Women at Work: Then and Now. Heritage Lottery Funded Artist Residency

Women at Work: Then and Now, Enfield, was a Heritage Lottery Funded project. It was supported by ACAVA, an educational arts charity and also Building BloQs open access workshops. The project researched  women’s work in manufacturing, particularly focusing on electronic industry, from conscription in 1916 to the present.

As part of this I researched the history and the involvement of the Women’s Co-operative Society. Then a residency at Building Bloqs in the metal workshop using this research to create an exhibition of works in Enfield in 2018, which was the centenary of Women’s Suffrage. I also produced a booklet on the project and its findings and ran workshops teaching women some electronics.

After conscription in 1916 women were involved in all types of roles traditionally seen as male, including dangerous work such as making munitions at the Royal Small Arms Factory in World War One, they made the wings for Mosquito airplanes in World War Two.

For decades women assembled, soldered, spot-welded and pressed in many types of industry along with piece or ‘home’ work to fit around their families. Women proved to be adaptable and resilient, their work performed with much skill and dexterity.

The work women did was important in progressing towards the right to vote in 1918. The argument that some jobs could only be ‘men’s work’ was undone. For some, it provided an empowering confidence that women could put their hand to anything, which had a larger influence down the generations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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