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Manchester High School for Girls

Music Students Celebrate Hidden Women of History

To celebrate Women’s History Month, a group of Year 9 music students have been working with MADE, the Manchester Cultural Education Partnership to research and create a piece of music that celebrates some of the lesser-known women who contributed to the suffragette movement.

The initiative was part of the MADE project which sees cultural and educational organisations collaborating to explore, through arts and culture, stories, themes, people and groups that are currently underrepresented in the National Curriculum.  Brighter Sound and Manchester Histories worked with students to decide the direction that the project was going to take, and together they chose the theme of ‘Hidden’ Suffragettes - a perfect choice for a school that prides itself on its pioneering history. 

Research began at Manchester Central Library back in February when the students visited Archives+, an archive centre that brings together statutory, university, voluntary and community archives and heritage in one place.  Students looked at old film footage from the North West Film Archive, talked about the suffragettes, the movement itself and women's rights to vote.  They then explored lesser-known women who contributed or influenced the movement in more detail, looking, in particular, at Indian Suffragettes of the British Suffragette movement. 

On International Women’s Day, MHSG welcomed Brighter Sound and artists Iora and Sarah Yaseem, for a full-day workshop aimed at creating new music in response to, and inspired by, their discoveries. The resulting piece named, Hidden Women, was performed in front of Year 7 students along with Karen Shannon, Chief Executive of the award-wining charity, Manchester Histories; creative music charity, Brighter Sound and Project Manager, Lucy Wallace. 

Director of Music at MHSG, Mr Aidan Bradley said, “It was thrilling to see the enthusiasm of the girls and their engagement with the project.  It has been a fantastic experience for them and the passion they felt is evident in the final piece that they created.”