Kettle Partnership has just launched the exciting Brixton Live project, a collective of local cultural organisations working together to make culture more accessible to both Brixton residents and visitors. The partnership, set up and run by Kettle, includes Photofusion; Ovalhouse; b3 media; Raw Material; Independance; 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning and three Lambeth Council services – Archives, Libraries and Arts.
After our new Brixton Live website went live in February 2014, and the Brixton Live partners worked together for the first time on a programme of events during March, which were inspired by International Women’s Day (IWD, held on 8th March) and demonstrated the creativity and diversity of the Brixton Live partners and their activities. Each event was rooted in the locality of Brixton and focused on support for women, including morning tea dances for over 60s; a women writers’ event; an open yoga class for all ages; a talk by renowned war photographer Jenny Matthews; a pop-up photography studio in Brixton Market; a discussion about female sexuality; and an information day for women at Brixton Library. The month’s events were a great success and Brixton Live will be supporting joint programming for high profile festivals and events throughout the year.
Fair representation requires all voices to be heard and IWD can act as a platform to raise crucial issues such as this. As important as these major social questions remain, most people tend to respond more immediately to local issues that take place in their own community and locality. While I was planning and researching for IWD 2014, it became clear to me that there is very little open government data at community level that is disaggregated by gender (for example: health) and there is even a sense that, beyond some specific areas such as domestic violence and FGM, a focus on women is seen as unnecessary and considered exclusionary. It is exactly for that reason that IWD remains relevant, particularly on a local level where it provides an opportunity for community partners such as those involved in Brixton Live, to work together to advocate for change.
Background to International Women’s Day:
International Women’s Day (IWD) was originally called International Working Women’s Day. The idea of an International Women’s Day was inspired by America’s National Women’s Day, February 28, 1909, declared by the Socialist Party of America. The day commemorated the Uprising of the Twenty Thousand, the first successful major uprising of female workers in American history. The first IWD in Europe took place in 1911 and demonstrations marking IWD in Russia proved to be the first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917. After this time IWD was not celebrated on an international scale, until in December 1977 when the United Nations adopted a resolution proclaiming a Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace. Today, the UN has a focus on IWD as a method for examining the political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide.