It's 100 years since women first got the vote – and the position of women has changed enormously – but, as recent media coverage shows, the struggle is far from over. 5oin us for a day of talks, debate and discussion hosted by Prof. Nod Miller and explore how far we have come and where we go from here.
The day starts with an illustrated talk from Caitlin Davies about the suffragettes' journey to win us the vote and her book, Bad Girls: A History of Rebels and Renegades. On 21 5une 1906 a twenty-nine-year-old woman from Lancashire became the first suffragette to be sent to Holloway Prison, the most infamous jail for women in Europe. In total, around 1,300 suffragettes were arrested between 1906 and 1914, with the majority ending up in Holloway. What ’crimes' did they commit, how and why did they resist prison discipline, and to what extent did imprisonment serve to strengthen their cause?
Following Caitlin Davies' talk there will be the opportunity to talk to some amazing women about some of the issues which affect us all today – such as politics, work, health and family. The afternoon session starts with a choice of three panels – Gender and Sexuality; Technology and New Media; and Image and How We Are Perceived.
This will be followed by round table discussions where all these issues will be explored.
Please find full details of the speakers and the days events below.
Morning session Incl. tea and coffee 10am to 1pm Tickets £7.50
Afternoon session Incl. tea and coffee 2 to 5pm
Day ticket Incl. networking lunch Tickets £20 - 10am start
There will be a pop-up bookshop during the lunch break.
On-line sales for this event end 12 hours before the start time of the event. Tickets may be purchased on the door (cash only).
100 Years and Counting – The Speakers
Session 1 - 10am – 11.30am (Clore Learning Studio)
Caitlin Davies – Suffragettes – Freedom Fighters or Bad Girls?
Caitlin Davies is a novelist, non-fiction writer, journalist and teacher. Many of her books are inspired by forgotten women from history. She loves setting off on the hunt for stories on a subject she initially knows little about, whether wild swimming – Downstream, Taking the Waters, Daisy Belle – or the history of female criminals – The Ghost of Lily Painter, Bad Girls. She has written six novels and six non-fiction books. Some of her books are set in Botswana, including Place of Reeds, a memoir of 12 years living in the village of Maun. Others are set in the UK, including Family Likeness, inspired in part by the true story of Dido Belle, a mixed-race woman, who was raised as part of an aristocratic family in Georgian Britain at the height of the transatlantic slave trade. Her most recent book, Bad Girls – a History of Rebels and Renegades looks at the history of Holloway Prison and how this impacted on the suffragette movement.
Caitlin Davies’ talk will be preceded by a short warm-up session from Nod Miller, who has been involved in feminist groups since the 1970s, and is strongly committed to the goals of POW!. A major feature of her career has been the organisation of conferences, workshops and seminars, including international events in Brazil, Nigeria and Thailand.
Session 2 - Talking Heads – 11.45am – 1pm (Foyle Rooms)
Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt - Ways in which creative engagement relates to women’s health
Having worked for more than a decade as a curator of international contemporary art, Dr Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt turned her attention to exploring the individual and social value of creative practice. Following her seven-year study of the cultural policy of the Cuban Revolution Rebecca, she has conducted research for an Inquiry instigated by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing, which gave rise to a report with recommendations launched in Parliament in July 2017.
Carolyn Oulton – Suffragettes and women in fiction
Carolyn Oulton is Professor of Victorian Literature and Director of the International Centre for Victorian Women Writers at Canterbury Christ Church University. She is currently researching the reading culture and literary representation of seaside resorts 1840s-1930s. Her website is at carolynoulton.co.uk and her most recent poetry collection is Accidental Fruit (Worple 2016).
Karen Constantine – Can women change the face of politics?
Karen trained as a youth and community worker, and ran innovative projects across the UK. She subsequently became a full time trade union official and for the past two decades has worked at national level for several major trade unions. She has had considerable influence in childcare policy, domestic violence issues and equal pay legislation. She now works as a full time politician, a 'campaigning councillor', in Ramsgate after being elected as a district councillor for Newington in 2016, and as a county councillor for Ramsgate in 2017. She is passionate about gender equality and encouraging women to participate in public life.
Sorrell Robbins – Valuing our bodies
Sorrell Robbins has worked as a therapist, healer and teacher in natural health for over 20 years. She runs The Chamomile Clinic, a multi-disciplinary health centre in Margate which focuses on women’s health, dealing with everything from birth to death and facilitates a Red Tent group for women every full moon. Sorrell is passionate about empowering women on their path to healing mind, body, soul and supporting women with natural medicines and therapeutic techniques to become the goddesses they were born to be!
Evie Wyld – Depicting men in fiction
Evie Wyld is the author of two award-winning novels - After the Fire, A Still Small Voice and her second novel All the Birds, Singing (Betty Trask Prize, Miles Franklin Award and the Encore Award amongst others).
In 2013 she was included on Granta magazine’s once-in-a-decade Best of Young British Novelists list. She has also published a graphic memoir, Everything is Teeth, illustrated by Joe Sumner.
Dee Neligan – from Rule of Thumb to Coercive Consent
Dee Neligan has been working in the domestic abuse sector for about a decade and has spent eight of those years at Oasis Domestic Abuse Service, providing community outreach and latterly specialist support for women navigating the criminal justice system. She is now responsible for recruiting and developing volunteers within Oasis. She is passionate about local history and really excited to be able to consider domestic abuse within both a historical and current context and share this information with everyone.
Rachel Bell – Pornography and its effects on society
Rachel Bell is a journalist, campaigner and mother of boys. She has written on a range of issues including sexual bullying in schools and the sexism and racism of music videos. Rachel has written a Gender Equality Policy for pre-schools and primaries and a careers book for girls. She is on the Management Committee of Not Buying It, who campaign against media sexism and the normalisation of the porn and sex industries. Rachel trained with Eaves Housing and East Kent Rape Crisis to support rape survivors and is a support worker at a safehouse for trafficked women in Thanet.
Shelley Simmonds – You don't know how strong you are until being strong is the only option - a mother's challenge
Shelley has a keen interest in genetics and science and joined the Board of Directors at Action Duchenne, a leading UK-wide patient and parent-led organisation for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy after her son, Fraser, was diagnosed with the condition. She also has a variety of roles with Genomics England as part of their 100,000 Genomes Project. Shelley is a passionate patient advocate for disability and inclusion through her Fraser & Friends community.
Alice Wroe – Herstory - why practicing women’s history is a political act
Alice Wroe is a feminist educator, researcher and curator. She founded Herstory a participatory project that straddles art, activism and education, using feminist art to engage people of all genders with the women’s history that has been systematically left out. As well as delivering Herstory workshops Alice often collaborates to create content that champions women’s history in a variety of contexts.
Laura Probert – Suffragettes in Thanet
Laura Probert is a retired librarian living in Ramsgate. She cares passionately about the town she lives in - particularly its architecture and maritime heritage. Through her illustrated talks and her books Laura aims to raise the profile of women’s history in East Kent. Her other interests include WW1, steam trains, Roman archaeology, and life in the Edwardian era.
Session 3 - The panels – 2pm – 3.30pm (Foyle Rooms)
Panel 1: Are we still constrained by gender stereotypes? What are the challenges that impact on women’s sexual identities today?
Deb Cartwright – Chair
Deborah Cartwright is the Chief Executive Officer for Oasis, the local domestic abuse charity. She has worked in the women’s charitable sector for 10 years, with prior roles in mental health and other disabilities.
Mark Hopkinson – How do men figure in the new reality?
Mark Hopkinson taught Sociology and Personal, Social and Health Education in a predominantly boys’ school in Dover. His subject areas and role in sixth form management meant he was directly concerned with how the school and how he, as a teacher, should influence the boys' thoughts and attitudes towards all kinds of issues to do with social justice - not least, gender identity and feminism. He is also a separated Dad to a 10 year old girl and lives with his partner and her son and daughter which involves navigating what it means to be an adult male in non-conventional family set-up.
Clair le Couteur – Gender affinities
Clair Le Couteur is a non-binary research artist and folk singer currently completing their PhD – ‘Mislabelling and the Fictive Museum’ – at the RCA in London. Clair makes transmedia assemblages, entangling fact and fiction, research and creation, tradition and contemporaneity. Recent projects include: Transportation Blues (2016), live-looped folksong performance at the Horse Hospital; Roots Between the Tides (2016), a photo-network installation at Warrington Museum; and Reading Trans (2017) and The Trans Tipping Point (2017), postgraduate workshop series for Goldsmiths and Open School East. Clair is one half of the ‘broken folk’ performance research project Lunatraktors.
Rachel Bell – Gender stereotyping in children
Rachel Bell is passionate about children receiving up-to-date Relationships and Sex Education – last year her talk at POW! was called, Teaching Consent to Children and Young People. For full details, see above.
Maggie Gee – Separate futures?
Maggie Gee OBE is the author of 15 books including The White Family, My Cleaner and My Driver. Her 1998 novel The Ice People, which the Observer called ‘one of the first great novels of the post-climate change era’, was also a pioneering work about gender. Her work has been translated into 14 languages and she is a Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Her most recent novel, Virginia Woolf in Manhattan (Telegram) brought Virginia Woolf back to life in 21st-century New York, and her next, Blood (Fentum, Feb 2019) features a six-foot-two, joyously offensive heroine on the rampage in Brexit-era Thanet.
Panel 2: Are we all cyborgs now? From banners and horses to Tinder and tweets…..
Nod Miller – Chair
Nod Miller is Emeritus Professor of Innovation Studies at the University of East London, where she was previously Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Lifelong Learning and Head of the Graduate School. Before joining UEL in 1995, she was Director of the Centre for Adult and Higher Education at the University of Manchester. She has also worked in universities in Australia, Nigeria and the USA and published widely across the fields of media sociology, broadcasting policy, group dynamics, lifelong learning and feminist auto/biography. She has a particular interest in issues concerning gender and technology.
Daisy Buchanan – How social media has changed our lives
Daisy is an award winning journalist, author and broadcaster, writing about everything from feminism to fashion for a wide range of publications including The Guardian, Grazia, The Pool, The Times, The Telegraph, Marie Claire, Stylist and Elle. She wrote Grazia's agony aunt column “Dear Daisy”, produced a TEDx talk entitled "Don't Compare And Despair: How to crush a quarter life crisis" and regularly appears on Woman's Hour and BBC Radio Scotland's Kay Adams programme. Her third book, How To Be A Grown Up was published by Headline in spring 2017, and she's currently working on her next title for Headline.
Heidi Colthup – Video gaming and digi fiction
When not lying in bed drinking coffee and plotting to take over the world, Heidi Colthup teaches at Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Kent, and is a Digital Envoy for Kent. In her spare time she’s completing a PhD on narrative in video games. Heidi also tweets a lot and is continually searching for the perfect Smart Phone App. In a previous life she wrote a column for a national magazine, ran a social media and branding company, edited The School News Magazine, was a staff writer for The Scarlet Orchid magazine, helped to run a farm, made short films, and kept chickens.
Trudy Barber – Sex dolls and artificial intelligence
Trudy Barber created the UK’s first immersive Virtual Reality Sex environment during her Fine Art degree studies at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts, London (1992). She completed her PhD: Computer Fetishism and Sexual Futurology: exposing the impact of arousal on technologies of cyberspace at the University of Kent. In 2006, she joined the Creative and Cultural Industries Faculty at Portsmouth University and is Course Leader for the Media and Digital Practice Degree in the School of Media and Performing Arts. Her areas of interest include emergent media, digital culture, cybersexualities, VR, robots, deviant leisure, theories of love and attachment, art practice and the digital future.
Panel 3: How much is a woman’s image her own construction, and how much is made up of a pre-conceived idea from others?
Zoe Murphy – chair
Zoe Murphy is a furniture and textile designer from Margate who uses her colourful screen printed patterns to adorn furniture and fabrics that exhibit around the world. Being a native of an, at times, unpopular seaside resort, Zoe has used her ten year career in the design industry to push the idea of 'loving what belongs to you'. She speaks often about regeneration, using creativity to enhance an object or a location, and believes that everything can be interesting if you scratch beneath the surface. Outside of her time in her Margate studio, Zoe is also one of the founders and acting president for the Margate branch of the Women's Institute, a national charity formed 100 years ago to champion the education and enhancement of the lives of women.
Lucy Baker – How to build self confidence
Lucy Baker is a confidence coach and professional make-up artist, running private coaching sessions and Makeup Mastery sessions, in-person and online. She coaches (mainly) female entrepreneurs to be confident, both inside and out, encouraging women to become the best version of themselves - so that they thrive within life and in business. She is a columnist for the next edition of Isle magazine, Your Kent Wedding and has recently been featured in the Margate Mercury, Natural Health magazine and had a mention in Cosmo mag. Lucy volunteers with the look good feel better women’s cancer charity and is a partner with Live Better With :: Cancer.
Lorna Dallas Conte – What older women have to offer. Are we really invisible?
Lorna turned right instead of left and went into banking when she left school. Trying to find her way back to the left hand road she has lived in Belgium, taken a variety of voluntary roles, run and closed a textile printmaking charity in Brixton, studied for an MA as a mature student and subsequently worked for the Design Council, Crafts Council, had her own consultancy business, set up a gallery and was the first Creative Industries Business Adviser in Kent. Working around five children and eight grandchildren, she now juggles roles in universities with her own creative practice based at her studio at the Home for Smack Boys on Ramsgate Harbour.
Cynthia Lawrence- John – Who dominates - you or your clothes?
Cynthia Lawrence-John is a costume designer, stylist and creative director, working in various creative fields for over 20 years. As well as working in fashion, film, music and sport on a professional level, Cynthia also feels it is important to mentor young women who are exploring the what, where and how of working in these fields, as well as navigating life in general.
Session 4: 3.45 – 4.45 (Clore Learning Studio)
Looking to the future
Lorraine Williams - chair
Lorraine Williams has been involved in many aspects of Thanet life, bringing her mindful and positive approach to projects including Broadstairs Town Team, POW! Thanet and Ramsgate Festival. She is the co-founder of Mindful Thanet, Director of The Thyroid Trust and a freelance communications advisor, as well as an artist and poet. She was brought up by her father, mostly in Glasgow, following her mother's untimely death when she was five, did a sociology degree in Liverpool in the 80s, then worked in London for more than 20 years, including helping to launch the international 'Because I am a Girl' campaign in 2006, before moving to Broadstairs in 2011. A champion for Thanet, social justice and women’s and girls' rights, Lorraine is passionate about transformative conversations and giving everyone a voice.