A new National Lottery Heritage Funded project for Accrington has received the go-ahead and this time it’s an often-overlooked generation of ordinary working women who take centre stage – those aged 55 plus. Heritage organisation History in Action CIC has received funding for Women’s Work, a project highlighting their experiences working in the town’s male-dominated industries such as transport, local politics, textiles, and engineering.
Women’s Work is looking for stories from and about women working in Accrington and local townships between the 1950s and 1990s. Working with a professional playwright, the women will see their stories re-enacted in a community performance in the Market Hall, hear them related through a piece of listening furniture, and relive them in an exhibition in Accrington Library.
Women’s Work will include women of all ages and backgrounds and Accrington’s Aawaz Centre will be hosting sessions in Urdu and Bengali. Their Chairperson said “We’re very pleased to work with History in Action on the new “Women’s Work” project. Aawaz work with local communities and believe it is important that all cultures and heritage are reflected in this oral history project”.
School workshops will be run by Oswaldtwistle Civic Arts Centre. Gayle Knight, the Centre’s Director said: “We’re thrilled to be involved and looking forward to starting work on the delivery of school drama workshops, introducing today’s generation to the way things were for their mothers and grandmothers.”
The stories, photographs and documents collected throughout Women’s Work will be digitized and permanently hosted on the Stanhill Village Heritage website. Stanhill is the birthplace of the spinning jenny, the invention which gave rise to the textile revolution that helped to shape many of the lives and stories that Women’s Work aims to uncover.
Women’s Work provides opportunities for the men to get involved too. History in Action’s Trizia Wells said: “We’re interested in women’s experiences and that includes from a male point of view. Women and men of all ages can take part in the writing workshops and help us turn those stories into a performance. We’ll need actors, lighting and camera crew, plus help with social media, costumes, props – no experience required, we’ll give all the training needed.”
Heritage in Action’s Playwright Mick Martin summed up Women’s Work: “This is an opportunity to put the experiences of Accrington women centre stage of their community, to tell today’s generation about the times they lived and worked in, and to celebrate the legacy their struggles have for today’s working women. The performance will take place in the midst of Accrington in November, so save the dates- 20th-22nd November and get your tickets on Eventbrite now!”
To find out how you can get involved, drop into the writers’ groups at Oswaldtwistle Library on Wednesday 11thMarch at 2pm and Accrington Library at Friday 13th March at 2pm, or Knit & Knatter at Accrington Library on 17th March at 1:30pm. Or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07903 300 386.
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