Get your diaries out, because the offering of feminist events for 2019 is bigger and better than ever.
By all accounts, 2018 – dubbed “the year of the woman” – was action-packed in terms of major feminist moments. In the UK, we saw the 100th anniversary of (some) women’s enfranchisement, as well as the centenary of women being able to stand for parliament.
But while there might not be any major women’s history anniversaries in 2019, that doesn’t mean we should get complacent. This year is packed with ways to celebrate the sisterhood, from protests to panel discussions, exhibitions, art classes and theatre.
Below, we’ve compiled a handy UK-wide calendar of feminist events for 2019 – so join us and mark these dates in your diary.
We’ll be updating this page throughout the year, so save it to your bookmarks!
UK feminist events on now
Making Her Mark (until 14 April 2019)
Historically, women were excluded from commercial printmaking, which was only open to male apprentices. In the 19th and 20th centuries, however, many female artists turned to wood-engraving, lithography, etching and lino printing, with beautiful results. Learn more about how women shaped the world of printmaking at this exhibition at Belfast’s Ulster Museum.
Event in Belfast, free. More information about the Making Her Mark exhibition here
209 Women Exhibition (until 14 April 2019)
There are currently 209 women in the House of Commons. Although we’re still a way off reaching gender parity, this does mark the highest female representation there has ever been in UK politics.
To celebrate 100 years since some women gained the right to vote, and to champion the visibility of women, particularly in male-dominated environments, photographer Hilary Wood has created the 209 Women project.
The exhibition – 209 portraits of our female MPs, all shot by female photographers – can be seen at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery following a run in London.
Event in Liverpool, free. More information about the 209 Women exhibition here
Richard II (until 21 April 2019)
Expect the unexpected at this radical retelling of Richard II at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. Directed by theatre titans Adjoa Andoh and Lynette Linton, it sees the story of the impulsive king reframed as an analysis of the British Empire. And in a first for a performance of Shakespeare in the UK, every single person involved in the production – from the leading actors to the sound engineers – is a woman of colour. Don’t miss.
Event in London, tickets from £10. Buy tickets for Richard II at Shakespeare’s Globe here
Emilia (until 15 June 2019)
Emilia Bassano is believed to be the “Dark Lady” who inspired nearly 30 of Shakespeare’s sonnets. However, she was also England’s first female published poet – a fact that often gets overlooked. With an all-female cast, Emilia – which has transferred to the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End following a run at Shakespeare’s Globe – explores the true story of Bassano, giving her the credit she has long deserved.
Event in London, tickets from £20. Buy tickets for Emilia at the Vaudeville Theatre here
100% Women at Richard Saltoun Gallery (until February 2020)
From March 2019, London’s Richard Saltoun Gallery is dedicating 100% of its programme to women. This 12-month programme is part of the gallery’s commitment to supporting under-recognised and underrepresented female artists, and aims to protest gender inequality in the art world.
The programme kicks off with the gallery’s first solo exhibition of work by British artist Rose English, an integral figure in the development of performance art in Britain. Shows by artists including Seventies avant-garde feminist Lili Dujourie and gender-defying Austrian photographer Renate Bertlmann will open later in 2019.
Event in London, free. More information about 100% Women at Richard Saltoun Gallery here
Feminist events in April 2019
BGF x Becoming Festival (9-11 April 2019)
Nicole Crentsil and Stylist contributor Paula Akpan, aka the geniuses behind the annual Black Girl Fest, have teamed up with Penguin books for a three-day celebration of Michelle Obama’s memoir Becoming. In honour of Obama returning to London as part of her global book tour, BGF x Becoming Festival will feature talks from speakers including Diane Abbott MP, as well as workshops on subjects such as creative writing and black British feminism.
Event in London, free. More information about BGF x Becoming Festival here
Bloody Good Period Party (12 April 2019)
Do something bloody good with your Friday night. Honey Feminist Collective is hosting a night of art, workshops, talks, poetry and live music to raise money for Bloody Good Period, a grassroots anti-period poverty organisation that provides sanitary products for asylum seekers and refugees. Cornish feminists, assemble!
Event in Penryn, Cornwall, tickets from £4. Buy tickets for the Bloody Good Period Party here
Casual Chronicles presents The London Project (12-14 April 2019)
Artist Emma George moved to London nearly five years ago to pursue a business career. Once she arrived, she found she couldn’t stop sketching people she saw on the street – and these doodles eventually turned into ongoing art series the Casual Chronicles. A portion of the proceeds from The London Project, George’s first solo exhibition, will go to Smart Works – a charity that provides unemployed women with interview training and a professional wardrobe.
Event in London, free. More information about Casual Chronicles presents The London Project exhibition here
Rafiki screening + Q&A (14 April 2019)
Wanuri Kahiu’s film Rafiki made waves last year when it was banned in Kenya for depicting a lesbian love story. It subsequently became the first Kenyan film ever to be selected for the Cannes Film Festival - and now, it is having a special showing at Home Manchester, as part of the venue’s Celebrating Women in Global Cinema season. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Kahiu herself.
Also being screened on 14 April is Cheryl Dunye’s 1996 rom-com The Watermelon Woman, the first feature film directed by a black lesbian. Both Rafiki and The Watermelon Woman will also be shown at other dates later in April.
Event in Manchester, tickets from £9.50. Buy tickets for Rafiki screening at Home Manchester here
Creative Writing for Black Women & Women of Colour (25 April 2019)
Are you a woman of colour who’s interested in creative writing? Head along to this special taster session in Shoreditch, where you’ll be given the chance to try out a range of genres and techniques, meet likeminded women and share you work (if you want to). The agenda promises “food, laughter and lots of writing” – sounds good to us.
Event in London, tickets from £5. Buy tickets for Creative Writing for Black Women & Women of Colour workshop here
Brave with Rose McGowan Book Tour (26 April-5 May 2019)
One of the first people to speak out publicly against Harvey Weinstein, Rose McGowan has also been a courageous voice within the #MeToo movement. Now, the actor and activist is bringing her memoir Brave to the UK. During this book tour, she will be interviewed live on stage about her mission to expose the entertainment industry’s endemic inequality and injustice.
The tour kicks off at the Storyhouse Theatre in Chester on 26 April before going to the National Concert Hall Dublin on 27 April and Southbank London on 4 May. It culminates at the Lowry in Salford Quays on 5 May.
Event in Chester, tickets from £17. Buy tickets to Brave with Rose McGowan event in Chester here
‘Why Fashion Is A Feminist Issue’ Panel Discussion (26 April)
Four Brighton-based ethical fashion experts will be discussing the feminist case for sustainable style at this pop-up event. Speakers will include Vivenie Mugunga, managing director of the Rwandan Youth Information Community Organisation and social enterprise African Sewing Club, and Christine Gent, fair trade expert for the World Fair Trade Organisation and chair of the board of the People Tree Group.
The ticket cost includes a donation to the non-profit organisation Labour Behind The Label, which campaigns for fairer working conditions in the global garment industry.
Event in Brighton, tickets £5. Buy tickets for ‘Why Fashion Is A Feminist Issue’ Panel Discussion here
I’ll Say It Again! (30 April-1 June 2019)
I’ll Say It Again is an annual festival of female artists at London’s Tara Theatre. Women’s voices in theatre, music, comedy and dance will be celebrated across 21 events, including Nyla Levy’s witty play Does My Bomb Look Big In This? (30 April-4 May), inspired by the Bethnal Green schoolgirls who left London to join ISIS in 2016.
Others highlights include Rosa Torr’s play Bump, about a young woman confronting her choices in an abortion clinic (27-29 May) and Diana Dors: Her Story (14-15 May), in which Mandy Winters explores the truth about the legendary British ‘blonde bombshell’.
Event in London, ticket prices vary. Buy tickets for I’ll Say It Again festival at Tara Theatre here
Words: Moya Crockett, Rachel Brown, Sarah Shaffi.
Images: iStock / Ingrid Pollard / Rex Features / Getty Images / Krystal Neuvill