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Woman’s Hour

May 18th, 2010 by admin

Yesterday afternoon The Women’s Library was visited by the lovely Jane Garvey from Woman’s Hour to record a feature on our recent exhibitions, Out of the Archives and FeMAIL, which aired this morning.

Out of the Archives artists Helen Cammock and Hester Reeve and curator Anna Colin chatted to Jane about what inspired them in The Women’s Library archive and how all the artists created their final pieces.

You can listen to the whole show for the next week here on the BBC iPlayer. The piece on The Women’s Library starts about twelve minutes in.

And for those of you interested in the objects that Hester and Helen elected to put in their Museum of Women here they are:

This WSPU apron fascinated and intrigued Olivia and Hester, who described it as an interesting counterpoint to all the violence that took place during the campaign.

This letter provoked a strong emotional and artistic response in the artist Helen Cammock, who has created a film based on the letters of female emigrants to South Africa from 1860 to 1890.

For more information, click here to visit the Woman’s Hour website.

2 Responses to “Woman’s Hour”

  1. Gill Cawley says:

    I heard the Women’s Hour piece, and found myself wanting to donate a small item to the Library. It is a pair of slippers and the story of how I acquired them mark my epiphany as a feminist and my passion for justice. They do not represent any significant political or historical movement, just unimportant people – the woman who wore them, the schoolgirl and the teacher – deeply affected by the customs and beliefs of their times.

    The story is this:

    When I was nine, in 1957, I came top in the class exam at my primary school. The teacher told us that a missionary had visited the school in the 1930s and given some items of interest from China. These had been in a cupboard for a long time, so she had decided to give them to the three children who had done best in the exams.

    The best item was a beautiful model boat. I knew that as I had come top, I would get first choice, and I wanted that boat. But the teacher called out the boy who had come second, and of course he chose the boat. I protested, but she told me that he got first choice because he was a boy.

    I got second choice. The next best item was this pair of embroidered silk slippers which had been worn by a woman with bound feet.

    At the time I was only aware of the injustice that being the best wasn’t good enough if you were a girl. The irony only struck me later. I have never forgotten the lesson.

    May I send you the slippers, or are they not the sort of thing you could house? If not, do you know of another institution who would appreciate them and their story?

    regards, Gill Cawley.

  2. Gail Cameron says:

    Hi Gill

    Thanks for your comment and I’m pleased that the Woman’s Hour piece was a trigger for you to think about stories connected with your own objects.

    Also many thanks for the offer of your childhood slippers; we’ll contact you directly to discuss their possible donation to the Library.

    Best wishes

    Gail Cameron
    Curator
    The Women’s Library

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