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Linen Hall Launches First extraORDINARYwomen Exhibition

SPARKS: A Celebratory Portrait of Women in Northern Ireland

Illuminating the role of women creating ‘sparks’ of empowerment and inspiration for a bright future for Northern Ireland.

Join us in the Linen Hall Library’s Vertical Gallery for the ‘extraORDINARYwomen’ project’s first exhibition. Sparks will rediscover women in the Linen Hall Library’s collection and provide space for new voices. Prominent figures including writers Joan Lingard and Christina Reid, activists and politicians such as Mairead Maguire and Monica McWilliams, and performers such as Helen Lewis will be spotlighted alongside important community experiences and personal voices. ‘extraORDINARYwomen’ is pleased to have worked with HeadwayNI, Women Aloud NI, the Acorn women’s group at NIACRO, YouthAction NI as well as participants on our ‘Changing the Story’ creative writing workshops generating discussions, creative outputs and written works.

Women of all generations and different backgrounds across Northern Ireland have shared stories with the ‘extraORDINARYwomen’ project. These include women creating safe and secure spaces in homes and communities, saving lives and providing essential services during the Troubles and Covid-19 pandemic, bringing a smile to our faces through sport, the arts and the media, and those campaigning for peace, equality and environmental issues.

The exhibition offers a range of archives and objects which function as portraits of the lived experience of women from 1965 to the present day. These are some of the women who sparked the wider voice of our generation, the flames that burned brightly in literature, theatre, politics, communities, and homes. The agitators, educators, leaders and creatives who forged their own path.

We are pleased to include loan material from National Museums Northern Ireland, Lady Mary Peters, Andrea Catherwood, Pamela Ballantine and Dr Janet Gray which will sit alongside our community enriched Linen Hall Library archives.

The exhibition will run during June and July 2021.