Update on project progress - January 2021

Hi everyone,

Hope you are doing okay in these difficult times. We’re very uncertain as to when we will be able to open the doors of the Meeting House again and for our fantastic volunteers to welcome you and take you on a tour of our history.

Until then, we have been making wonderful progress in our community work, education programmes, historical research and events. Here’s an update.

A sketch of Matilda Sharpe teaching at Channing School in 1887 (image from Channing School archives)

As ever, our wonderful history volunteers have been not only conducting original historical research into all aspects of the building’s histories, but sharing these in blog posts. These blog posts are also being converted into podcasts if you would prefer to hear these stories than read them. Talking of listening – our Spotify playlist of ‘Songs of Dissent’ is now growing too, with over 6 hours of music to get you into the radical spirit!

Events so far this year have already had great engagement and we had 73 people attend our first Her Stories event last week – a free, online community education programme where attendees learn more about feminism and women’s histories. This programme is co-produced by Roshni at Newington Green Alliance and delivered with the Dissenting Academy. Alongside this we welcomed again The Black Exchange for their third event at the Meeting House, which was streamed to a live audience. This time the topic was Black Excellence. This Thursday sees Alternative Fictions back again to deliver an interactive workshop on Inclusive Activism, and we are really looking forward to Dan De La Motte’s talk on the history of Hackney’s Molly Houses later this month to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month!

Have you seen the sneak peek of our children’s comic of Mary Wollstonecraft’s life?

Thanks to artist Martha Mackay and volunteer Lucy Hawker, we are in the process of printing A5 comic books telling the story of Mary’s bravery and legacy – and will give free copies to all schools in Hackney and Islington. It is accompanied by a free 6 week scheme of work based on Mary’s key ideas. This programme has been developed with the People’s History Museum and the Wollstonecraft Society. We are hoping that if there is enough interest, we can do another print run and sell them at a small cost at the Meeting House and our online shop – which will also be up on the website shortly. Want one of your own? Let us know.

As we plan ahead, one of our main focuses is on planning Mary’s birthday events in April and we will announce soon a whole week of activities and plans to celebrate here at the birthplace of feminism.

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