Women at Work

A project for people in Worcestershire.

Are you interested in Augmented Reality as a way of making digital art?

Are you motivated to find out more about equality and 20th Centruy Feminist pioneers in Worcestershire and the West midlands?

Do you like using smart phones, computers or tablets & enjoy taking and sharing photos?

If so then this project may be for you, help us make an exhibition, we want to invite everyone to get involved in our art project, you don’t have to draw, we just want your ideas and imagination.  We want you to help us make an exciting art work, using cameras, digital editing and your ideas. You can bring kids too its open to everyone.

Women at Work is a Project Link CIC program to bring artists, heritage experts and communities together and  co-create content using augmented reality technology, which like Pokémon GO brings digital artwork into your perception of the real world, except this time you get to design the game! ‘Women at Work’ is a innovative and pioneering WW1 Women’s suffrage archive project which will engage generational groups in digital interpretation using exciting and accessible technologies, The project is  in Worcestershire and it’s region, focusing on the heritage of Women during and after WW1 who went on to have careers in science, technology, engineering, politics and the peace movement.

In 1910 Mary Macarthur led the women chain makers of Cradley Heath to victory in their fight for a minimum wage and led a strike to force employers to implement a pay rise

This is an inter-generational project engaging with socially isolated people and disadvantaged communities in Worcester through the Worcester Community Trust’s Community Connectors project and local community organisations including Regency School.  We will work with archivists, heritage specialists, academics and communities from the Women’s History Network, the Hive in Worcester, Worcester University, Worcester Community Trust, Worcester Roots youth project and Worcestershire Council.

Heritage archive

The archive is being complied by historian Jenni Waugh, a freelance community historian, sessional lecturer in local history at the University of Worcester and social media co-ordinator for the Women’s History Network Midlands.

Preliminary research and collation of archival document sources evidencing the lives, families and general contexts for a number of Worcestershire and Herefordshire women who were active in the fight for women’s suffrage and welfare before, during and immediately after the First World War.

Workshop to introduce the project participants to the archive sources and to assist in interpreting and explaining what the documents can tell us about the women’s lives, families and activism.

Named individuals include:

Hon Mary Pakington, Hartlebury, Worcestershire: during WW1 she volunteered as a Nurse, Scout Leader and Food Control Administrator.  She was a playwright and an active member of the Primrose League (Conservative).

Lady Isabel Margesson, Foxlydiate, Tardebigge: suffragette organiser and activist, co-founder of Worcestershire Federation of WIs, campaigner for family welfare and Montessori education

Mrs Annie Rusher, Pershore, Worcestershire: doctor’s wife and vicar’s daughter, married late in life and had 2 sons.  AS Doctor’s wife, she gained position and authority within Pershore, helped found the WI and went on to become one of the first woman Justices of the Peace in Worcs.

Mrs Edith Hooper, Pershore, Worcestershire: solicitor’s daughter and wife of a wealthy and well-connected fruit-grower and businessman.  Used her position to help found the Pershore WI, to improve social and educational opportunities for girls in the area.  Badly injured in a tram accident in 1917, she died in 1925.

Lucy Baldwin, Bewdley, Worcestershire: wife of Stanley Baldwin, MP and Prime Minister (1923-29, 1935-37), campaigner for improvements for maternity welfare and introduction of the administration of painkillers during childbirth, founded a Maternity Hospital in Stourport.

There are 3 women with significant connections to the Bromsgrove Guild:

Georgie Gaskin, silversmith and jewellery designer

Mary Newill, printmaker, stained glass designer and embroiderer

Amy Walford, metalworker, stained glass designer, painter and principal of Bromsgrove School of Art

Mary and Georgie have definite connections to Margaret Nettlefold at Winterbourne, were part of Birmingham School of Art and both have materials in the Birmingham Museums Collections. Amy has big connections to Worcestershire – she designed church windows for Bromsgrove and Tardebigge parish churches, a lectern for Tardebigge and a rood cross for Dodford.  She knew Lady Isabel Margesson, our suffragette, through their Tardebigge networks and friendships with the Countess of Plymouth. Their work is classic arts & crafts.