a shrine to women’s work

A shrine to womens work - awol studios -Amy Voris - Zoe Robertson

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I’m delighted to announce i have been invited to create a new piece of work for ‘a shrine to women’s work’ as part of the Accumulations research and development project showing at the Awol studio 1 – 13th August 2016

The information below is from the Accumulations website

Accumulations is a research and development project led by four North West based artists: Dani Abulhawa, Hannah Buckley, Sarah Spies and Amy Voris. Our overall aims are as follows:

  1. to develop a deeper understanding of female activists, artists and theorists who have influenced our creative practices
  2. To explore the lives and experiences of ordinary women and their contribution to the cultural landscape of Manchester
  3. To explore the personal significance of each of our own grandmothers, mothers and sisters to our lives
  4. To find methods of incorporating these findings and experiences into each of our creative practices

In order to explore these aims, we have identified four broad themes that relate directly to each of our respective artistic practices – these are, ‘gendered spaces’, ‘women’s work’, ‘archival practices’ and ‘intergenerational exchange’. We have been working to set up links with several community organisations that connect with these four themes, including the The Whitworth Art Gallery, The Pankhurst Centre, The Sacred Sounds Women’s Choir and The Working Class Movement Library.

Over the course of a year we plan to engage in activities that will allow us to explore the above aims and themes, this will include the following main activities:

  • Independent and group research using museum, library and gallery collections
  • Engaging with women’s groups in the city
  • The creation of four events (in each community organisation)
  • An evaluation day inviting everyone involved in the project

This information is from the Accumulations website

a shrine to women’s work

Amy Voris writes;

My part in the Accumulations project revolves around the subject of women’s work.

There are several strands to my research:

1 Contemplating the everyday working / playing lives of my own and others’ great-grandmothers, grandmothers and mother

2 Contextualizing my own creative work / play in light of the work of my artistic / vocational great-grandmothers, grandmothers and mothers

3 Researching into the history of women’s work in general and in Manchester in particular

women’s work

The subject of women’s work arose out of my lifelong awareness of how my life (and work) contrasts and is in conversation with the lives (and work) of my deceased grandmothers: Violet ‘Sini Wuokku’ [Kahila] Prah, Kathleen Charlotte ‘Kay’ [Clodfelter] Voris, Great Aunty Maxine ‘Max’ [Clodfelter] Callender and adopted grandma Elizabeth ‘May’ [Morley] Poulton.

As well as working as mothers and housekeepers, both of my familial grandmothers worked as secretaries. They administered the working lives of men while also taking care of children and housework. Although I think they enjoyed some aspects of their working lives, they both harbored dreams of having an alternative life as a single, ‘career woman’ and looked on the privileges of my life (with access to education, vocational choice and travel) with encouragement and with a certain amount of envy. They both were excellent typists and wrote letters and then emails to me late into their lives.

I am awe struck by the privileges of my life in comparison with my grandmothers’ lives – most particularly in relation to the work I am able to choose to do. As I move toward middle age, I feel my grandmothers’ presence intensify in my life. I have imaginary conversations with them, sometimes asking for advice, sometimes listening to their tough and awkward questions and sometimes just sharing a moment of appreciation for something beautiful or difficult. In my body I am holding a tension between past and present. I believe that this tension is a major resource for the dances that I make.

creative outcomes

As part of this research and development phase of Accumulations, I am going to have conversations with friends and collaborators about their own working lives with particular attention to the working lives of their familial and vocational mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers. These folks will then be invited to make a contribution to a shrine to women’s work. The idea is that this contribution (somehow) takes its inspiration from this lineage of women’s work while also (somehow) being engaged one’s own current work or creative interests. I imagine each person’s contribution will be quite different in terms of its content and mode of presentation. In late July 2016, this shrine will be assembled at a studio space in Hope Mill – itself a site where women laboured in the textile industry in the 19th Century. The shrine will be open to the public between 1 – 13 August.

For more information visit a shrineto womens work

This exhibition is on

1 – 13 August 2016 at Studio 307

AWOL studios creative space and gallery

Hope Mill, 113 Pollard Street, Ancoats, Manchester M4 7JA

Visit AWOL for more information

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