Protests and Suffragettes is a creative project which recovers and celebrates the histories of women activists in Govan, Glasgow Scotland UK. It is led by a team of artists, activists, and local historians who are passionate about rediscovering the voices and actions of women who came before us, and in finding creative and inspiring ways to share their work – and their exact words (when we can find them). We’re inspired by these women, and we hope we can inspire others as well.
The project hosts guided ‘artWalks’ a few times a year – these are a type of guided-walk or performance happening that we’ve developed which are participatory, engaging, and (we hope) entertaining. We use temporary graffiti, banners, call and response techniques (inspired by the Occupy Movement’s ‘Human Megaphone’), chalking, and general merriment to ‘re-voice’ the words of women back into the spaces they lived and worked. We also give talks, conduct oral histories and in-depth archival research, host creative workshops and Wikipedia Edit-A-Thons, self-publish zines, ‘redraw’ historical posters, devise creative interventions in the public realm, and generally have a good time meeting and chatting together.
We have been researching women’s roles within specific protest movements in and around Govan for over seven years, including the 1915 Rent Strikes, Glasgow’s Suffragettes, the 1971 Upper Clyde Shipbuilder’s Work-In, and the 1996 Kinning Park Complex Sit-In and community take-over.
Our project has a core team of 6-8 members, and we’re open to new members as well. We also have an impressive list of people who have contributed to our work and past artWalks, as we usually invite other groups and/or local historians to contribute: in 2019 this included Living Rent and the Remember Mary Barbour Committee. We’ve also been fortunate to work with amazing partner organisations including Wikimedia UK, Glasgow Women’s Library, and Kinning Park Complex – and we’re grateful to them.
Protests and Suffragettes is led by socially-engaged artist t s Beall, and began as part of practice-based doctoral research at Univ. of Glasgow Theatre Studies in 2013. In 2020 current members include Trish Caird, Lydia Levitt, Lesley Mitchell, Clare Thompson, and others who prefer to remain mysterious.