The best banners and most moving moments from Processions, the UK-wide celebration of the first British women getting the vote.
They came in their thousands, in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London: women, girls and non-binary individuals of all ages and backgrounds, dressed in the suffragette colours of purple, green and white, creating a ‘moving flag’ that rippled through the streets. Collectively, the parades were titled Processions, and they were intended as a celebration of 100 years of partial women’s suffrage – as well as a physical representation of what it means to identify as a woman in 2018.
Rather than carrying the cardboard signs of a modern political protest, the women held up cloth banners adorned with fabric letters, ribbon streamers and sequin edging. This was a tribute to the banners embroidered by the suffragettes, and a nod to the role textile art has played in the feminist movement since the Seventies.
There were signs honouring disabled women, refugee women, trans women, women with mental health issues, single mothers and survivors of domestic violence. There were banners representing organisations ranging from Clean Break – a theatre company that works with women in prison – to the Glasgow Women’s Library, Girlguiding and Southall Black Sisters. At a time when feminism can sometimes feel splintered, it was poignant to see such a dazzlingly broad range of groups moving in the same direction.
We’re at #PROCESSIONS2018 in London, a celebration of 100 years of votes for women and a call to arms for all we still have to achieve. Here are some of the brilliant banners we’ve seen so far - we’ll be posting live updates throughout the day! pic.twitter.com/FesAiAYABR— Stylist Magazine (@StylistMagazine) June 10, 2018
The events were produced by public arts company Artichoke, whose CEO Helen Marriage is a former Stylist Woman of the Week. “I’d like to pay tribute to our commissioners 14-18 Now and the many other supporters who have made this historic event possible,” said Marriage in a statement.
“Most especially, I salute the thousands of women who have embraced the idea of Processions and, following in the footsteps of their suffragette and suffragist ancestors, created an unforgettable image commemorating 100 years of women voting in a joyful, inclusive occupation of our city streets.”
Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite moments from Processions around the UK. We’ll keep updating this article as more photos come in, so do check back.
Our amazing banner by our Support Group w/@Atlassya we wanted to focus on Sophia Singh to remember all BME suffragettes who sacrificed so much for us to ensure #VotesForWomen Shout out https://t.co/s0XRnLWCLe for allowing us the use of this image #ProcessionsLDN #Processions2018 pic.twitter.com/BZkhgO0Qe4— SouthallBlackSisters (@SBSisters) June 10, 2018
Processions was a mass participation artwork produced by Artichoke and commissioned by 14-18 NOW.
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: Getty Images