Welcome to our blog!

Welcome to our blog! This blog is intended as a starting point for conversations and big ideas and we are excited to have a place to share more in-depth information and where we can facilitate discussions between our Centre members.

If you would like to write a guest blog please contact the Centre Heads Kate Cook k.cook@mmu.ac.uk or Sally Jones sjones@mmu.ac.uk


‘Born a Rebel’ Film Screening, Central Library

The North West Film Archive are screening a short film marking the centenary of women’s suffrage called ‘Born A Rebel’, on 14th December and taking place shortly after the unveiling of the statue, yards away in Manchester Central Library.

 Showing women’s lives from the suffragettes to the miners’ strikes, and much more, ‘Born a Rebel’ is a 15-minute film comprised entirely of archive footage from the collections of the Yorkshire, North East and North West Film Archives. Commissioned by Cinema For All, this new production celebrates women in protest across the North of England since the start of women’s suffrage 100 years ago.  The title is inspired by Manchester suffragette Elizabeth Dean who, when interviewed on BBC NW Television on her 100th birthday in 1985, exclaimed: “Between you and I, I must have been born a rebel!”  

 These (free) film screenings will be at 2.00 pm and at 3.00 pm on the 14th December and they’ll be the first airings of this film in Manchester, which will take place alongside other activities in Archives+ as part of an event to celebrate the unveiling of the statue.  We are encouraging people to reserve a free place on Eventbrite.

Please contact Will McTaggart with any questions.

Annie Kenney statue unveiling

On 14th December, at 2.15pm the new statue to working-class suffragette, Annie Kenney, is to be unveiled in Oldham, outside the Old Town Hall.  The 14th December is the centenary of the first general election at which some women were officially able to vote and so the date is highly significant.  It has therefore been chosen for the unveiling of both of the new suffragette statues in Greater Manchester; this one and the statue of Emmeline, in St Peter’s Square.

Annie (1879-1953) was the fourth of twelve children in an Oldham family and worked, initially, in a cotton mill.  She one of the first women to break the law in the name of women’s suffrage, when she and Christabel Pankhurst protested at a Liberal Party meeting at the Free Trade Hall, in 1905.  Annie became one of the leaders of the WSPU and it is excellent that her hometown is now celebrating her with a statue.  It seems to me that it might well be possible to get a tram, in St Peter’s Square, after the unveiling of the Emmeline statue and make it up to Oldham in time to see this second important unveiling.  What a day 14th December is going to be!


14th December – Emmeline Pankhurst Statue update.

The statue of Emmeline Pankhurst, created by Hazel Reeves, is to be unveiled after a ceremony which begins at 12 noon, on 14th December.  Before that, two groups will march to St Peter’s Square to take part.  One will start from the People’s History Museum and the other from the Pankhurst Centre.  Both set off at 10.30 am.

Meanwhile, we will meet in All Saints Park from 10.30 to hear music from singer-songwriter Claire Mooney, including the song we commissioned Claire to write, for the centenary.  We will also hear from Megan Dobney who will update us on the progress towards a statue to our own Sylvia Pankhurst, in Clerkenwell Green, London.  We will then join the procession from the Pankhurst Centre and walk up Oxford Road to take part in the ceremony.

You can get involved! 

Please make a note in your diary now, bring your big coat and meet us in All Saints from 10.30 am on 14th December. 

Please also let Kate know if you are willing to be a steward for the walk up to St Peter’s Square.  

Please also let Kate know if you are able to carry (and preserve) the new Sylvia Pankhurst Gender and Diversity Research Centre banner when we join the procession. 

Finally, please spread the word about this event.  Share this post and follow us on Twitter for more updates.  

Thank you, Kate.

ESRC Festival: FGM Awareness Workshop

As part of the ESRC festival of Social Science, a female genital mutilation (FGM) awareness event was organised by Jaria Hussain-Lala a doctoral student within the faculty of Business and Law. Importantly, this event looked at the issue from a South Asian perspective, combined with a legal lens. It attracted over 170 delegates from all over the country, from various professions, and with the support of the Sylvia Pankhurst Gender and Diversity Research Centre, the event  was able to secure national and international speakers.

Masooma Ranavli, who is leading the campaign to end FGM in India was the keynote speaker.  Masooma is a petitioner in an ongoing case to the Supreme Court of India to establish laws to ban FGM.  She is also a survivor of FGM and shared personal and political experiences.  Over the last 3 years Masooma has developed and published the first empirical study on FGM in India.  She has also been involved in establishing an organisation WeSpeakOut which is working to raise awareness of FGM within the Muslim Bohra community and beyond. Her work has secured support from the media and many politicians across India.

Other speakers included Hilary Burrage who is a PEACE awardee for authoring two books on FGM. Hilary has developed a theory called the E`s model which she covers issues to be considered when addressing FGM. Dr Kate Cook spoke about British law on FGM and Cheryl Hramiak, he Violence against Women Lead for CPS, North West, shared the learning from historical FGM cases that had been put forward to the courts.


Other speakers included Kiran Garcha from the FGM unit which is part of the Home Office. Kiran spoke about the government’s commitment to address FGM; GMP police lead for FGM, Stephanie Parker, spoke about the summer campaign ‘Operation Limelight’, which involves speaking to families boarding planes destined to countries with high prevalence of FGM, at the beginning and the end of the school holidays.  In addition the Guardian project, a Greater Manchester wide FGM project for children and young people, spoke about the progress so far and that they have received over 100 referrals over a 2-year period. The event was closed by our very own Dr Kate Cook, who reminded the delegates to have conversations on clitorises and vaginas, to ensure that our own silence about our bodies does not inadvertently allow girls to continue to be mutilated, right here in Manchester.

It was a great event and overall the feedback has been extremely positive, many asking for similar events in the future. Thank you to the ESRC and the Sylvia Pankhurst Gender and Diversity Research Centre for supporting this event.

Jaria Hussain-Lala


Best Paper Award for Dr Angela Carradus


Angela ISBE.jpg-large
Dr Angela Carradus receiving her award

Congratulations to Sylvia member, Dr Angela Carradus, who won a best paper award at last week’s Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship conference in Birmingham.

The winning paper, titled ‘Creating a Copreneurial drama: Looking through a dramaturgical lens to interpret copreneurial start-up’, won best paper in the Family Business conference track. Copreneurs, represent 1.4million businesses owned and managed by married or co-habiting couples in the UK and Angela’s ongoing research focuses on this important group of entrepreneurs.

The paper examines, through a dramaturgical lens, how couples articulate the co-creation of their copreneurial script. Angela’s research critically evaluates how the copreneurial phenomena challenges understandings of, and traditional entrepreneurial approaches, to business start-up.


Hilary McCollum


Hilary McCollum visited last week and gave a fascinating talk about writing about suffragettes, at an early evening event for “The Sylvia”.  As an author of fiction, Hilary faces the interesting task of writing real lives into a novel. Her new book Wild will be based on a 12-day period in 1913. The book is about Emily Wilding-Davison who went to the Derby and fell under the King’s horse. She died of her injuries 12 days later.
Hilary has been interested in Emily for a long time. She remembers that Emily became more than a suffragette martyr to her after reading a book by Ann Morley and Liz Stanley.  Hilary talked about her interest in Emily’s relationship with Mary Leigh.

Mary Leigh

Mary was a WSPU member from Manchester.  Emily and Mary were activists together and were imprisoned in Holloway together.  The two became close and Emily was with Mary the night before she went to the Derby and Mary Leigh later went to Epsom hospital that night. So Hilary’s book takes these facts and weaves a story.  At the session, Hilary read extracts from the manuscript.  Sadly we will have to wait for this fascinating book as Hilary is looking for a new publisher.

Whilst in Manchester, Hilary also spoke at Sidney Street, picking up the wider story of lesbians in the suffragette movement. Sapphormation is an annual festival for women who love women.  Hilary’s talk considered the risks of invisibility as a lesbian.  What evidence is there that any of the suffragettes were lesbians?  How would that be proven? Hilary presents information about Ethyl Smytha and Emmeline Pankhurst who had a close relationship. We have no evidence that they were lovers, but as Hilary says, what would that evidence look like?  Hilary talked about a number of other women in the movement.  She also made an interesting comparison with the second wave of feminism – which was full of lesbian feminists. So perhaps the first wave was just the same. Continue reading “Hilary McCollum”

14th December statue unveiling

We now have some more details on the unveiling of the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in St Peter’s Square on 14th December.  Timing have been announced and can be seen here. The marchers from the Pankhurst Centre will set off at around 11 am and we will join them as they pass All Saints, so we will begin our rally in All Saints at 10.30 as planned.  See you there!