Rochdale Women Voices

Older Asian women from KYP’s ESOL group and young women from M6 Theatre Company explored the place of women and girls in the world.

During 2020 – 2021, CAN created a unique project in Rochdale to create safe women-only spaces for the two groups empowering two different generations by inspiring their creativity.

Older women from Rochdale’s Kashmiri community explored their position as elders – mothers and grandmothers – through craft, writing and dance whilst a group of young women from M6 Theatre Company used film and photography to explore their experience as girls and young women in their diverse communities and wider society.

Our lead artist Mahoobeh Rajabi brought her skills in theatre-making, creative writing, craft, and digital art to the project and loved the opportunity to work with two distinct generations.

She reflects:

“The women at KYP are from a very strong generation that isn’t always visible.  We shouldn’t forget the powerful mothers who sacrificed their time and youth in a new country to lead their families and raise the next generation. Their experience and knowledge as mothers should be celebrated.”

“As a young mum, the project with KYP really resonated with me as it’s so important to make creative spaces to make art accessible to women, especially mothers. We need to take mothers’ well-being seriously.”

The women in the group used the workshops to come together for conversation, connection, and support.

“My husband had three strokes when I started to come to the group. The session was giving me strength and good feeling so I could go back and continue looking after my husband and children. Even my children notice the change of much happier I am.”

The workshops became an important space for the women to take a break from their busy lives and socialise.

“We have busy daily lives providing service to our family, I came here, and this is my time to enjoy and meet friends and make art.”

“It’s important for us to have times that are out of the home and always working, I am very happy coming to the sessions and meeting everyone.”

The group from KYP had the opportunity to try out different art forms.

With a laugh, one woman said:

“I really like the dancing, but I am old.”

M6 Theatre Company was a base for a diverse group of young women to explore the topics that mattered to them and to learn more about the issues facing women the world over.

“It really opened my eyes because before this 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.”

“I think I learned a lot, like the actual issues that women have to go through daily. I knew, but I learned, I really learned.”

Artist Mahoobeh Rajabi said:

“The M6 group made a powerful project where we’re reminded how we should value the voices and different experiences of young people. In just three days, the young women created a film and photo exhibition.”

“I wanted the group to have their voices heard and hear their thoughts on women’s empowerment and leadership.  Their work vocalised how far we have to go in the UK and globally to achieve genuine justice and equality for women.”

 

 

Partners

M6 Theatre Company and KYP

 

Lead Artist

Rahela Khan

 

Funded by

Lankelly Chase through Greater Manchester Systems Changers

CAN is supported by