Tag Archives: Creativity

Frankie Armstrong workshop – Saturday 6 July, 1-5pm

On Saturday 6 July we are delighted to welcome folk legend Frankie Armstrong to Bristol to explore the history of women’s folk music.

Alongside Peggy Seeger, Sandra Kerr, Alison McMorland and Kathy Henderson, Frankie produced two albums of women’s folk music, The Female Frolic (1968) and My Song is My Own (1980). There is also the book My Song is My Own (1979), which documents 100 women’s songs.

my-song-is-my-own-cover_1The workshop will comprise of a live oral history that will explore how Frankie helped to research and collect the legacy of women’s folk traditions. This will be followed by a singing session led by Frankie. Not to be missed!

You can listen to Frankie talk about her influences here:

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/90177447″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

What about this for a pro-choice anthem as well! ‘We Must Choose’ (Armstrong).

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/96379464″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]


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

Feminist activism – temporary, invisible, documented

Feminist activism is often omitted from histories, and the majority of mainstream media. One of the main reasons why the Feminist Archive was set up was to ensure that there is a safe, secure place where documentation of feminist movements can be collected so they are less likely to be forgotten.

Feminist activism can of course take many forms. But it is those activisms which are underground, subcultural and temporary that are particularly at risk from erasure from the history books.

This photo of a vibrant piece of graffiti located at the St Werburghs-St Pauls underpass near the M32 junction taken on 5 May 2013 with a smart phone, encapsulates all these aspects of feminist activism.

Colourful piece of graffiti that says 'Stop Violence Against Women'

It is likely that this image, which has clearly been made to capture the attention, to force passer-bys to look again as the combination of text and colour emits a message of hope and social transformation, will be washed away by the council at some point in the next few days, weeks or months.

It will leave no physical record that can continue to tell the story of how this piece graphic communication intervenes into public space, and defiantly offers an alternative to the messages that are paraded on billboards, encouraging nothing more than a culture of excessive consumption and economic exploitation.

Everyday mobile technologies like smartphones (which of course are intimately bound up with capitalism), are tools to document these brazen messages that offer people the chance to dream, hope, live and create otherwise.

If you see other examples of feminist graffiti, please send them in and we can share them on this site.

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

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.