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Suffragette 100: Join thousands of ladies in a celebratory procession across London which will be a ‘landmark moment in women’s history’

PUBLISHED: 10:30 03 May 2018

Procession of the religious leauges for Women's suffrage, c.1914 Picture: LSE Library

Procession of the religious leauges for Women's suffrage, c.1914 Picture: LSE Library

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Whether you grab your girls or your granny, call the troops together and join tens of thousands of other women celebrating how far women have come in the past 100 years.

Suffragettes demonstrating at a by-election. Picture: LSE LibrarySuffragettes demonstrating at a by-election. Picture: LSE Library

As a tribute to the suffragette movement and women getting the vote, the charity Artichoke is holding a “living artwork” procession through London.

Women, girls, and those who identify as women will create a modern day portrait of females today and celebrate the work of brilliant ladies who have gone before us.

Participants will be given green, white or violet to wear in tribute to the suffragette movement, and the charity said the women will appear as “a vast river of colour flowing through the city streets”.

At the same time as the London procession, on Sunday, June 10, marches are being held in Belfast, Cardiff, and Edinburgh, bringing women together across the country.

Votes for women at 21 demonstration in 1927. Picture: LSE LibraryVotes for women at 21 demonstration in 1927. Picture: LSE Library

At the core of each procession will be specially created banners,echoing those carried by suffrage campaigners.

Artichoke is holding creative banner-making workshops in the lead up to the march but participants can also make placards at home using a specially made toolkit which takes inspiration from a 1909 pamphlet by suffragette artist Mary Lowndes.

Helen Marriage, Artichoke CEO, said: “Processions is an invitation to women and girls across the country to become part of a vast artwork that will celebrate what was achieved 100 years ago, and asks what that means to women today.

“Individuals and groups up and down the country will be at the heart of processions, and the response already from organisations, artists and communities wanting to work with us has been overwhelming.

Making banners for a women's Social and Political (WSPU) rally in 1910. Picture: LSE LibraryMaking banners for a women's Social and Political (WSPU) rally in 1910. Picture: LSE Library

“The banners they make and bring to their chosen procession will form part of a unique living portrait of women today.”

The charity also said that 100 female artists have been commissioned to create 100 unique banners for the event.

These creatives will hold workshops with community groups to make art pieces reflecting the hopes and concerns of women.

“The workshops aim to reach a diverse body of women stretching across all ages, backgrounds, beliefs, geographies and sexualities, with the resulting banners providing a snapshot of women’s experiences today,” an Artichoke spokeswoman said.

Women's coronation procession on June, 17 1911. Charlotte Despard in front with Women's Freedom Leauge banned behind. Picture: LSE LibraryWomen's coronation procession on June, 17 1911. Charlotte Despard in front with Women's Freedom Leauge banned behind. Picture: LSE Library

Rudy Loewe is a visual artist who has been commissioned to work on the procession project with the charity Womankind Worldwide.

She is excited to be involved with the event and said it will be a good opportunity to air messages that can be overlooked.

“Women’s histories, and especially those that intersect with other identities such as race and class, are often underrepresented,” she said.

“So, I think that this is important because it creates a platform to highlight these narratives and share them across generations.

Procession of the religious leauges for Women's suffrage, c.1914 Picture: LSE LibraryProcession of the religious leauges for Women's suffrage, c.1914 Picture: LSE Library

“Using creativity as a gateway into history can be exciting and playful as well as informative, so I think it is a great initiative.”

Other artists chosen for the project were selected for their significant contribution to the lives of other women.

Collaborations include art work made by receptionists, nurses, cleaners and surgeons from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, a banner made by women in the criminal justice system, and victims of domestic abuse.

A piece will also be made by women seeking refuge or asylum.

Making banners for a women's Social and Political (WSPU) rally in 1910. Picture: LSE LibraryMaking banners for a women's Social and Political (WSPU) rally in 1910. Picture: LSE Library

Jenny Waldman, director of 14-18 NOW, who is helping with the event, said: “The actions of women 100 years ago have paved the way for women today, but there is still work to be done.

“I would like to thank the artists who are contributing to this vast and powerful artwork and are exploring what it means to be a woman in the UK today, our successes, and the challenges we still face.

“We are delighted to mark this landmark moment in women’s history.”

The project is supported by the National Lottery, Arts Council England, and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The route and meeting point will be revealed at a later date.

To sign up to the march visit processions.co.uk.

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