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PROCESSIONS was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Junction Arts and women from Bolsover, to take part in project we won’t forget in a hurry!

On Sunday the 10th June 2018, three months of hard work making our wonderful banner culminated in us traveling to London to join thousands of other women and girls from across the country to mark this historic moment, 100 years since the Representation of the People Act.

We wore our violet sashes with pride and walked through the streets of London, beginning in Hyde Park and finishing at the Houses of Parliament.

Our group worked with Karina Thompson, a textile artist based in Birmingham. With Karina’s support and encouragement we finally agreed on a brilliant slogan, the perfect embodiment of soft power, Smile, It Confuses Your Enemy.

Individually embroidered letters were then appliqued onto the digitally printed background featuring the smiles of 100 women who have inspired us.

Our banner was a real eye catcher and was photographed constantly throughout the day, and to our delight, was even captured on TV!

To make the day even better, we commissioned two other artists to join us in London. Mik Godley who made drawings of the march on his ipad and Derbyshire Poet Laureate Cathy Grindrod who soaked up the atmosphere and wrote a poem entitled Let it Roar!

Each participant was presented with a copy of the poem and print of one of Mik’s drawings as a memento and legacy of a truly amazing day!

For Junction Arts this project clearly illustrates just how successfully the arts and creativity can impact positively on everyday people’s lives. Coming together to work together, making friends in a safe and supportive environment, stretching boundaries to achieve a successful outcome and making lifelong memories along the way.

Here are just a few reflections and thoughts from our group about their experience of taking part ……..

“I loved the planning bit.

And deciding the quote for the banner.

Smile, it confuses your enemy.

We voted for that.

The wildcard quote.

We own it.

Do you do it?


Smile to confuse your enemies.

I like to think I’d do that.

I need to do it more.

It gives you dignity.

Yes. Gives you the power.

On your own terms.”


“We each picked a letter to make – to do however we wanted.

I loved all those colours. Less isn’t more, Jane said.

I did the first S of Smile. It wasn’t like school

when you didn’t deserve a merit – no-one called it skewiff.

I was accepted. Encouraged. Set free to create.

We were all inspired by everyone else.

Poppy did the ‘M’ of ‘Smile’. Didn’t you Popps?

Yes and my favourite was cutting it out and the sequin machine.”


“We’re the official banner bearers for Derbyshire.

Did you know?

We love our banner. It’s brilliant.

Exceeded our expectations.

It came from friendship, togetherness.”


“And all from women coming together in Bolsover.

Talking, making friends, that was the best bit.

Getting involved, being part of it.

We did it together.

Made a future history.”






For more information about our involvement visit the Junction Arts website

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