewed Rural Arts director, Angela Hall. 

Our banner was made by a group of over 50 people from the local area, ranging in age from 6 years old to 96. They all came together to contribute their individual sewing skills, from applique to embroidery, machine sewing, crochet and hand sewing. We created the banner with the intention at heart of celebrating all women and girls from rural North Yorkshire. Women are set against a backdrop of the agricultural market town of Thirsk and the rural landscape of the North Yorkshire Moors.  We decided to make a statement piece that would stand out in a crowd  ‘All Women Standing Together’ reflects the diversity of our community and the contribution that women make to the local economy. This is highlighted in the side panels that capture MP Joan Maynard who championed agricultural workers rights, the first Champion female butcher, women working in agriculture and female organisations including the WI.