Tag Archives: Arts and Culture

Born in Flames at Watershed Sunday 12 October @ 6pm!

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see Born in Flames on Sunday 12 October at Watershed. It is part of the Afrofuturism season curated by Edson Burton taking place throughout October.

Independent filmmaker, artist and critic Lizzie Borden (yes, her real name!) made her feature debut with this bold and brilliant fusion of sci fi and feminist politics, a comic fantasy of female rebellion that we welcome to Bristol for this extremely rare screening. It’s 10 years after a socialist revolution in the United States, and the leader of the Woman’s Army is mysteriously killed, setting off a seemingly impossible coalition of women – crossing all lines of race, class, and sexual preference – to take down The System.Born_in_flames_poster

Whistle blowing female bicyclists swoop down on would-be rapists, male construction workers protest that their female colleagues are monopolising the best jobs, and there are funny and thrilling encounters between groups of women ranging from militant black lesbians to white punks.

Screening with Pumzi, Kenya’s first science fiction film, a poetic and imaginative vision of a dystopian future 35 years after water wars have torn the world apart. It tells the story of Asha, a young botanist who risks everything as she escapes to the outside world to nurture a precious plant.
With an introduction and Q&A from Chardine Taylor-Stone, writer, DJ, and founder of black speculative fiction book club Mothership Connections.

GULABI GANG – film screening 8 November @ Silai Centre

This new documentary about the Gulabi Gang, a group of women activists in Northern India is being screened in Bristol in November.

image

GULABI GANG
Saturday 8th November, Silai Centre, Easton Road, Doors open from 6pm, film starts at 7pm

Suggested donation £3

Nishtha Jain, a film maker from India will be visiting Bristol on 8th November for a very special screening of her latest film, Gulabi Gang, a documentary about an inspirational group of women working in Northern India to challenge gender violence and state corruption.

Please join us for this exciting screening and unique opportunity to learn about the activism against gender violence happening in India at the moment.

*GULABI GANG*

Norway/India/Denmark/2012/Hindi with English Subtitles

A film by Nishtha Jain(India), produced by Oscar and Emmy nominated
Torstein Grude(Norway) and Signe Sorenson(Denmark)

*Synopsis*

Enter the badlands of Bundelkhand in central India and you have entered a
place of desolation, dust and despair. This film follows the Gulabi Gang,
an unusual group of rural women led by the energetic and charismatic Sampat
Pal. They travel long distances to fight for the rights of women and
Dalits. Often they encounter resistance, apathy and corruption, even
ridicule. Sometimes whole villages connive against them to protect the
perpetrators of violence. While we see Gulabi Gang members struggling
against gender violence and state corruption, we also see the flip side –
members getting sucked by the trappings of their new found power. Breaking
away from the deep-rooted patriarchal structure is a challenge even for the
most fearless amongst them. The film pulls us into the centre of these
blazing conflicts and uncovers a complex story about the nature of power
itself.

*AWARDS AND HONORS*

Best Documentary, Dubai International Film Festival, 2012

Best Documentary, Kortfilmfestivalen, Norway 2012

Amnesty International Award for Human Rights, Planete-doc Review, Warsaw

First Amnesty International Human Rights Award, Tri-Continental IFF, South
Africa 2013

Best Documentary, International Association of Women in Radio &
Television(IAWRT) 2013

Best Director, Mumbai International Film Festival, Mumbai, 2014

Best Documentary(Social Issues), National Awards, India, 2014

Best Non-feature Editing, National Awards, India, 2014

Best Protagonist, ImagineIndia, Madrid 2014 & many more!

*Nishtha Jain* is an award winning filmmaker based in Mumbai. She has directed several films including the critically acclaimed

*City of Photos(2005)* and *Lakshmi and Me(2008). *She’s a graduate of
FTII, Pune and Jamia Mass communication Research Centre.
http://www.raintreefilms.net
http://www.lakshmiandme.com

Women’s Radio Workshop – Women and Music

We are slowly migrating our audio cassette-based collections to digital files and we thought we’d share some of the fruits of our labour here.

The Women’s Radio Workshop programme ‘Women and Music’ provides a rare and unique insight into women’s liberation music making.

Women and Music Front women and music back

The programme features ‘seven women who play and write music’ including Rosemary Schonfeld, Jana Runnalls (Ova), Andrea Webb, Janie Webb, Judya Manthis (sp?), Lawrie Strike, Louise Marsden, Rosie Fisher and Sarah Gillam.

For more background on music making and the WLM visit the online Women’s Liberation Music Archive, in particular read the introduction to the Sisters in Song book. The physical WLMA has been deposited in the FAS and is in the process of being catalogued – check back soon for updates on this!

For now, enjoy!

New Additions to the Greenham Common Collection – The story of Mrs. Jocelyn Wood

The latest item we have catalogued contributes to our already significant collection relating to Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp.

We were recently contacted by Michael Wood, the son of Mrs. Jocelyn Wood, who sadly recently passed away, to see if we would be interested in housing a piece of the Greenham Common fence and some photographs of the camp. Of course we said yes!

An email from Michael is included below to introduce his mother’s text, which outlines her memories of being stationed at Greenham Common during the Second World War, years before she returned to Greenham as an activist.

A big thankyou to Michael for letting us post this story on the website, along with the photos. If you want to view the items in the flesh, they bear the catalogue number DM2123/1/Archive Boxes 129.

‘Hello

My wife has recently contacted you about a piece of fence from Greenham Common from my mother (Jocelyne Wood, nee Withycombe) – correspondence below. We think she has some photos as well which we will try to dig out and send them together.

DM1981 129 1 5 065

She did write a few notes about her life – nothing about going to Greenham during the seventies (?) but she was stationed there for a few months during the war until the Americans arrived – see attachment.

We’ll be in touch again when we’ve found the photos.

Best wishes

Michael (Wood)’

DM1981 129 1 3 061

DM1981 129 1 6 067RAF Greenham Common was like a holiday camp after Hednesford, I spent three very enjoyable summer months there July to August 1943, WAAFs were billeted in a large house with a garden stretching down to the Kennet, a fast flowing chalk stream, It was ideal bathing, We were working outside doing daily inspections on Oxfords, which in good summer weather was pleasant work.

We did the same jobs as the RAF – for which as far as I can remember we got half the pay, NCOs were all RAF and most had served RAF apprenticeships.

DM1981 129 1 4 064Greenham was a Training Command station. WAAF mechanics were never sent to active service stations – a fact you were not told when you joined up. Our Greenham was very different from the USAF cruise missile base, The main Basingstoke road, now diverted, ran through the camp. As far as I can remember there were no fences even round the runway. It trained for night flying so there must have been some way of stopping traffic when flying was in progress.

Hitching to Fleet from Greenham was easy usually only taking about an hour, so I went home a lot – sometimes just for a half day.

The road to Basingstoke was beautiful with wild clematis and scabious. I had my cycle with me as did most of the others. A favourite evening ride was to Kingsclere where there was a good YM canteen in a magnificent barn. (I have since tried without success to identify that barn.)

DM1981 129 1 1 059

The Services’ canteens and hostels were very useful, There were hostels in most major towns which I made much use of on my hitching expeditions. London ones were particularly useful making theatre visits possible, A uniform opened many doors. Looking back it seems very unfair. Girls conscripted to factories like ROF Chorley worked much harder and for longer hours than we did, were away from home living inferior hostels with inferior food but had no such facilities, nor did the Land Army.

For other entertainment there was Newbury and the Americans, There were several US bases nearby that invited us to dances, The main attraction was the food rather than the G.I.s most of whom were boring. There were WO exceptions, I got to know David McGeon because I happened to tell him I was reading War & Peace. I went out with him several times. He was a film script writer and was fairly left wing. He was interesting, but too introspective to be easy company, Then Stan Sobolewski took over. I met him at a dance at the Corn Exchange in Newbury from where we walked through the park by the river orchestrated by thunder and lightning – but no rain.

DM1981 129 1 2 060

I saw a lot him during the next two weeks. He was tall, dark and handsome and very attractive, but not political. He was of Polish origin and came from Detroit, Two weeks later the blow fell: the Americans were taking Greenham over and the RAF had to move. Stan and I corresponded for several months and met once in London, but the magic had gone. I had had a lucky escape.

The news of the move was devastating to everyone. We all liked Greenham. We had one week’s notice. A special train was provided for the move. The whole station packed up and moved. Our destination was Long Newnton, Glos. It was an unattractive camp and the nearest town, Tetbury, was no compensation for Newbury in spite of its lovely old buildings. I was there less than a week before I was posted yet again – to the Fitters’ Course at Halton.

Action Photos from the Feminist Print Media Workshop!

Last Sunday we held the second Feminist Archive South workshop which explored the history of print media in the Women’s Liberation Movement.

After a brief tour of magazines such as Spare Rib, Shocking Pink, Red Rag and Bad Attitude, newspapers such as Outwrite and Shrew, Enough: The Journal of Bristol Women’s Liberation and Fowaad! the newsletter for the Organisation of Women of Asian and African Descent, we leapt into action and made our own publication.

A trip to a local stationery store is planned to reproduce it, and copies will be available at future workshops!

zine 12 zine 4 zine 3 zine 11  zine 5 zine 6 zine 8 zine 2 zine 10 zine 16  zine 7 zine 9

zine 14

zine 17

Zine 1

Monica Sjöö talks to Helen Taylor about being a woman artist in 1973-1974

In 1973 and 1974 Helen Taylor and Brenda Jacques decided to embark on an innovative way of information sharing amongst feminist groups in Bristol. They stated: ‘it seems that the small weekly groups and specific campaign groups within Bristol Women’s Liberation don’t really know what the others are doing. Our only means of communication is through the newsletter which, though informative, can only give an outline of each group’s activities, and can suggest little of the feelings and experiences of the women involved.’

Their answer to this problem was to create a tape-slide and audio presentation that would be used in groups and on Radio Bristol’s ‘Access’ programme. They took photos of the Bristol Women’s Liberation activities and asked women the following question: ‘What difference has the Women’s Liberation Movement made to you in your daily life, in your relationships, your day-to-day routine, & your feelings about yourself as a woman, as well as your political awareness and activism?

One of the women they interviewed was Monica Sjöö, who died in 2005. In the extract below she talks about being a woman artist and the difference that women’s liberation makes.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/90145938″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Monica Sjoo stands in front of her painting

What can history do? What does history mean to you? What does history mean to us? – Call for Contributions

The Feminist Archive South have funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create a pamphlet that explores how feminist, women’s and other radical histories shape lives, understandings of social change, collective dreams, hopes, disappointments and imaginations.

The pamphlet will be published for the end of the Ellen Malos’ Archives project in September 2013. It will be distributed to schools, further education colleges and libraries in Bristol, the South West and further afield on request (we have limited budget for distribution but can provide free copies should you want some).

We invite people to explore these questions in whatever way they wish, but please do think about the question of what history can do, what it means to individuals and what it can possibly mean to communities, collectives or whatever other way you want to envision/ interrogate/ reconfigure/ think about ‘us.’

Contributions should be written in a non-specialist language as it is envisaged that a wide range of ages and backgrounds will read the pamphlet.

We want to use the pamphlet as a space to explore the practicalities of history making – for example running discussion and memory groups, oral history projects, grassroots archives (on and offline), exhibitions and other ways individuals and communities explore, recover and use history to understand their identities, where they live or the cultures they belong to.

If you work for a feminist or women’s archives, please consider a contribution that tells us about your collection – we plan to have a directory at the back which lists archives and libraries where people can find out about history.

You may also want to consider if digital media has had an impact on the question of what history can do, and how it is shaping individuals and communities right now.

Other contributions can be in the form of

  • Visual art e.g., Illustrations, photos, cartoons, posters
  • Essays and critical writing
  • Philosophical reflections
  • Telling radical histories
  • Profiles of archives, collections, museums, projects, websites/ web resources
  • Practical ‘how to’ articles – e.g., how to use an archive, how to work with historical sources, digital archiving and information management
  • Creative Writing, including poetry
  • Interviews with interesting projects
  • Interviews with people in your community

All written contributions must not exceed 1500 words

All images must be sent as JPEGs 300 DPI

Deadline for contributions

15 July 2013

Please send contributions to fa_south@yahoo.co.uk and contact us for further information

 

Next Workshop – 12 May – Exploring and Making Feminist Media

In the next Feminist Archive South workshop which is taking place on Sunday 12 May at MShed from 1-5pm, we will be exploring and making feminist media.

The representation of women in the media remains a hot topic for feminists today. From 2008-2011 the Bristol Feminist Network undertook major research which can be accessed here.

As well as critiquing existing representations, feminists have a long history of making their own media. From Sylvia Pankhurst’s Women’s Dreadnought, to the multitude of contemporary feminist blogs, women have always made their own media to communicate political ideas and create community.

In the workshop on the 12 May we will be focusing on printed media holdings of the Feminist Archive, which include numerous magazines and pamphlets from the Women’s Liberation Movement, examples of which are included below.

Shocking Pink Cover Spare Rib 4 shrew_ outwrite red rag_2 Bad Attitude 2

As well as learning about the aesthetics, practices and ideas discussed in WLM media, we will also make our own zines and pamphlets in the second part of the workshop.

So come prepared to write, draw, cut, paste and discuss the history of feminist media making!

All welcome!

Greenham Materials

This week we were visited by Conni Rosewarne who is filming parts of the archive for her third year university project.

Conni was particularly interested in material relating to Greenham Common, as both her grandmother and mother protested at the camp. Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, established in Sept 1981, was a protest against the presence of nuclear cruise missiles on British land. Missiles were removed from the camp in 1991, but women still protested there until 2000. For more information about the camp, please visit here and here.

Piece of the Greenham Fence - green wire on a white background

             Part of fence at Greenham Common

This photo is a piece of the fence, which women used to cut into during actions.

Triangular shawl with different coloured webs sewn together

Shawl collectively made by women at Greenham   Common

This photo is of a collectively made shawl by Greenham Women which depicts a number of spider webs sewn together. Before the world wide web connected people across the world, women at Greenham used the metaphor of a spiders web to imagine global connections between peace activists.

Picture of the wire and shawl together

Conni films the shawl and piece of the fence, which are placed on the table in Special Collections at Bristol University

Brighton University Student Conni Rosewarne films the shawl and piece of the fence for her university project

Conni in action! She has promised to send us her film when it has been made – so watch this space!

Another picture of the fence from a different angle

                     The fence, from a different angle

Another close-up of the fence – a highly emotive part of our collection. If you want to see some amazing pictures of Greenham, visit Cary Welling‘s site.

Women Live Bristol Poster

Women Live was a UK-wide women’s network which held festivals and networking events that showcased women’s talents across a range of arts including film, visual art, theatre and music in the early 1980s. There was also discussions about topics such as sexuality, work and media representation.

Women Live poster with details of a series of creative activities including music, film, theatre, art and discussions

Women Live Bristol Poster 1982

Women Live were remarkably similar to Ladyfests, the punk feminist festival started in Olympia in the USA in 2000. Ladyfests similarly combine performance, discussion and empowerment initiatives, but also provide a template for organising feminist cultural events in different geographical locations.

Poster with details of activities at the Edinburgh Spring Fling

Women Live Edinburgh 1985Women Live Spring Fling_1_web

Women Live events happened in Bristol, Edinburgh, Tyneside and London – although may have happened in other places too. If you know of any cities that held Women Live events, or have any archive material relating to such events, please get in touch so we can gain a more accurate picture of when and where Women Live took place, and who performed at them.

There is an extensive archive of Women Live Edinburgh (1981-1985) in The Glasgow Women’s Library which includes posters, leaflets, programmes, badges and newspaper cuttings regarding each of the festivals and other events. There is also correspondence relating to sponsorship, membership etc, several drafts and copies of the constitution, minutes of meetings, agendas and newsletters, photographs of events and performers as well as biographies of certain performers and information from similar groups or movements.

Women Live events in London had a strong musical programme, and performers such as The Guest Stars, Maggie Nicols, Irene Schweitzer, Julie Tippetts, Jans Ponsford Quintet, Jam Today and Amazulu played. There were also performances from dance troupe Sheer Ebony and theatre group Monstrous Regiment.

You can read reviews of Women Live 1982 published in Spare Rib on the Women’s Liberation Music Archive here and here, including a report on the music workshop held at the Watershed in Bristol:

‘The jam session at the end of the day was loud, lively and out of control. Order was restored when the workshop organisers switched off the power supply to make themselves heard. The result was somewhat more musical as they convinced everyone to play in the same key. Instant musical competence no; but the pleasure and confidence gained made the day a great success.’