9am -12.30pm, Monday 7 March 2016
Islington Assembly Hall, Upper Street, London N1 2UD
International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Women aged 14+ from all backgrounds were invited to join us to celebrate in Islington, with this special creative event featuring inspiring talks and poetry performances, creative workshops and an exhibition of photography and poetry.
Exploring shared experiences and serious issues that local women have faced, from motherhood to immigration, disability to FGM, this event formed the culmination of Dispensing Wisdom an extraordinary arts and heritage project co-produced and created with young women aged 15-25 and local older women, working with All Change, Manor Gardens and Islington Museum.
Amazing talks were given by women from Manor Gardens, Islington Museum, Islington Council and our very own Abira Hussein from All Change covering topics such as local heritage and archives, health and well being and careers.
Poetry performances from women of all generations including Inspire! young parents, older women from Alsen Day Centre and Hilldrop Community Centre, and spoken word artist Miss Jacqui sharing their words of wisdom.
Creative workshops led by photographer Marysa Dowling and costume and set designer Mila Sanders. The workshops included each participant writing on a piece of ribbon what they would like the experience of women to be in the next 100 years. These were gathered and formed an art installation at Islington Museum.
This event launched the new The Dispensary publication, which tells the story of the project, created by young women working with author Sarah Butler and illustrator Rebecca Hurst. It includes stories collected, archive photos and new writing and photography work created by young women. Everyone who attends the event received a free copy.
Inspired by the ‘School for Mothers’ at Manor Gardens founded in 1913, Dispensing Wisdom explored the changing story of healthcare for women over the past 100 years. Through Oral History interviews with older women from Hilldrop Community Centre, Alsen Day Centre, Islington Turkish, Cypriot and Kurdish Women’s Welfare Group, and Islington Somali Elderly Group; visits to the amazing archive collections at Manor Gardens, Islington Museum, The Foundling Museum and London Metropolitan Archives; and workshops with professional artists Kat Francois, Marysa Dowling and Mila Sanders – young women gathered and interpreted stories of changing experiences to share with the wider community. An extraordinary immersive performance and exhibition event took place in Summer 2015.