Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (BMAG) is celebrating an important year for women’s rights with a weekend of thought-provoking events and performances from Friday 16th to Sunday 18th November – including a ceremony unveiling a blue plaque to honour Birmingham suffragette Bertha Ryland and a women in parliament discussion with local female MPs.
The weekend of events is part of the programme for Women Power Protest, an Arts Council Collection National Partnership exhibition. The bold contemporary feminist art exhibition, open from 10th November 2018 – 31st March 2019, features over 55 female artists who have explored protest, social commentary and identity in their work.
In the anniversary year for women’s suffrage the weekend of events reflects on the progress made for women’s rights and asks just how much has changed for women today?
Blue Plaque Launch: Commemorating Bertha Ryland
Friday 16th November, 12noon until 1.30pm, Round Room at BMAG
In the centenary year of the Representation of the People Act, Birmingham Museums and Birmingham Civic Society are proud to unveil a new plaque to suffragette Bertha Ryland in Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.
Blue plaques can be found across the country commemorating important individuals and their connection with a landmark. On 9th June 1914 Bertha Ryland entered the museum and attacked a painting as part of the militant campaign for women’s right. The attack took place as protests escalated across the UK with suffragettes fighting to have their voices heard. This event does not condone Bertha’s actions but honours her principles and the fight for women’s rights.
The free event will give a greater insight into Birmingham’s role in the suffrage movement. Taking place in the Round Room the plaque will be revealed as part of a ceremony that features a short presentation by researcher and author Dr Nicola Gauld and dramatic performance by actress Francesca Millican-Slater.
An optional tour of new exhibition Women, Power, Protest will follow with curator Emalee Beddoes-Davis.
Women Power Protest Celebration Day
Saturday 17th November, 12noon until 4pm, Gas Hall at BMAG
Celebrate BMAG’s new Arts Council Collection exhibition Women Power Protest with an afternoon of live music and spoken word poetry from some of Birmingham’s most exciting artists, interactive performance art which will see artists transformed before your eyes, and insightful curator-led tours and talks.
Hear from acclaimed poets Amerah Saleh and Jasmine Gardosi who will be performing specially commissioned poems inspired by the exhibition, and enjoy the beautiful sounds of Birmingham songwriter-musician Affie Jam.
Throughout the afternoon see artist and activist Sarah Ashleigh, founder of London Body Painting, as she transforms three women’s bodies into living artworks in the exhibition space. Meet the artist and influence the artworks as they happen, taking inspiration from the exhibition’s key themes of Hope, Dignity and Activism.
The free event begins at 12noon and includes the chance to join in with craftivism activities and explore the exhibition.
Tickets do not need to be booked, just turn up on the day to enjoy the event. Find out more here www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag/whats-on/women-power-protest-celebration-day
Women in Parliament: Past, Present and Future
Saturday 17th November 2pm until 4pm, Waterhall at BMAG
In November 1918 The Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act passed allowing women to stand for Parliament. To commemorate this landmark event in history 100 years ago, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is hosting a panel discussion with four female MPs from Birmingham and Solihull, chaired by leading feminist campaigner Caroline Criado Perez.
Hear from Jess Phillips, MP for Birmingham Yardley, Preet Gill, MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, Shabana Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Ladywood, Caroline Spellman, MP for the Meridian constituency (Solihull).
This exciting event will explore what it means to be a woman in parliament today and what the future looks like for women in politics. Caroline will lead the panel in discussion before opening up the floor for your questions.
Free tickets must be booked here www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag/whats-on/women-in-parliament-past-present-and-future
Women in Art Tours
Sunday 18th November at 12noon and 2pm
Join an expert guided tour at 12noon or 2pm looking at women as both artists and models through BMAG’s galleries. Tickets are £3 per person and you can pay on arrival at the main entrance.
The exhibition and events are inclusive and open to all.
Women Power Protest includes bold contemporary artworks from over 55 artists drawn largely from the Arts Council Collection, along with pieces from Birmingham’s collection. The Arts Council Collection National Partnership exhibition looks at the experiences of becoming and progressing as a woman amongst varying degrees of opportunity and oppression in relation to race, class, geography and sexuality. More details can be found here: birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag/whats-on/women-power-protest.
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is an Arts Council Collection National Partner and Women Power Protest is part of the National Partners Programme 2016-19 artscouncilcollection.org.uk/national-partners-programme.