Today we visited WEA Scotland’s office in Gayfield Square for a project update with members of the Lothian Branch Women’s Forum. During the discussion our researcher asked Forum members to share memories from the previous project, focusing on activities they enjoyed the most.
Their stories highlight the learning, inspiration and connections that resulted from an investigation into a century of women’s activism in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Here are some of the ‘best moments’ they recounted…
Those involved described their enjoyment of the discovery process – following up on links, exploring new avenues and pursuing small connections that lead to new learning about inspirational women. In fact, they gathered so much information it was a struggle to condense the written summaries to meet the word limits for the final publication.
In addition to finding out about women who changed history, Forum members described the pleasure of making new connections through participation in the research. They enjoyed hearing new speakers, working with others and attending talks and seminars arranged as part of the two year project.
The project resonated beyond the group directly involved in the research. One Forum member did not take part in the history project, but nevertheless felt inspired when she heard about the lives of women who had broken barriers. She penned this poem in response to the stories told:
KNOW YOUR PLACE
A woman’s place is at the sink
-that’s what you think!
A wife should always do as she is told
-those were the days
We’ve changed our ways
We’re Breaking The Mould.
Kezia Dugdale, Ruth Davidson
And Nicola Sturgeion
ALL WOMEN bearing the burden
of leading their parties
in the Scottish Parliament.
But when I went to school
The rule was
that boys were superior
And girls inferior.
But WOW –
Look at them now!
They’ve Broken the Mould!
Anne Milne, Poet
A Forum member described her joy when the Breaking The Mould book was published:
“it wasn’t easy, but there it was, finally, in my hands”.
And finally, our interviews begin…
The first #breakingthemould2016 interview takes place this week; our researcher will interview Dr Helen Bridle, Assistant Professor, School of Engineering & Physical Sciences, Heriot- Watt University. She was recently awarded the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Innovator’s Public Engagement Prize for her innovative and original contributions to public engagement as an ambassador for (young women) engineers and engineering.
This blog will be updated with the findings from her interview soon after.