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Council to celebrate local women as part of Herstory Project

23 January 2020

Derry City and Strabane District Council will celebrate local women next week by participating in the Herstory 20/20 Project.

Herstory has partnered with RTÉ, Underground Films, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum and the BAI to bring a story-telling platform like no other, uncovering forgotten but fascinating women’s stories from history, mythology and contemporary culture.

Council are hosting a series of events over two days as part of the project. On Friday, January 31st, there will be the spectacular Festival of Light Illuminations at the Tower Museum. Images of local heroines who span history from the 1800s to the present day, such as Bronagh Gallagher, Pat Hume, Annie Russell Maunder and Amelia Earhart, will be majestically projected on to the tower of the museum in a celebration of their work.

There will then be an action-packed day on Saturday, 1st February, starting in the Tower Museum at 11am with a coffee morning where former factory workers can gather and re-create old photos, while at 1pm there will be a Factory Workers’ Lunch where invited guests, alongside Mayor Michaela Boyle, will share memories with old friends over a light lunch.

Following that, at 2pm ex-shirt factory workers will gather together to share music, memories and craic of the ‘good old days’ during the Factory Girls’ ‘Herstory-telling’ event.  Roy Arbuckle will lead the group in reminiscence and invited guests will have an opportunity to share their own stories of their time in the shirt factories. 

Meanwhile, at 2pm in the Guildhall the Girl Power Event will aim to inspire all. This workshop is open to girls (and boys) of all ages, but might be enjoyed mostly by pre-teens.  The workshop will focus on positivity, respect and resilience in an informal setting, where girls will learn, create and have lots of fun. Activities include writing a love note to yourself, creating your own or framing your favourite empowering quote, a photo booth, workshops and goody bags.  There will be lots of Girl Power tunes and games, and of course you will hear from some real life powerful girls!

Mayor Michaela Boyle explained why it was so important for Council to take part.

“This is a wonderful project and one that I am honoured to be a part of.

“Women like Amelia Earhart and Pat Hume have played a role in shaping our District into what we have today, so it will be magnificent to see them projected on our Tower Museum for citizens to take a moment to step back and appreciate them.

“Just before Christmas I hosted an event in celebration of our Factory Girls, and I’m really looking forward to meeting back up with them to hear more of their stories and fond memories.

“Just as important as celebrating the role of the important women of our history is to inspire our youngsters and show them how they can positively affect the future, and taking part in Herstory will allow us to do that.”

Ruth McPhillips, Council Events Officer, said it is a weekend to look forward to.

“Herstory 20/20 is a fantastic project and one that we as a Council were delighted to get involved in.

“Derry and Strabane has been truly blessed with so many incredible women who have both made and changed history, and to whom we owe so much – none more so than our fantastic Factory Girls.

“The Festival of Light will also be something special as we, quite literally, illuminate the achievements of many of our prolific local women from all walks of life.

Ruth continued: “There is also a chance to inspire the next generation of girls coming through with our Girl Power event.

“We would encourage everyone to get involved and to take this opportunity to thank and celebrate those magnificent women who have played a vital role in getting us where we are today.

“This is a project that will hopefully have a lasting legacy for years and generations to come.”

Pre-registration is necessary for the Factory Workers’ events on Saturday, 1st February. Spaces are limited to 10-12 for the coffee morning. For more information, contact [email protected]. For full details on the Herstory programme, visit https://www.derrystrabane.com/What-s-On/Events.