Culture

Sanday School Learns About Orcadian Women’s Suffrage

Pupils at the Sanday School are to explore the women’s suffrage movement with the help of a free Scottish Suffrage History Education Pack.

Orcadian Suffragists Mary Ann Baikie, Dr Mary McNeill and Bina Cursiter

100 free Education Packs on Scottish Suffrage are being sent to schools across Scotland. The Packs celebrate women who campaigned across the country for the right to vote 100 years ago.

Link : Protest & Suffragettes Shop

The group, Protests & Suffragettes, are shipping 1,000 free zines and 700 decks of a bespoke deck of playing cards called ‘Scotland’s Suffragette Trumps’ to schools from Shetland to Stranraer. The Education Packs highlight a part of Scottish history which is often overlooked, and have taken them a full year to develop.

In developing the resource, Lead Artist Dr T. S. Beall said:

“We asked ourselves, ‘How many Scottish suffragettes can you name?’ We realised that much of the history taught in Scottish schools does not include activists who campaigned in Scotland – it’s as if there wasn’t much going on here. But that’s just not the case.

“There were women and men in every corner of the country who fought for the vote 100-plus years ago. So, we set out to develop a resource that highlights the incredible work of Scottish suffragettes and suffragists.”

The Orkney News produced an award winning animation by the Orcadian artist Martin Laird about the suffragist movement in Orkney. The research that went into the making of the film was sent to Orkney Islands Council’s Education Department for use in schools and is also available from Orkney Library and Archive, or from The Orkney News.

Link: “A Breath of Fresh Air”: The Story of the Orcadian Suffragists

The Protests & Suffragettes project has so far shipped 85 free Education Packs on Scottish Suffrage, and they are set to ship the final packs to schools across Scotland this week. In doing so, they will be working with 4% of Scotland’s schools.

Dr. Yvonne McFadden from Women’s History Scotland said:

“It’s been amazing to see this project progress, and we have been delighted to collaborate with and support P&S in researching Scottish suffrage. Women’s histories are underrepresented in the Scottish school curriculum so this resource is a fun and important tool to make sure these women and their stories are included.”

Protests & Suffragettes say they want to inspire the next generation of changemakers, teaching young people about activism which blossomed in every corner of Scotland, increasing civic engagement, and raising the profile of Scottish suffragettes.

Over Lockdown 2020 they ran a crowdfunder, raising £20,400 from 277 individual donors, with match funding from Creative Scotland. They produced ’Scotland’s Suffragette Trumps’ playing cards to introduce these histories to young people in a creative, memorable way. The deck features over 40 women activists from Scotland, and around the world, who campaigned here.

They are currently fundraising by selling cards, zines, and posters for the festive season which will allow them
to produce more free or subsidised Education Packs in 2022.

The project has produced 100 ‘Scotland’s Suffrage History Education Packs’ – each contains ‘Suffragette Trumps’ cards, booklets or zines on ‘Rent Strikers & Suffragettes’, and over 75 pages of lesson plans and teaching resources designed by professional educators at Braw Talent.

Lydia Everitt, a teacher and Director at Braw Talent, explained that ‘the Education Pack presents these histories in a dynamic and relevant way – and we’ve been thrilled with the initial response. Many teachers are already putting these resources into action, and students have described the cards and lessons as both fun and educational. The materials are an accessible, adaptable resource that facilitates teachers to explore suffrage in both primary and secondary classrooms.’

Protests & Suffragettes is in the process of becoming a social enterprise, working to highlight these histories and increase civic engagement. They have also just been awarded Unltd Funding to develop a new website and ecommerce platform.

Dr T. S. Beall said:

‘Ultimately, we want to change the curricula and influence the way these histories are taught in Scottish schools, so more people learn about the inspiring actions of these women.’

Protests & Suffragettes Links

 https://protests-suffragettes.company.site/
www.protestsandsuffragettes.comTwitter | YouTube | Facebook | Instagram

You can read more about the Orcadian Suffrage movement in the story archives of The Orkney News and in the recently published book by Fiona Grahame and Martin Laird Rebel Orkney.

Rebel Orkney - tales of insurrection from Orcadian history, available from all good booksellers now.

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