Bristol Women’s Voice and Bristol City Council have been successful in their bid to the Government’s ‘Centenary Cities: 100 years of votes for women’ fund.
The bid was spearheaded by Bristol Women’s Voice in partnership with Bristol City Council and with the support of partners across the city.
In the early 20th Century, Bristol had the highest level of suffrage activity outside of London and the aim of this new programme is to learn from our shared history and to inspire future generations.
The programme includes a lantern parade down Park Street to a City Hall reception on February 6th 2018 to mark the day, 100 years ago, when women over 30 who owned property were given the right to vote. The Wills tower and The Victoria Rooms will be illuminated in suffragette colours. At City Hall, a choir of 100 girls will sing ‘The March of the Women’ by Dame Ethel Smyth, who was a prominent composer and key member of the movement for Votes for Women.
The city’s main International Women’s Day event in 2018 will be held at City Hall with an exciting and packed programme including music, interactive theatre, hot topic debates and much more.
M Shed will host an exhibition, talks and guided suffragette tours; schools will run conferences for girls with positive role models; Future Brunels will hold a hands-on science event for girls on International Women in Engineering Day; a citywide digital game will take place; Upfest will commission female graffiti artists to celebrate women past, present and future; actors dressed as suffragettes will be out in Bristol during Democracy week explaining what these women did for us and why it is still so important to vote.
Programme partners will join centenary celebrations throughout 2018 with other activities including women composers at St. George’s, Show of Strength theatre’s Audience with Sarah Guppy, the Bristol Women’s Literature Festival, Bristol Post will be holding a women’s event, as will the Bristol Old Vic… and this is listing just a handful of the exciting events in store.
Bristol Women’s Voice is kicking off the celebrations on December 12th 2017 with a pop-up shop at Bristol University’s Beacon House (at the top of Park Street) selling goods made by women and our special edition suffrage centenary mugs. The suffragettes raised funds for their activities in this way and Bristol women’s Voice will be doing the same to fundraise for its own work and that of its Zero Tolerance campaign.
Penny Gane, Chair of Bristol Women’s Voice and Bristol Women’s Commission said: “We are thrilled to have won this grant and to be working with so many organisations in the city to make sure we learn from our past and continue to strive for women’s equality now and in the future.”
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Bristol has a strong history of activism to support the rights of many communities and groups, few more so than the campaign for women’s suffrage. As a city we can be proud of the part played by those Bristol activists who fought the fight when equality seemed a distant ambition and those who continue to educate and campaign on women’s rights. I am grateful for the continued advice and activity of Bristol Women’s Voice and others who are working towards next year’s centenary celebrations.”