Suffolk Libraries relaunches Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights programme online

Suffolk Libraries is relaunching its ‘Unfinished Business’ programme this autumn after the original event was affected by lockdown.

The event is inspired by the Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights exhibition which opened at the British Library last week.

Through the themes of Mind, Body, and Voice, the exhibition explores how contemporary fights for gender equality and liberation in the UK have their roots in the long and complex history of women’s activism and campaigning. It includes items ranging from personal diaries, letters, banners and protest fashion, to subversive literature, film, music and art.

Suffolk Libraries is part of the British Library’s Living Knowledge Network and has relaunched a revised programme of free online author events and displays at Ipswich and Lowestoft libraries over the next few months.

Melissa Matthews, Suffolk Libraries Creative Programmes Manager, said: “We are excited to finally be welcoming a slice of the Unfinished Business exhibition to Suffolk. Well-behaved women don’t make history and in preparing our programme of events, our minds have been blown to learn how hard women throughout history have had to fight for equality to pave the way for their daughters and their granddaughters. We have invited some incredible and powerful speakers to discuss battles not yet won for female equality and we cannot wait to share these events with people across Suffolk.”

Helen Pankhurst, Chancellor of the University of Suffolk and the great-granddaughter of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who led the movement to win the right for women to vote, spoke in support of Unfinished Business: “Unfinished Business’ is exactly right. It’s so important that we connect current struggles to those of the past, there is much to be inspired by, to be angered by, to be amazed by. I am really looking forward to listening in on some of the talks. We might be more isolated than ever at the moment but initiatives such as this can also connect us up more easily than ever before.”

The confirmed programme of events so far is as follows. All these events are free, but you’ll need to book your place via the Unfinished Business section on the Suffolk Libraries website:

  • Wednesday 4 November at 6.30pm – In conversation with Helen Lewis, author of Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights
  • Friday 13 November at 6pm – In conversation with Flo Perry author of ‘How to have Feminist Sex’.
  • Thursday 10 December at 7pm – In conversation with Syd Moore, author of Strange Magic: An Essex Witches Mystery. Syd will be exploring the history of female persecution from witch hunts to modern day female stereotypes.
  • Thursday 21 January at 5.30pm – in conversation with Gabby Edlin, founder of Bloody Good Period. Gabby will be discussing period poverty and the battles not yet won for equality when it comes to our bodies. Bloody Good Period work with Suffolk Libraries on the Pride and Period service providing free sanitary items from libraries.

There will also be a physical display featuring images provided by the British Library based on the full Unfinished Business Exhibition which focus on the fight for women’s rights by exploring the female equality themes of their main exhibition in London; Mind, Body and Voice. The display will be on view at Ipswich Library from 2 November to 18 December and then at Lowestoft Library from 4 January to 21 February.

The library displays are supported by the Helen Hamlyn Trust. The stories in the display all feature in the full British Library exhibition, Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights which is on display from 23 October 2020 to 21 February 2021. For more information visit www.bl.uk/events/unfinished-business

Suffolk Libraries will also be sharing a series of podcasts including interviews with Kim Trotter, founder of the Future of Female Society, Shabham Shabazi and podcasts inspired by the themes of the exhibition created by young people as part of a collaboration between the ‘Girls, where you AT?’ project and Gainsborough Library’s Girls Group funded by the Ipswich Opportunity Area fund.

Suffolk Libraries is also recommending titles from its catalogue which celebrate the themes of the programme including books, eBooks, eAudio books, films, documentaries and music.

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