The Face of Suffrage

 

Introduction

The ‘Face of Suffrage’ artwork, a floor-based, 200 metre-square photo mosaic, is made up of more than 3,700 images of females from across the West Midlands and beyond. When viewed from above, it shows Hilda Burkitt, a leading face from the suffrage movement in the West Midlands. Evaline Hilda Burkitt was born in Wolverhampton in 1876 and died in 1955. She was the first suffragette to be forcibly fed a total of 292 times and had a job at the Birmingham WSPU (Women’s Social and Political Union) headquarters, in Ethel Street, near New Street station. Hilda threw a stone at Prime Minister Herbert Asquith’s train as it pulled out of Birmingham New Street after he attended a male-only budget meeting and she was imprisoned at Winson Green prison.

The image is made up of a combination of historical pictures of women involved in the suffragette movement from the West Midlands in the early 1900s and of females today using photographs submitted by the public be part of the commemoration. The artwork will be on display until Friday 14 December – the day which marks the 100th anniversary of women voting for the first time.

Creating the Artwork

A project by The People’s Picture, co-produced by GRAIN, with the support of Network Rail, Arts Council England, CrossCountry Rail and Heritage Lottery Fund made possible by National lottery players. In 1918, the Representation of the People Act gave some British women the right to vote and stand for public office for the first time. One hundred years on, we invited women and girls* across the region and beyond to mark this historic moment as part of a living visual portrait of women in the 21st century.

The 200 square metre giant portrait reveals a local Suffragist whose ‘daring and brave’ story will inspire & invigorate the city. Composed of approximately 3,500 individual photos, it is on the concourse at Birmingham New Street Station from November 15th and will remain until 14th December, the day women voted for the first time. An exhibition of photos of women involved the Suffrage Movement from LSE Woman’s Library have been exhibited at Birmingham Hippodrome from the 16th October 2018. Around 170,000 people will see the artwork per day, people from all over the UK, local, national and international travellers as they pass through the station.

Stories

Tina

I'm all for women's rights! I've worked for the Rail Industry for 25 years and am happy this project will be in Birmingham, I'm proud of my city!

Amanda

The girls and women in my life are my pillars of strength that hold and support me keeping me bright when the world can get dark and scary.

Toni

Me and my two day old song.

Meagan

I finally achieved my dream of being a professional aviator! With so few women in the cockpit we still have many strides to take, but we do it one plane at a time! 

Kathleen

I am a civil engineer. I am passionate about this industry and women's ability to be a part of it, as they still only represent 10% of the workforce. I was the North West Regional Chair of the Institutes of Civil Engineers - only the second woman to ever...

Sarah

Sarah Kane was a resilient woman.

Natasha

Me in my daily job as a welder. I've fought hard to get where I am as there's not many women in engineering as it's still very male dominated. I'd like to show women they can it against all odds!

Karen

You can take the Brummie out of Birmingham but you can't take the Birmingham out of the Brummie- even if she studies in Coventry!

Jessica

May you rock this world like you rock my life!

Carol

This is a photo of my best friend who succumbed to cancer nine years ago. She was an advocate of what the suffragettes did.

Sarah

Two sisters were among the first to vote. One of them became my grandma who wrote stories, poems and knew the names of flowers and sung to me.

Penelope

The brave suffragettes who fought male oppression give me the strength and confidence to express myself any way I want.

Christina

Women make the world go round. We create life. We're adventurous, strong, brave and inspiring. Women are always evolving.

Amiee

My friend Amiee is a strong woman who takes care of her home, the city she grew up in and all the clients at her hair salon. She comes with her A game everyday and I'm thankful of that.

Fiona

My hometown Manchester was and is very important to the suffragettes, the Women's Institute paraded through the city to promote women's rights.

Katie

I'm of Scottish, Native Canadian and Jamaican heritage which is complex to navigate in this world. Women of colour still have a way to go but womens rights overall has improved so much!

Samantha

My eldest daughter Isla, she entered the world early and was a fighter from the beginning. She's been through starting school, gaining a little sister and dealing with her epilepsy all within a very short period of time. She makes me so proud!

Geraldine

Laura was a suffragette from West Cork, Ireland. She was arrested in the WSPU HQ on 30 April 1913 and sentenced to 6 months. She went on hunger strike, released under Cat and Mouse and arrested again. She was so weak and frail, she was released again and...

Luby

Me and my daughters have been campaigning against and challenging stalking and harassment policies in different institutions. We also attended the Women's March in London earlier in the year to honour the Suffragettes and everything they fought for and the...

Penny

Penny, Sara & Beryl are women from the Townswomen's Guilds and part of the project. They have been our right hand helping us engage with the public and form meaningful exchanges with social history and relatives of Suffragists. Townswomen’s Guilds was...

Vincent

Whether or not my mum would have handcuffed herself outside Buckingham Palace or jumped in front of the King's horse is up for debate, but she has the courage and the will of any suffragette from that period of time. She's my mum. And I love her very much....

Rachel

Taken when celebrating the last 100 years that women got the vote on February 6th 2018 in Manchester.

Najaam

I'm a Spiritual Life Coach, Speaker and Artist. As a women with the right to vote it has given me a voice to use to open doors for other young women!

Vivienne

I have been a single mom for 16 years and lately finding back myself again. With love and forgiveness for me and others. It feels like freedom and gives me happiness. I am here, I am safe, and so are my daughters. I feel blessed.

Janet

This photograph was taken in 1920. It is my maternal grandmother, born in 1904 in Birmingham. She lived through the Suffragette struggles, two world wars and being bombed out of one of their homes. She lived until she was 92. I respect her for all she did...

Moira

My three independent daughters and me just before my son's wedding, when another strong woman joined our family.

Sandra

My gran lived through both World Wars & passed away when I was 18, I'm now 55. My mom passed away 3 years ago with dementia. Both were incredible, strong women & an inspiration to me. I miss them both terribly. My gran especially would be proud to...

Sarah

Nan van Hooydonk nee Hay (left) was my great aunt. Born 1885 in London, she loved amateur dramatics both acting and playing the piano. She married a Dutch artist and lived in Highgate until the age of 99.

Rhys

This is my great aunt who lived in Aberystwyth Wales and a photo of her taken around 1912. I have copies of her letters and she wrote about many things happening in the world at that time

Alison

Alison is a train driver, she started driving back when it was extremely rare for females to drive trains and was a union rep too, fighting for many female drivers rights. She looked after her sister when she was ill and her six children and grandchildren...

Andrew

My mother Christina (on the right) moved to the U.K as a nurse from a small Irish town called Ballinasloe in Galway, Ireland. She was the most wonderful person who imbued in me a strong set of moral principles and rock solid work ethic for which I will be...

Jeanette

My grandmother, Elsie Gilby, as a nurse c1930s

Rosalynd

My Grandma was the strongest woman I know and a feminist before the word existed. I try hard to have a tiny sliver of her kindness and strength every day.

Tim

This is my mother, Dorothy. As well as being a teacher she volunteered for many organisations and was one of the very first Samaritans. Her life was one of seeing the best in people and offering support.

Yvonne

Miss Lily Winkles of Hackney as a dancer and roller-skater champion, 1910. She was 21.

Kerry

100 years ago neither of us would have had the right to vote. 1 year ago today we stood for equality and became a married couple. This would not be possible without the great women before us who fought to give us a voice.

Lee

My Mother Julie Adeline Harrison photographed by my Grandmother Mrs Ruth Handley FRPS. My Grandmother was a renowned photographer.

Sarah

My name is Sarah. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer back in January 2018.

Megan

This photo is a post-yoga stretch that shows my calf tattoo of Emmeline Pankhurst who is my absolute hero.

Sabs

I am a first generation Indian Sikh from a family of 4 girls, born to parents who only wanted boys. I grew up as a ‘tomboy’, constantly trying to prove to my Dad girls were OK.

Mareena

This Mahnoor. Mahnoor has always been a strong, loving and intelligent young lady.

Carl

This my Nan, Lil Perry, nee Wood, second from the left, at work in a factory. It was probably taken at Benton and Stone’s, Aston in the late 1950’s.

Juliette Noir

My name is Juliette Noir, I am a non-binary person who expresses gender identity in more than one way.

Thai

Shereen…If I didn’t have this lady as a Mother I’d choose her as a friend.

Tikara

Me and my best friend, we bonded over a love of literature and feminism.

Mary Cobb

Mary Cobb was born in 1946, she married Anthony Squibb and is to this day the Matriarch of the family

Public Gallery

The full gallery of photos is updated here every few days. It includes all public contributions via the campaign, photographer’s contributions and more.

Stories

Tina

I'm all for women's rights! I've worked for the Rail Industry for 25 years and am happy this project will be in Birmingham, I'm proud of my city!

Amanda

The girls and women in my life are my pillars of strength that hold and support me keeping me bright when the world can get dark and scary.

Toni

Me and my two day old song.

Meagan

I finally achieved my dream of being a professional aviator! With so few women in the cockpit we still have many strides to take, but we do it one plane at a time! 

Kathleen

I am a civil engineer. I am passionate about this industry and women's ability to be a part of it, as they still only represent 10% of the workforce. I was the North West Regional Chair of the Institutes of Civil Engineers - only the second woman to ever...

Sarah

Sarah Kane was a resilient woman.

Natasha

Me in my daily job as a welder. I've fought hard to get where I am as there's not many women in engineering as it's still very male dominated. I'd like to show women they can it against all odds!

Karen

You can take the Brummie out of Birmingham but you can't take the Birmingham out of the Brummie- even if she studies in Coventry!

Jessica

May you rock this world like you rock my life!

Carol

This is a photo of my best friend who succumbed to cancer nine years ago. She was an advocate of what the suffragettes did.

Sarah

Two sisters were among the first to vote. One of them became my grandma who wrote stories, poems and knew the names of flowers and sung to me.

Penelope

The brave suffragettes who fought male oppression give me the strength and confidence to express myself any way I want.

Christina

Women make the world go round. We create life. We're adventurous, strong, brave and inspiring. Women are always evolving.

Amiee

My friend Amiee is a strong woman who takes care of her home, the city she grew up in and all the clients at her hair salon. She comes with her A game everyday and I'm thankful of that.

Fiona

My hometown Manchester was and is very important to the suffragettes, the Women's Institute paraded through the city to promote women's rights.

Katie

I'm of Scottish, Native Canadian and Jamaican heritage which is complex to navigate in this world. Women of colour still have a way to go but womens rights overall has improved so much!

Samantha

My eldest daughter Isla, she entered the world early and was a fighter from the beginning. She's been through starting school, gaining a little sister and dealing with her epilepsy all within a very short period of time. She makes me so proud!

Geraldine

Laura was a suffragette from West Cork, Ireland. She was arrested in the WSPU HQ on 30 April 1913 and sentenced to 6 months. She went on hunger strike, released under Cat and Mouse and arrested again. She was so weak and frail, she was released again and...

Luby

Me and my daughters have been campaigning against and challenging stalking and harassment policies in different institutions. We also attended the Women's March in London earlier in the year to honour the Suffragettes and everything they fought for and the...

Penny

Penny, Sara & Beryl are women from the Townswomen's Guilds and part of the project. They have been our right hand helping us engage with the public and form meaningful exchanges with social history and relatives of Suffragists. Townswomen’s Guilds was...

Vincent

Whether or not my mum would have handcuffed herself outside Buckingham Palace or jumped in front of the King's horse is up for debate, but she has the courage and the will of any suffragette from that period of time. She's my mum. And I love her very much....

Rachel

Taken when celebrating the last 100 years that women got the vote on February 6th 2018 in Manchester.

Najaam

I'm a Spiritual Life Coach, Speaker and Artist. As a women with the right to vote it has given me a voice to use to open doors for other young women!

Vivienne

I have been a single mom for 16 years and lately finding back myself again. With love and forgiveness for me and others. It feels like freedom and gives me happiness. I am here, I am safe, and so are my daughters. I feel blessed.

Janet

This photograph was taken in 1920. It is my maternal grandmother, born in 1904 in Birmingham. She lived through the Suffragette struggles, two world wars and being bombed out of one of their homes. She lived until she was 92. I respect her for all she did...

Moira

My three independent daughters and me just before my son's wedding, when another strong woman joined our family.

Sandra

My gran lived through both World Wars & passed away when I was 18, I'm now 55. My mom passed away 3 years ago with dementia. Both were incredible, strong women & an inspiration to me. I miss them both terribly. My gran especially would be proud to...

Sarah

Nan van Hooydonk nee Hay (left) was my great aunt. Born 1885 in London, she loved amateur dramatics both acting and playing the piano. She married a Dutch artist and lived in Highgate until the age of 99.

Rhys

This is my great aunt who lived in Aberystwyth Wales and a photo of her taken around 1912. I have copies of her letters and she wrote about many things happening in the world at that time

Alison

Alison is a train driver, she started driving back when it was extremely rare for females to drive trains and was a union rep too, fighting for many female drivers rights. She looked after her sister when she was ill and her six children and grandchildren...

Andrew

My mother Christina (on the right) moved to the U.K as a nurse from a small Irish town called Ballinasloe in Galway, Ireland. She was the most wonderful person who imbued in me a strong set of moral principles and rock solid work ethic for which I will be...

Jeanette

My grandmother, Elsie Gilby, as a nurse c1930s

Rosalynd

My Grandma was the strongest woman I know and a feminist before the word existed. I try hard to have a tiny sliver of her kindness and strength every day.

Tim

This is my mother, Dorothy. As well as being a teacher she volunteered for many organisations and was one of the very first Samaritans. Her life was one of seeing the best in people and offering support.

Yvonne

Miss Lily Winkles of Hackney as a dancer and roller-skater champion, 1910. She was 21.

Kerry

100 years ago neither of us would have had the right to vote. 1 year ago today we stood for equality and became a married couple. This would not be possible without the great women before us who fought to give us a voice.

Lee

My Mother Julie Adeline Harrison photographed by my Grandmother Mrs Ruth Handley FRPS. My Grandmother was a renowned photographer.

Sarah

My name is Sarah. I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer back in January 2018.

Megan

This photo is a post-yoga stretch that shows my calf tattoo of Emmeline Pankhurst who is my absolute hero.

Sabs

I am a first generation Indian Sikh from a family of 4 girls, born to parents who only wanted boys. I grew up as a ‘tomboy’, constantly trying to prove to my Dad girls were OK.

Mareena

This Mahnoor. Mahnoor has always been a strong, loving and intelligent young lady.

Carl

This my Nan, Lil Perry, nee Wood, second from the left, at work in a factory. It was probably taken at Benton and Stone’s, Aston in the late 1950’s.

Juliette Noir

My name is Juliette Noir, I am a non-binary person who expresses gender identity in more than one way.

Thai

Shereen…If I didn’t have this lady as a Mother I’d choose her as a friend.

Tikara

Me and my best friend, we bonded over a love of literature and feminism.

Mary Cobb

Mary Cobb was born in 1946, she married Anthony Squibb and is to this day the Matriarch of the family

Public Gallery

The full gallery of photos is updated here every few days. It includes all public contributions via the campaign, photographer’s contributions and more.

Behind the Scenes

Find out what is happening behind the scenes, in the studio, at the printers and on the trains.

The Face of Suffrage Reviews

Follow the link below to learn more about upcoming reviews and news about The Face of Suffrage final art-work presentation and the amazing process that lead to it!

 

In Partnership with

Birmingham New Street is more than just a station, it is a central hub for people living in and visiting the West Midlands.We hope the project will engage women who work at the station as well as passengers, shoppers and people walking through the station.

GRAIN  is an arts organisation dedicated to commissioning, facilitating and delivering ambitious, engaging and high-quality photography projects, commissions, events and exhibitions. GRAIN collaborate with partners regionally, nationally and internationally to collaborate with communities and reach new audiences.

This project is supported by Arts Council England. England has a dynamic visual arts sector that seeks constantly to reinvent itself, blurring boundaries and collaborating with other creative disciplines. We fund projects across a broad range of media, including painting, sculpture and film.

The project will celebrate and commemorate this important year for women, 100 years of the vote, utilising archive and historical imagery from The Women’s Library, England’s main library and museum resource on women and the women’s movement.

The project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, made possible by National lottery players

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