Visible Women

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

Posted by
Moya Crockett
Published

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.

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 

From Petitions to Prime Ministers: Guided Tours of the Houses of Parliament (until 1 September)

Join a ‘Blue Badge’ guided tour and discover the history of women in Parliament. The tour traces the long journey towards equality, from the early days of petitioning for women’s suffrage to the UK’s first two female Prime Ministers and the prominent role of women in Parliament today.

Follow in the footsteps of suffragettes, suffragists and other campaigners and stand in places that figured significantly in the struggle for the vote - from the Commons Chamber to St Stephen’s Hall and Central Lobby.

London / From £21 / More information here.

Virginia Woolf: An exhibition inspired by her writings (until 16 September)

This exhibition 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.

Chichester / Free / More information here

Olive Edis: A Life in Focus / The Road to Ypres (until 23 September)

In 1919, Olive Edis became Britain’s first official war photographer, taking pictures of British female medical workers in France and Belgium. Over the course of a career spanning more than 50 years, she photographed everyone from royalty to politicians and travelled across Europe, the Middle East and the Far East with her camera. This exhibition at Sheringham Museum celebrates her barrier-breaking and adventurous life.

Norfolk / Free with museum entry / More information here

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

Voice and Vote: Women’s Place in Parliament Exhibition in Westminster Hall (until 6 October)

This interactive exhibition uses technology to recreate several archaic, lost spaces that maintained space between men and women in the Houses of Parliament before women won the vote.

These include the ‘Ventilator’, a structure that allowed women to listen into debates in the House of Commons via a gallery, and the ‘Cage’ - a later iteration of the gallery featuring a brass grille, which prevented female onlookers being seen by male MPs.

London / Free / More information here.

Herstory: A Girl Power Tour of London (until 14 October)

People of all genders and ages are welcome on this guided walking tour of London’s feminist history, which starts at the Millicent Garrett Fawcett statue in Parliament Square and takes in everyone from the suffragettes to the women who built Waterloo Bridge (long nicknamed the “ladies’ bridge”). It’s completely access-friendly and 100% of profits go to Child.org – a charity that helps women through pregnancy and new motherhood and teaches young girls about their bodies in Kenya and Sierra Leone.

London / £15 / More information here

A Woman’s Place: Ambleside’s Feminist Legacy (until 26 October)

This exhibition at Armitt Museum in Cumbria celebrates the pioneering women who lived in the local area in times gone by - from journalist Harriet Martineau, often described as the first female sociologist, to the author and conservationist Beatrix Potter.

Cumbria / Free / More information here.  

Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up (until 4 November)

This exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum will see 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.

London / £15 / More information here.

Frida Kahlo’s The Two Fridas (1939)

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.

Visible Women (until 11 November)

We’re not just including this because it has the same name as Stylists 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.

Women in Science (until 31 December)

According to new 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.

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

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.

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

SEPTEMBER

Sunday 2 September

Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon to Highlight Women Composers

In 2018, just 17% of Wikipedia entries are about women. Communal edit-a-thons are growing in popularity as a way of addressing this gender disparity, allowing people to get together and write Wiki biographies in a fun, supportive environment. If you’re interested in women’s representation in music, bring your laptop along to London’s Royal Festival Hall to create Wikipedia entries about overlooked female composers.

London / Free but registering essential / More information here.

Monday 3 September

Sylvia (until 22 September)

This hotly-anticipated musical at the Old Vic will tell the story of leading suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst through dance, hip hop, soul and funk. West End star Genesis Lynea (Jesus Christ Superstar, The Bodyguard, Bend it Like Beckham) will take on the role of Sylvia, with Beverly Knight playing her mother Emmeline and Witney White as her sister Christabel.

The musical has been co-written by director and choreographer Kate Prince, who says she believes Sylvia “hugely contributed to women getting the vote, just as much, if not more than, her mother… Ultimately we are telling the story of the price each of the Pankhurst family paid for their political purpose.”

London / From £8.50 / More information here.

Thursday 6 September

Museum Late: ‘And so she did’

If you’re based in Hertfordshire, come along to this after-hours opening of the St Albans Museum for a special event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act. There’ll be suffrajitsu performances, a talk about the suffragettes and their connections to the local area, a performance by comedian Iszi Lawrence about overlooked women in history and a protest placard-making session.

St Albans / £8 / More information here

Friday 7 September

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

Saturday 8 September

Women’s Forum: Past, Present and Future

This day-long event at the London Metropolitan Archives will highlight inspiring and overlooked women from history and see discussions about women’s future roles in society. Featuring a panel session and Q&A about the importance of women’s history and a workshop with the Vagina Museum.

London / £10 / More information here

Wednesday 12 September

Thank a Feminist

“What have the Romans ever done for us?” That famous Monty Python line will be given a timely twist at this talk, hosted by Feminist Archive North, which looks back at everything feminists have achieved in the last century. 

Leeds / £5 / More information here

Thursday 13 September

Women Leading the Way

A panel discussion on women in business in 2018, hosted by The Fawcett Society. The conversation will be led by Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), and Ann Francke, CEO of the Chartered Management Institute and author of the Financial Times Guide to Management: How to Make a Difference and Get Results.

London / £5 / More information here.

Radical Late: Women and Power

Like the sound of an evening of conversation and craft centred on women and power? Come along to this event at the People’s History Museum in Manchester, run in collaboration with Women in Print and Dunham Massey. Expect an experimental sewing workshop, a film screening and talks from Women in Print and National Trust volunteers.

Manchester / Pay as you feel / More information here.

Saturday 15 September

Suffrage in the City

Celebrate Manchester’s suffragette history and 100 years of votes for (some) women at this event at Sadler’s Yard. Mikron Theatre Company will be performing their satirical, musical show about Sylvia Pankhurst, Revolting Women. You’ll also be able to visit workshop and gallery space Plant to see items from the National Co-Operative Archive relating to women’s organisations.

Manchester / Free / More information here.

Wednesday 19 September

The Feminist Book Society: We can be heroes… can’t we?

Publishing directors Eleanor Dryden and Katy Loftus launched The Feminist Book Society in June, and have been hosting a monthly book club at Waterstone’s on Tottenham Court Road in London ever since. At this event, they’ll be joined by historian Lucy Worsley and novelists Asia Mackay (Killing It) and Sharlene Teo (Ponti) to discuss the role of the female heroine in fiction and real life.

London / £5 / More information here.

Friday 21 September

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.

London / Free / More information here

Carrie Gracie will be honoured in classical music concert ‘City of Women’ 

Saturday 22 and Sunday 22 September

City of Women

At this classical concert, songs, sounds and women’s own words are used to celebrate and explore women’s achievements throughout history. The choir of the City of London School for Girls and soloists will perform five new compositions that feature excerpts from Emmeline Pankhurst’s 1913 speech ‘Freedom or Death’ and the suffragette anthem ‘The March of the Women’ and pay tribute to modern-day campaigners such as Carrie Gracie.

London / Free / More information here

Wednesday 26 September

Gender’s a Drag

As gender roles continue to be challenged and redefined, drag kings (women performing as traditionally masculine characters) are playing an ever-more prominent role in London’s theatres and clubs. Drag king group The Bareback Kings (above) will lead this evening of improvised drag on a mission to discover the ‘King of Kings’.

London / £5 / More information here

V20 London Rising

Celebrate Eve Ensler’s revolutionary play The Vagina Monologues at this special event at London’s Café de Paris, hosted in collaboration with One Billing Rising - the movement founded by Ensler to end rape and sexual violence against women - and V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls. The event is described as a fusion of “music, theatre, dance, poetry, movement and film in an exciting night of creatively subversive, beautiful, sensual, provocative and powerful performance art celebrating women”. Sounds good.

London / £36 / More information here

Friday 28 September

British-Barbadian Nursing Revolution (until 31 October)

In the aftermath of World War Two, around 40,000 nurses and midwives from Commonwealth countries came to Britain to help build the National Health Service. This photography exhibition celebrates the many nurses who came from Barbados, featuring stories of women who went on to become leaders in global health as well as those unsung heroes who kept the NHS going in its early stages.

London / Free / More information here. 

Sunday 30 September

Dear Damsels writing workshop + brunch

Want to try your hand at writing in a friendly, supportive environment (and eat delicious food)? Come along to this workshop hosted by women’s writing collective Dear Damsels in collaboration with female-run supper club Pots & Pals. The price of the ticket includes a three-course brunch, cocktail and writing workshop run by and for women.

London / £35 / More information here

OCTOBER

Tuesday 2 October

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

The exhibition previously seen at Chichester’s Pallant House Gallery transfers to Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum.

Cambridge / Free / More information here

Friday 5 October

Cheltenham Literature Festival (until 14 October)

Cheltenham is one of the UK’s biggest annual literary events, and there are some unmissable panel discussions and lectures on feminism and women’s history at this year’s festival. Our picks? A dialogue about feminism and Islam between Sherin Khankan (the founder of Europe’s first mosque for women) and ex-Muslim Aliyah Saleem (author of Leaving Faith Behind), a Mary Beard lecture on the cultural underpinnings of misogyny, and a discussion hosted by Everyday Sexism’s Laura Bates about where the #MeToo movement goes next.

Cheltenham / Prices vary / More information here

Sunday 7 October

Listen to the Women! Walking Tour (also 16 October)

Explore Manchester’s literary history through the eyes of the city’s most accomplished women writers on this guided walking tour, celebrating everyone from Jeanette Winterson and Carol Ann Duffy to Frances Hodgson Burnett and Elizabeth Gaskell. Part of the Manchester Literary Festival.

Manchester / £10 / More information here

Monday 8 October

Wiki Edit-A-Thon: Women and Diversity in Science

Former Stylist Woman of the Week Dr Jess Wade will lead this Wikipedia edit-a-thon at Digital Science in King’s Cross, to help increase the representation of women scientists on the world’s biggest online encyclopedia.

London / Free but registering essential / More information here.

Mancunian suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst 

Tuesday 9 October

Wiki Edit-a-Thon at the Pankhurst Centre

Bring your laptop along to the Pankhurst Centre - the former home of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst - and get stuck into updating Wikipedia entries on subjects related to women and diversity in science, technology, art, business and more.

Manchester / Free but registering essential / More information here.

Suffragette City Walking Tour (also 21 October)

The women of Manchester were at the forefront in the fight for women’s suffrage. Discover their stories on this guided tour, part of Manchester Literary Festival.

Manchester / £10 / More information here.

Women in Mathematics

Join Professor June Barrow-Green, professor of history of mathematics at the Open University, to learn about the achievements and struggles of women mathematicians throughout history - from Hypatia to Ada Lovelace.

London / Free / More information here.

Saturday 20 October

Processions in the City

Whether you attended or missed Processions, the mass art event that saw thousands of women pour through London’s streets dressed in suffragette colours in June, you might want to come along to this follow-up celebration in Aldgate Square. This day-long event will celebrate the dual centenaries of the first British women getting the vote and being able to stand in national elections.

London / Free / More information here.

Saturday 27 October

Black Girl Festival 2018

Now in its second year, Black Girl Festival is the UK’s first festival celebrating and exploring what it means to be a black woman in the UK today. Come along for talks, workshops and masterclasses touching on areas from media to health, literature to sport, as well as a marketplace, food market, exhibitions, live performances, screenings and more. Tickets are selling out fast, so be quick!

London / From £10 / More information here

NOVEMBER 

Friday 2 November

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’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 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

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 

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 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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