Youngsters put modern twist on historical women’s rights event

Frances Nutt, artistic director at Tandem Theatre, Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor June Hitchen, and young people from Us Girls Youth Group

From placards and protests to social media and selfies, young people from across all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester came together for the first time to put their own modern-day twist on an historical women’s rights event.

The event at Manchester Central Library, which recreated the Women’s Bazaar of 1912, mirrored how it would have looked and felt more than 100 years ago with art displays of posters, placards and marketing materials, performances including dance and poetry, and a debate on education.

The groups of young people from across the 10 boroughs also each created a jigsaw piece to represent their area, and put them together at this event to show how change can be made and campaigns can be successful when people work in unity.

They showed off their new skills to become campaigners of the future in front of the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor June Hitchen.

She said: “As a woman from a proud working-class family, who was born and raised in Manchester, and still living on a council estate, I am passionate about young people being supported to raise their aspirations and reach their full potential.

“This event and the work that has been done before the event is doing just that.

“Although, many improvements have been made, it is just as important today to campaign for women’s rights, as it was for women in history, who created a path for us to follow.

“I hope this is just a start for these young people on their journeys to become active, vocal and successful citizens of Manchester.”

This event was part of the Game Changers project, which has been made possible with a grant from Heritage Lottery Fund, to explore the suffragists movement – helping the youngsters learn about the peaceful methods they used to campaign – unlike the more militant and more famous suffragettes.

Frances Nutt, artistic director at Tandem Theatre, which is running the project, said: “The young people who have taken part in this project have been amazing.

“A lot of them have never left their own boroughs before this event or engaged with the arts and history.

“So, for them to get to this point and understand why it is important to stand up for themselves and engage in campaigns that they believe in is an outstanding achievement.

“We wanted this project to highlight the lesser known suffragists, who used law abiding methods to campaign, to be an inspiration to these young people today.

“We are really proud of them all – and are looking forward to seeing more of their campaigns in the future.”