Digital Women’s Archive North C.I.C. is an arts and heritage organisation, delivering a programme of community-based projects and research relating to gender (culture, heritage, spaces, equality, social participation, wellbeing). [DWAN] supports women and girls to identify, collect, disseminate and celebrate their cultural heritage through Feminist creative and digital interventions. Women and girls are empowered and skilled to be active citizens participating in culture and heritage, and wider educational opportunities.
We are co-creating our digital space that will function as an archive, educational resource and alternative media outlet, supporting the connectivity, campaigns and creative cultural resistance of feminist practitioners and organisations. The archive will specifically collect and showcase cultural and heritage projects and materials underpinned by a feminist ethos. The archive is a user-led space for artists, activists, storytellers and educators to document and share their practice.
Our work responds to national and international campaigns including Women’s Aid; Plan International’s Because I am a Girl; FRIDA/The Young Feminist Fund; UN Girls’ Education Initiative; Take Back the Tech; Women’s Media; International Association of Women’s Museums.
We publish our “A Manifesto for Feminist Archiving (or disruption)” in Feminist Review, Spring 2017.
Dr Jenna Ashton is Creative Director for [DWAN]. She is a researcher, lecturer, curator and socially engaged practitioner working across the disciplines of art history, visual cultures, media, sociology and cultural geographies. My research specialisms include women’s heritage and spaces, feminist archival and curatorial practices, digital cultures and participatory arts. She has collaborated with with numerous arts organisations, museums, archives, and welfare and community groups involves co-producing projects and research. Jenna acted as Curatorial Research Assistant on the renovation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s House (Manchester) and Curator for Museum of Medicine and Health (UoM).
Jenna is currently a Co-Investigator for project Green infrastructure and the Health and wellbeing Influences on an Ageing population (GHIA), part of the national research programme “Valuing Nature” funded by NERC/ ESRC/ AHRC, and is leading the work-package around Arts and Heritage Participatory Action Research with Older People.
She is the sole editor of a two-volume edited collection “Feminism and Museums: Intervention, Disruption and Change” (MuseumsEtc, forthcoming 2017) – an international publication across 21 countries and 5 continents with contributions from academics, museum directors, curators, artists and activists from Austria, Spain, Netherlands, Greece, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, Thailand, Ireland, USA (10 different states), Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador, Chile, Canada, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and 7 cities across the whole of the UK.
Jenna is also a Trustee for charities Victoria Baths and Delia Derbyshire Day, and a Member of Ancoats Dispensary Trust. She has participated in two collaborative artist films – Untitiled [Vagina] by Hannah Buckley and Heartbreak by Najia Bagi.
Dr Kevin Malone is Co-Director for DWAN, and is Reader in Music Composition at the University of Manchester. He creates musical works that investigate social issues and global events. His seven works about 9/11 explore the personal and community responses to the events, and have been performed on four continents with support from embassies and NGOs, drawing accolades for their conference and festival performances and recordings on two CDs. Often working in multimedia format with projections and electronics, Malone’s catalogue includes works about Alzheimer’s (The Last Memory), trauma and suicide (Opus opera), commemoration (A Letter to Two Charlies, Gently Tread), feminism (Unsung Women), community terror and anxiety (40 Minute Warning), and a recent Mark Twain humanist, anti-superstition opera which features Richard Dawkins and a singing computer (Mysterious 44).
Described by The Independent as “witty, with a rare ability to communicate quite complicated processes with clarity”, Malone’s music has one all-embracing characteristic: postmodernist play. Abandoning high Modernism, Malone found a more honest, personal expression in freeing the cultural baggage of serious high art music without actually throwing away the bags.
For example, the Brighton Festival commission Remote Control directly addresses JS Bach’s privileged influence in today’s society as two amplified harpsichords, computer-processed sounds and audience-interactive devices all merge into a fantastical carnival of sound, style and social critique. Three Ancient Nightclubs, commissioned by Psappha, confronts the traditions of presenting music in concert halls (including a mock robbery of the box office takings), while MoDem for two violins is based on the sound of a computer modem and call-and-response activities of cyberspace and instant messaging.
His compositions often specifically focus on feminist causes. In 2016 he premiered a new feminist piano piece piano suite Unsung HerStories, premièred by Diana Lopszyc in Manchester at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House and Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall (Feb 2016). The piece responded to the narratives of Emmeline Pankhurst, Ada Lovelace, Julia Pastrana, Delia Derbyshire, and the first woman, Lilith.
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