Throughout March, Lucy Orta and LCF will deliver a programme of educational and exploratory workshops, connecting participants with the women’s rights and feminism movements through craft techniques. Last week Caitlin Davies, author of Bad Girls: A History of Rebels and Renegades visited the prison to tell the story of the suffragettes at Holloway, to which the women at HMP Downview are invited to respond through creative writing.
This week we have Gillian Murphy from the Women’s Library visiting, to show subversive textile items and banners made by the suffragettes in Holloway, followed by a responsive embroidery workshop. Next week Clare Hunter, a specialist banner artist will come to talk about the history of banners and banner making and deliver an embellishment and technique workshop. Finally, MA Fashion Futures students will deliver a workshop on fashion activism and messaging, followed by a reactive print workshop.
Holloway Prison was one of the most notorious sites associated with the suffrage movement in London: over 1000 suffragettes were imprisoned there. We will connect women at HMP Downview, some of whom were the final residents of Holloway, with the suffragettes through educational and making workshops, and finally the collaborative production of one of these banner artworks.
The workshops will focus on text and textiles, echoing the practices of the women’s suffrage campaign – but importantly, they will also be spaces to consider what it means to be a woman today, the power of the vote today, and our shared future.
We kick started the proceedings this month by giving every woman at HMP Downview a Processions information and resource pack. These packs contained gifts from our friends at Sisters Uncut, 4thEstate, Penguin Classics and Seawhite of Brighton. Everything was packaged in a sustainable bag, which was constructed from materials found across LCF sites by specialist technician Sarah Weightman. The bags were made inside HMP Downview at LCF’s fashion training and manufacturing unit, Making For Change.
Throughout April and May, Lucy Orta and LCF will work closely with the women to collaboratively produce the banner artwork representing the women of HMP Downview. The final banner artwork created by the women will be carried at the Processions event in London on 10th June 2018 by LCF students and staff.