Finding Our Voice: Loudspeaker Conference 27/11/15

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Photos courtesy of UrBenmedia.com

On Friday 27 November 2015 we welcomed over 80 delegates to Nottingham Contemporary to be part of the ‘Finding Our Voice: Loudspeaker Conference’. This was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and legacy of Loudspeaker, and share learning from the project with partners from across the creative, voluntary, education, health and criminal justice sectors.

Chaired by Ciara Smyth from Changing Lives, ‘Finding Our Voice’ focussed on a number of keynote speeches by leading professionals working to raise women’s voices, including artist Polly Brannan (who devised the ‘Letters to the City’ project), Chris Cutland (Deputy Police Commissioner for Nottingham), Claire Brown (Women’s Equality Party), Kerry Whiting (Robin Hood School) and Melanie Jeffs (Centre Manager at Nottingham Women’s Centre).

Associate Artists Gillian Brent and Jo Dacombe recounted their own experiences of leading the workshop programme for Loudspeaker. They also devised creative activities for delegates to develop conversations and analysis that were similar to those used in the Loudspeaker workshops.

A number of the participants joined us as guests and spoke informally about their experiences of Loudspeaker with other delegates. Eight women who had participated at different times over the past three years collaborated with Jo, Gill and film maker Ben Harriott to create a ‘Loudspeaker film’, which was premièred throughout the day.

You can watch the film here:

The conference was also an opportunity to listen as well as share. Each table of delegates (supported by facilitators from the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Women’s Centre) gathered together ideas to include in a ‘manifesto for change’.  This manifesto will be presented to key partners, the aim being to further raise the voices of women in Nottingham by influencing policy.

Finding Our Voice was a fitting final chapter in the story of Loudspeaker so far. For me personally, it’s been an honour to be part of such a special project, which for the past three years has helped over 70 women to take positive steps through being creative together. Loudspeaker has been a challenging, rewarding experience and we’ve learnt so much about how vital this work is. We fully intend to continue to innovate in supporting women through creative opportunities here at Nottingham Contemporary.

Thank you to our funders Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Nottingham City Council and Arts Council England, and the Loudspeaker team (Ciara, Kay, Jo, Gill, Lynn, Debs, Helen T, Polly, Lisa) and all the women who have taken part.

Jason McCormack

Community Programmer – Nottingham Contemporary

 

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