The Rochdale Women’s Voices project was a finalist in the Community Education Project category in the annual Rochdale Borough Sports and Culture Awards. Our project was also a Finalist in Rochdale’s 2022 Diversity Awards.
Created through our partnership with M6 Theatre and KYP – and now with new partners, Hopwood Hall College and Petrus – Rochdale Women’s Voices amplifies the voices of three generations of women from the town’s diverse communities.
Working with older women with a South Asian heritage at KYP’s Rochdale base, the project is a space to explore women’s leadership and empowerment through filmmaking, photography, drama, visual art, and craft, including developing a large-scale mosaic.
In 2022, the KYP group visited different creative spaces in Rochdale, including Touchstones and the Ebor Artist Studios in Littleborough – for many of the women, this was a first-time visit to a cultural venue – and the group worked with the South Asian heritage artist Rahela Khan. Rahela was nominated for her individual practice in the Artist of The Year category in the borough’s Sports and Culture Awards.
Our work with the group from KYP has explored the group’s stories of arriving in the UK and settling in Rochdale in the 1950s and 1960s. The project has highlighted their significant but hidden contribution to the town as workers in Rochdale’s textile industry, mothers and grandmothers, and members of their communities.
Young women from the M6 Theatre group worked with art forms, including film, to explore women’s place in the world and the challenges women face in the UK and globally, including pay discrimination, political disempowerment, lack of representation and barriers to leadership.
“I never really thought about the problems you face being a woman. Like I knew of them, but I never really looked at the statistics so that they could be helped.”
“It was shocking to see how much women are pushed down, and women are not given opportunities as men and how much men get paid more than women.”
Rochdale Women’s Voices are creating an exciting event to celebrate women’s strengths to mark International Women’s Day in March 2023, so watch this space!