Banner Making Project Celebrates Votes For Women

Alizon Bennet, leading banner making workshops as part of Processions, a 14-18 NOW commission, part of the summer 2018 workshop programme. Pictured outside of Shields Museum, where the workshops will take place 19/4/18

Women in South Tyneside have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a nationwide event to celebrate one hundred years of votes for women.

On Sunday, 10th June, women and girls in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London will walk together as part of PROCESSIONS, a mass participation artwork marking the passing of the 1918 Representation of the People Act. Wearing green, white or violet, the colours of the suffragettes, the women will be carrying 100 celebratory banners.

One of those banners will be made here on South Tyneside during sessions organised as part of the Cultural Spring’s summer programme of arts and crafts workshops.

The banner-making workshops will be held at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery for six Saturdays, starting on Saturday, 12th May at 10am. The last workshop will be on Saturday, 9th June, and the following day, the women and girls who have made the banner will take it up to the PROCESSIONS event in Edinburgh where they will take part in the celebratory parade.

The banner-making workshops are being led by Whitley-Bay artist Alizon Bennet, who previously produced a banner as part of a commission at the Shipley Art Gallery in Newcastle.

“The design of our banner will be determined by those in the group and we’ll be discussing women who we’ve all been inspired by. These may be national or international figures, or they may be the mothers, grandmothers, teachers or role models of those who will be making the banner,” explained Alizon.

“No experience is necessary and we’ll be using techniques such as knitting, weaving, quilting, applique, progging, and beading to make the banner. The suffragettes used banners to get their message across and I think the PROCESSIONS project will be a terrific tribute to the brave women who changed society,” she added.

The workshops are free, but travel to Edinburgh for the PROCESSIONS event on Sunday, 10th June, will cost £5 per person (bursaries are available from the Cultural Spring). Places at the workshops will be limited, and to book email or ring 0191 427 8197.

Other highlights of this season’s Cultural Spring’s workshop programme include sessions for drumming, ukulele playing, jewellery making, calligraphy, print making and creative writing. Most of the sessions have a small charge to cover the cost of materials, others are free.

The first workshops of the summer programme include:

  • Drumming at Monkton Park Methodist Church, Jarrow, from Thursday, 31st May to Thursday, 5th July (5.30pm – 7.30pm), £2 per session;
  • Beginners ukulele group, Perth Green Community Association, Jarrow, every Wednesday (1pm-3pm), £2 fee;
  • Intermediate calligraphy course, Trinity House, South Shields, from Wednesday, 9th May to Wednesday, 13th June (6pm to 8pm), £3 per session;
  • Jewellery making, Ocean Road Community Association, Tuesday, 15th May to Tuesday, 10th July (10am to noon), £3 per session;
  • Creative Writing, The Word, South Shields, Monday, 14th May and Friday, 25th May (10am – noon), free

Emma Horsman, Project Director of the Cultural Spring, said: “The PROCESSIONS banner making project is a focus of our summer programme, but we have a great range of other workshops for people to enjoy. We’ve introduced some new ones, and several regular workshops such as calligraphy and jewellery making will continue.”

To book a course call 0191 427 8197, or email