International Women's Day 2024: Ways to celebrate IWD including talk from Showtown Blackpool

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These are some of the ways you can celebrate International Women's Day, including a talk from Showtown Museum and an exhibition at HIVEArts in Blackpool.

Over International Women’s Day weekend Reclaim Blackpool, the grassroots activism project for women’s safety, is hosting three days of events that celebrate Blackpool women and their stories.

Art exhibition celebrates Blackpool women

HIVEArts Gallery are hosting an exhibition for International Women's Month, featuring a diverse collection of all female artists pushing the boundaries of contemporary art. 

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Ranging from detailed sculptures, abstract paintings, poetry and photography, the exhibition explores art charting and celebrating women’s achievements with work from local artists and international contributors.

There will be an opening reception on Friday 08 March 2024 from 6pm at HIVEArts (80-82 Church St, Blackpool FY1 1JP). Visitors will have the opportunity to meet some of the featured artists and guest speakers on Saturdays throughout the month and gain a rare insight into their creative process and inspiration behind their artwork. 

International Women's Month exhibition at HIVEArts BlackpoolInternational Women's Month exhibition at HIVEArts Blackpool
International Women's Month exhibition at HIVEArts Blackpool

Alice Potter is a fashion designer and Reclaim Blackpool activist who will be displaying work from her Cry Baby Club collection at HIVE. 

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“For as long as I can remember being a woman, specifically an expressively emotional woman, has been represented as a flaw. When I created Cry Baby Club it was my way of challenging this mindset and creating something full of beauty and celebration."

“I’m very proud to be a part of Reclaim Blackpool Women’s Group which works tirelessly on behalf of women and girls who have experienced sexual harassment and sexual assault. It’s unusual to meet a woman who has not had some kind of experience of this, with the majority of it starting from a very young age. Action needs to be taken. I now refuse to be silent and will do whatever I can to make Blackpool a safer place for women.”

Sewing workshop with a difference

On Saturday 9th March, from 10.30am-3pm, Aunty Social is running bookable hour-long workshops where participants will sew Political Pockets to be added to their clothes. This recognition that the pocket is political will allow women to keep their hands free for more patriarchy smashing. 

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Showtown Blackpool give a talk

Meanwhile at Central Library, from 1-3pm, Reclaim will host a talk in collaboration with Showtown where they will uncover the hidden stories of Blackpool women in history. 

Reclaim Women in History will share the stories of Alice Fenton who was the first female director of Jaguar cars, Railway Queen Audrey Mosson, tennis pro Rita Bentley, Blackpool’s first female mayor Jean Robinson and others.

After the visitors will be invited to take the mic and tell us about inspirational women from Blackpool they know about - whether she was a trailblazer, a community champion or your granny, Reclaim wants to hear her story and celebrate her life. 

Social event for women

Back at Aunty Social from 4-7pm women are invited into a safe, gentle space to Craft, Chill and Chat. Textile artwork from our We’re Sew Done project will be on display, in which more than 20 female crafters came together to create powerful work in response to the stories of sexual harassment plotted on Reclaim Blackpool website. Dirty Blondes will be providing pizza while female-born drag queen and make-up artist Ava King Cynosure will also be hosting a make-up station for anyone who fancies an evening glow up. 

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Skate Like A Girl

From 7pm on Saturday the Skate Like A Gal collective will host one of their famous fundraisers for Reclaim Blackpool at Bootleg Social. SLAG aims to reclaim skate spots for women as well as the derogatory language used against female skaters. They have been working closely with Reclaim for over a year on our shared aims of making Blackpool a safe place for women. 

Reclaim SLAG will present live music from A.L.M.O.R.A, Imogen Evans and Daisy Atkinson followed by a raffle (big and rubbish prizes to be won) and a funky DJ set from Blackpool’s fiercest femme DJ dance and drag collective Her House. 

Remembering wives who were murdered by their husbands

On Sunday 10th March, from 2-4pm, Reclaim is joining forces with the Friends of Layton Cemetery for a Memorial to Murdered Women. Deborah Contessa has worked tirelessly over the past few years to research the graves at the historical Layton cemetery. Many notable Blackpool figures are buried there but Joan Long, Madge Leadbetter, Elizabeth Shaw, Mary Starr, Alice Burnham and Sarah Toomey’s burials were unceremonious. Each of them was killed by their nefarious husband and buried without a headstone.

Deborah has located their unmarked graves and researched their lives. Reclaim will honour these women whose lives were cut tragically short by violent men by hearing their stories, reading poems and laying candles and flowers on their graves. 

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Safe dog walk

Later women and dogs will meet at 6pm on Sunday at North Pier for Good Boy - a women only dog walk. Kelly from naughty dog treat brand BasicBxtch will lead this stroll along the prom with the goodest boys and girls. 

Kelly has been hosting Good Boy walks since last summer and now has a growing community of women and dogs who meet weekly for walks around Blackpool. They head out in the evening when many female dog owners will avoid walking alone, finding safety and support in numbers. 

How to book

Booking is necessary for some of the events but for most you can just turn up. The events are free or pay what you feel and all donations are welcome. For more information on each of the events and information on how to book click here

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