Visible Women

Your 2018 Feminist Calendar: protests, panels and exhibitions celebrating the sisterhood

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Moya Crockett
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Get your diaries out, because this autumn’s offering of feminist events is bigger and better than ever. 

There’s a buzz about 2018. In “the year of the woman”, we’ve already celebrated the 100th anniversary of (some) women’s enfranchisement in the UK and seen women march around the world to say no to sexism. Statues of female change-makers from history are being given the go-ahead all over the country, awards ceremonies and film festivals have been dominated by discussions of sexual assault and gender inequality, and campaigns such as 50:50 Parliament are urging more women to get involved in politics.

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Fittingly, 2018 is also packed with ways to revel in the sisterhood, from protests to panel discussions, exhibitions, art classes and theatre. Below, we’ve compiled a handy calendar of UK-wide feminist events – so join your sisters and mark these dates in your diary.

We’ll be updating this page throughout the year, so save it to your bookmarks. If you have an event you’d like to see listed here, drop Stylist’s digital women’s editor Moya Crockett a line at moya.crockett@stylist.co.uk. 

ONGOING 

2018 marks the centenary of women’s suffrage, but there’s still a long way to go. 

Spirited (until 3 November)

This exhibition at Manchester’s beautiful Portico Library celebrates women from across the northwest of England who fought for the vote in their teens and 20s. The aim? To encourage young visitors to think about ways they might take their first steps to empower girls and young women. 

Alongside the exhibiton, there are also talks from modern campaigners including Helen Pankhurst, Nimco Ali, Ruth Ibegbuna and more.

Manchester / Free / More information here

Women in Print exhibition at Dunham Massey (until 4 November)

Former Stylist Woman of the Week Jane Bowyer found the Women in Print project to raise awareness of overlooked women from the north of England – as well as raise the profile of female artists and designers working today. Head to Dunham Massey, a beautiful Georgian National Trust house, to see some of their prints on display.

Cheshire / Free with admission / More information here

The Gift of Time (until 5 November)

Often referred to as the ‘army Hitler forgot’, the Royal Voluntary Service was originally founded as the Women’s Voluntary Services in 1938, as over a million women volunteered to support the home front during World War Two. This pop-up exhibition celebrates the efforts of those women, whose tireless bravery was central to winning the war.

London / Free / More information here

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Frida Kahlo’s The Two Fridas (1939)

Visible Women (until 11 November)

We’re not just including this because it has the same name as Stylist’s campaign, we promise. This exhibition at Norwich Castle aims to reckon with - and tackle - women’s historic marginalisation in the art world. See work by artists from the early 20th century to the present day - including Maggi Hambling, Barbara Hepworth and Bridget Riley - exploring ideas of female identity as well as more abstract subjects.

Norwich / Free with admission / More information here

Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up (until 18 November)

This exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum sees Frida Kahlo’s clothes, jewellery, prosthetic limbs, cosmetics and other belongings on display in the UK for the first time – offering an entirely new perspective on the pioneering artist and proto-feminist icon.

It’s sold out, but a limited number of tickets are available to purchase daily at 10am from the V&A’s Grand Entrance on a first-come, first-served basis.

London / £15 / More information here

Spotlight on Asylum (until 21 November)

North London charitable organisation PramDepot provides baby clothes and equipment to more than 400 asylum-seeking mothers every year. Over the course of this two-month arts festival, there’ll be choir performances, film screenings, comedy nights, quizzes, food, spoken word poetry and an art auction - with contributors and guests including Tracy Emin, Anthony Gormley and Jeremy Corbyn. As well as raising money for PramDepot, the programme aims to raise awareness of the asylum process and how it impacts women and children.

London / Prices vary / More information here

Boxer Nicola Adams is one of the women honoured at the Leeds exhibition A Woman’s Place

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Virginia Woolf: An exhibition inspired by her writings (until 9 December)

This exhibition at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum explores the influence of Virginia Woolf’s work on modern and contemporary art. Using Woolf’s writing as a starting point, it explores “feminist perspectives on landscape, domesticity and identity”, featuring works by artists including Barbara Hepworth, Vanessa Bell and Penny Slinger.

Cambridge / Free / More information here

Women in Science (until 31 December)

According to recent research, teenage girls who get great results in STEM subjects at GCSE still don’t feel confident enough to pursue their studies to a higher level. If you know one such girl, take her to this exhibition celebrating female scientific pioneers from the 18th century to the present day - from Victorian colour photography pioneer Sarah Angelina Acland to Caroline Herschel, an astronomer who discovered six new comets.

Oxford / Free / More information here

A Woman’s Place? at Abbey House Museum (until 31 December)

This exhibition just outside of Leeds looks at the struggles and progress of women in achieving equality and recognition, featuring stories and objects from Leeds women such as suffragette Leonora Cohen and Olympic boxer Nicola Adams.

Leeds / Free with admission to Abbey House Museum / More information here

Mancunian suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst 

Votes for Women (until early 2019)

To celebrate the centenary of women’s enfranchisement, the Museum of London is hosting a display dedicated to the women who fought throughout the 50-year struggle for the vote.

Displaying items from the museum’s extensive suffrage collection, including the medal given to Emmeline Pankhurst following her hunger strikes, the exhibition includes costume, memorabilia and lesser-known information about the movement. There’s also a documentary telling the stories of some lesser-known suffragettes.

It’s free, but you’ll want to take some extra cash to spend in the gift shop, where you can buy blue plaque plates, suffragette coasters and other irresistible souvenirs.

London / Free / More information here.

Ladies of Qualities & Distinction (until 20 Jan 2019)

Discover the hidden stories of the women who helped establish and run London’s Foundling Hospital, where abandoned children were housed and educated from the mid-18th century to 1951. At this exhibition at the Foundling Museum, you’ll find portraits of remarkable - but long overlooked - women, from wet nurses to artists to staff and musicians.

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London / Free / More information here

Lucy Orta: Procession Banners (until 20 January 2019)

To mark the centenary of women’s suffrage, Birmingham-born artist Lucy Orta spent much of 2018 creating procession banners with female prisoners at HMP Downview. Why? Many prisoners were transferred to Downview after HMP Holloway - the notorious jail where suffragettes were imprisoned - closed its doors for the last time. The banners, which address subjects including the power of the vote and what it means to be a woman today, are now on display at Birmingham’s Medicine Bakery & Gallery.

Birmingham / Free, suggested donation £3 / More information here 

Represent! Voices 100 Years On Exhibiton (until February 2019)

Manchester is recognised as the birthplace of the suffragette movement, thanks to its status as the home of the Pankhurst family.

At this interactive exhibition at the People’s History Museum, campaigning material from present-day feminist groups including Repeal the 8th and Women’s March Manchester will be on display alongside suffragette banners, sashes and photographs from the early 20th century, as modern women share what representation means to them today.

Manchester / Free / More information here

NOVEMBER 

Friday 2 November

East End Suffragettes: The Photographs of Norah Smyth (until 9 February 2019)

Born in 1874, Norah Smyth was a photographer and suffragette. Once a dedicated member of the WSPU, even working Emmeline Pankhurst’s chauffeur, she eventually defected to Sylvia Pankhurst’s East London Federation of Suffragettes, which aligned more with her socialist values. This exhibition of Smyth’s remarkable photographs, taken more than 100 years ago, provides a remarkable insight into suffragette life.

London / Free / More information here

#Behind Every Great City

The Fawcett Society presents a talk exploring women who have helped to shape the City of London, chaired by Museum of London director Sharon Ament.

London / £5 / More information here

Friday 9 - Sunday 11 November

Stylist Live

Stylist’s annual festival of inspiration returns to Olympia London to bring you life lessons and insights from our favourite women. Expect talks and workshops covering everything from social media feminism to motherhood, negotiating a pay rise to body hair politics and everything in between.

London / From £15 / More information here

Friday 9 November 

Four Brown Girls Who Write book launch 

Roshni Goyate, Sharan Hunjan, Sunnah Khan, Sheena Patel are four brown girls who write, a poetry collective celebrating the voices of Asian women. Their first published book of poems will be launched on 9 November at Stour Space in East London in conjunction with Femzine, hosted by Yoniverse, a South Asian women’s collective and will feature live readings and performances. 

London / £5 / More information here 

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Turner Prize-winning artist Lubaina Himid’s work will be on display in Birmingham 

Saturday 10 November

Women Power Protest (until 31 March 2019)

Contemporary feminist artists who have explored protest, social commentary and identity in their work are showcased in this major exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. Works by big names such as Sam Taylor-Johnson, Lubaina Himid and Louise Bourgeois explore the progress that’s been made since women first won the vote, and the challenges still faced by women today.

Birmingham / Free / More information here

Monday 12 November

Activism, medicine and the fight for equality

Women were first included as doctors on Britain’s medical register in the 1860s. But in the early 20th century, the question of what it meant to be female and a doctor began to be examined in more urgent - and often ridiculous - ways. 

This evening at the Royal College of Physicians explores women’s fight to be taken seriously as medical professionals, and includes a tour of the acclaimed exhibition This vexed question: 500 years of women in medicine.

London / £8 / More information here

Monday 12 November, Tuesday 13 November and Wednesday 14 November 

To celebrate the launch of her bestselling book Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies), Scarlett Curtis has teamed up with Bumble on three in conversation events across the UK. The first is in Bristol on 12 November, then London on 13 November and finally Edinburgh on 14 November. Tickets are free, but in order to secure your place you have to match with Scarlett on the dating app (follow the instructions here). You can expect a discussion about the most rabble-rousing elements of her feminist manifesto, which includes essays from celebrities including Keira Knightley, Saiorse Ronan and Gemma Arterton. 

Bristol, London, Edinburgh / Free / More information here  

Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 November

Club Classics: The Lips Remix

London’s biggest non-auditioning choir for women, trans and non-binary folk, Lips have performed everywhere from Bestival to the Royal Albert Hall. These special performances of club anthems will feature a six-piece all-female live band and special guests including beatboxing champion Grace Savage, and a portion of proceeds will go to WAST (Women Asylum Seekers Together).

London / From £8 / More information here

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Friday 16 November

The Campaign

November 2018 marks 100 years since women were first able to stand as MPs in the UK. This improvised theatre performance will see two female political candidates go head-to-head in a political debate on “the issues that matter”, inspired by audience suggestions and polls.

London / £5 / More information here

Sunday 18 November 

Can I touch it? 

The Bechdel Test Fest has teamed up with Underwire Film Festival to showcase a series of film shorts, all directed by women of colour, exploring their relationship with their hair. 

The evening will also include a poetry performance from film director Aisha Sanyang Meek and an open discussion with author of forthcoming book Don’t Touch My Hair Emma Dabiri, along with Exotique director Soraya Milla. 

London / £10.95 / More information here

Saturday 24 November 

Reclaim The Night March 

25 November is the United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, a day for advocacy to end domestic and intimate partner violence, rape and abuse of women around the world. Since 1977 women across the UK have marked this day with Reclaim the Night marches, proclaiming their right to walk through city streets on their own, no matter the time of day, and feel safe from the threat of assault. This year, a march will take place on November on 24 November, gathering at 4PM before commencing the march at 4:30PM. 

Newcastle / Free / More information here 

Tuesday 27 November

Womxn In Tech masterclass

If you are (or someone you know is) aged 18-25 and interested in pursuing a career in tech, mark this inclusive, confidence-building panel at London’s Roundhouse in your diary. Industry professionals working in the fields of tech, coding, music and broadcasting will be on hand to provide advice on everything from networking to tech problems.

London / £5 / More information here

DECEMBER 

Saturday 1 December 

Premiere of Women: A Success Story 

After its successful first screening at the Barbican’s Battle of Ideas Festival, the documentary Women: A Success Story premieres in London. The documentary charts 100 years of women in the UK and the advances made over the past century. The documentary will be followed by a Q&A with Ceri Dingle, the director of the film, and author Joanna Williams.

London / £11.37 / More information here

Saturday 1 December, Thursday 6 December, Friday 7 December 

Reclaim the Night Marches around the UK 

Marches to proclaim the freedom of women to walk through their cities without fear of sexual assault or rape continue around the country from Saturday 1 December, starting in Exeter and moving to Ipswich and then Perth

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Exeter, Ipswich, Perth / Free / More information for Exeter, Ipswich and Perth. 

Monday 3 December

Becoming: An evening with Michelle Obama

To celebrate the release of her much-anticipated memoir Becoming, Michelle Obama will appear in a frank and engaging conversation with author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie exclusively at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. Tickets start at £30, £65, £90 and £125 and include a copy of her book (RRP £25.00). From her childhood in Chicago to her career as a lawyer, motherhood and her life with her husband, former American President Barack Obama, this will be the only opportunity for Brits to see Michelle live in conversation. Ticket sales will open to Southbank Centre members on 7 November and to the general public on 8 November. 

London / Tickets from £30 / More information here

Friday 14 December

Unveiling of Emmeline Pankhurst statue

The eagerly-awaited bronze sculpture of Emmeline Pankhurst is set to be unveiled in Manchester’s St Peter’s Square today. Designed by sculptor Hazel Reeves, the statue will show Pankhurst standing on a chair as if addressing a crowd, with one arm outstretched; she will face towards the Free Trade Hall, a venue for radical suffragette activism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Manchester / Free / More information here.  

Throughout 2018, Stylist is raising the profiles of brilliant women past and present – and empowering future generations to follow their lead – with our Visible Women campaign. See more from Visible Women here.  

Images: iStock / Rex Features / Getty Images

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Moya Crockett

Moya Crockett

Moya is Women’s Editor at stylist.co.uk, where she is currently overseeing the Visible Women campaign. As well as writing about inspiring women and feminism, she also covers subjects including careers, podcasts and politics. Carrying a tiny bottle of hot sauce on her person at all times is one of the many traits she shares with both Beyoncé and Hillary Clinton.

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