Pippa Smith is project manager for “Snapping the Stiletto”, an Essex-wide project looking at how women’s lives have changed since gaining the vote in 1918.
Snapping the Stiletto is a project funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections fund which aims to uncover and celebrate stories of strong Essex women over the past 100 years. Working in partnership with 11 museums across (historic) Essex and a range of community groups to steer the project we will be looking for hidden stories of women in museum collections and creating exhibitions and events to share these stories across the county.
The museums will be recruiting volunteers to help them to research and tell these stories and I’m busy talking to a range of community groups to discover what sort of topics would interest them. So far I’ve had meetings with representatives from the WI and the Shree Ram Mandir Hindu Cultural and Heritage Centre and spent a very enjoyable couple of hours with the Razed Roof Theatre Company in Harlow . I’ve contacted the Guides, sisters from a local mosque and representatives from a wide range of groups representing the diverse communities across Essex.
History students at Essex University studying a ‘Votes for Women’ module have been looking at the representation of women in museums and public spaces and tackling some interesting questions set by the project which we hope to blog about soon.
So far two main themes are emerging- groups are interested in the history of women at work, in particular in industry and women as campaigners beyond the suffragettes.