Launch Party for exhibition ‘Bristol Voices on Climate Change’

 

We did it!

A small group of older women ‘Older Women for World Change’, got this fantastic exhibition together, which honours people who are usually ignored and recognises their knowledge of how to live well with lower carbon emissions.

Check out our video. Look at the pamphlet, and go to the University of Withywood website. I am pleased that we worked hard to get all the contributors to the launch party, including people who would never normally go to an event like that. Each of them is important. I’m proud that we fed everybody, that we gathered them together, that we gave them a chance to speak. I am proud of us.

My friend Karen and I are still taking the exhibition around our city, showing it in libraries and community centres. It’s a pleasure to glimpse people looking at it. They are engaged, alive. Old Women for World Change has made a small difference.

OWWCh’s struggle against internalised oppression 

At our best, OWWCh was a support group, listening to each other talk about our personal lives and political achievements. The solid work we did together came to fruition in the exhibition, but by that time several of us had dropped out.

The process of preparing the exhibition tested our solidarity to the limit. Our internalised oppression as older women sometimes made us impatient with each other. At some points in the group’s life  each of us had hard things to face (personal and family illness, bereavement, depression). Our responses were definitely affected by our training as females, to be caretaking, to choose the private over the public.

Men as allies

What saved the project was, ironically, the help of men. Three men, about twenty years younger than us, joined our group. Interestingly, they were attracted to the project’s female perspective. We emphasised experiences, ordinary people, ordinary life. We aimed to engage people by empathy rather than by threatening facts. The men appreciated this. They contributed  to the content – Mark Simmons‘ photographs are beautiful, Adam Nieman‘s diagrams gave us the factual introduction we needed, Ciaran Mundy was our active link to the Transition movement. But the perspective, the way of seeing, remained ours. We thank these good men for their help and hard work.

 

 

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