The national project went to Edinburgh for the first two weeks in May for an exciting new series of exhibitions and events. Harpies, Fechters and Quines was planned in partnership with Edinburgh City Libraries and volunteers from the Bonnie Fechters group.
Rosemary, a member of the Bonnie Fechters group who volunteered to help with the project, tells all…
“The idea of doing Harpies, Fechters and Quines came about after I had visited Glasgow Women`s Library for the first time in May 2011. (I say that with some shame having grown up in Paisley and having only moved away to Edinburgh at 21! ) The visit came about as a result of an Edinburgh based women`s group called `The Bonnie Fechters` forming in 2008.We had all attended a short course on women`s history run by Dr Jane George at Edinburgh University`s Open Studies department. The course was very interactive with participants bringing in items of interest to the group. We all got on so well that we have kept going, meeting on a monthly basis to go on visits, do fundraising for women`s charities and generally have some lunch and some fun.One of the visits we went on was to the Glasgow Women`s Library and we were so impressed that we wanted more folk to know about the great work done by them for women all over Scotland. So, I contacted the main Edinburgh library to say that we thought it would be great to do something in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Glasgow Women`s Library. Needless to say, as these things go, it was in celebration of their 21st by the time everything was organised! Anyway, everyone was very keen and supportive so after various meetings involving all parties we had a 10 day slot for exhibition space, 3 talks organised and the challenge of `The Bonnie Fechters` putting together an exhibition stand of what we had done since we started. One of the members commented how good that had been as she`d always just thought of us meeting for lunch but there was the evidence-lists and pictures of visits we had been on, of members climbing and diving for charity and some highly entertaining photos of the day we all dressed up in 2009 to take part in the Princes St re-creation of the Women`s Suffrage procession 100 years earlier!
So, how did it all go? Well, despite power cuts, the trials of technology and exhibitions not staying on their designated walls it was a great success! The talks were very popular with topics ranging from the history of Edinburgh`s kindergartens, graphic novels and comix to women in sport, all helped along by some wine kindly provided by `Edinburgh Reads` funding. The exhibitions complimented some of the talks with books and comix on display, info about the Glasgow Women`s Library, `She Settles in the Shields` exhibition and some very valuable archive suffragette material carefully locked up in the most secure display setting Edinburgh had with extra insurance just to be on the safe side! At the beginning we had thought that it could be an annual event and we will be looking in more detail at all the evaluations at our feed back meeting in June to see the next step so watch this space!”
Harpies, Fechters and Quines was very successful and we have now decided to make this an annual event in Edinburgh. If you are interested in volunteering with this event or would like to find out more about our plans for next year contact Morag Smith on 0141 248 9969