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Project is flying the flag for women's rights

By Val Sweeney


A GROUP of women in Inverness have been chosen to take part in an ambitious arts project to celebrate the centenary of British women being given the right to vote.

Members of Highland Multicultural Friends are involved in a UK-wide project to create 100 centenary banners which will take pride of place in mass parades in Edinburgh, London, Cardiff and Belfast in June.

Entitled Processions, it has been commissioned by 14-18 Now, the UK’s arts programme for the World War I centenary, in conjunction with public art producer, Artichoke.

The Inverness venture – just one of three chosen in the Highlands and Islands – is being led by Arts In Merkinch and involves women of different nationalities. Inverness textile artist Heidi Soos has been assigned to work with them on the design.

Catherine MacNeil, development manager of Arts in Merkinch, said it was being kept under wraps but aimed to celebrate the work of women in this century and has a Highland focus.

"It is more about the ‘now’ and where the women participating would like to see women," she said. "Some women have come from countries where women don’t have equality – it is still a dream rather than a reality.

"In doing the design, there were lots of discussions around these things. I think anything which involves sitting around a table and doing things like sewing and knitting always opens up a conversation."

The project is being supported by Highland Council through the provision of signers to enable hearing-impaired women to take part.

Ms MacNeil said the group members are now sorting out the fabrics as they turn their attention towards making the banner.

"We are trying to use as much recycled material as we can," she said. "We are also trying to use as many different mediums as possible. There will be some crocheted sections, for example, which will be sewn onto the banner."

They will take their finished artwork to the Edinburgh parade where they will join other women who are being encouraged to wear either green, white or violet, the colours of the suffrage movement, to create the appearance of a flowing river of colour through the city streets.

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