Project Announcement: The Travelling Heritage Bureau of Displaced Women Artists #HLFsupported

Project Announcement:

The Travelling Heritage Bureau

of Displaced Women Artists

Digital Women’s Archive North CIC (DWAN) is delighted to announce that a National Lottery grant of £48,200 has been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a 20 month project exploring creative archival practices for addressing the challenges of identifying, collecting and sharing the heritage of displaced women artists who are refugees or asylum seekers.

Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the Travelling Heritage Bureau of Displaced Women Artists is an exciting and innovative project undertaken through a series of workshops, public activities, a film, sound piece, archive installation and contributing to the development of collaborative art works for forthcoming textiles exhibition by Alice Kettle at the Whitworth Art Gallery in 2018-19.

The collective actions and practice of the Travelling Heritage Bureau will address both the need to ensure the participation of women artists in contributing to arts archives, and the additional complexities of displacement for undertaking arts archive development.

Working with displaced women artists located in Manchester, Greater Manchester and the North West, the project will also generate digital documentation and outputs for sharing the work further afield.

The overarching aim is to empower women artists who are displaced to share their cultural heritage and methods of self-archiving. Additionally, it aims to change attitudes and behaviours towards displaced peoples through methods of feminist practice. Finally, the project will generate new methods for archives, collections and heritage sites to engage with displaced practitioners.

Why this project is important:

This National Lottery funded project is significant to the area of arts, archives and cultural heritage, but also to wider issues of collecting and communicating the diversity of refugee and asylum narratives and experiences. It will address displaced women’s participation in cultural heritage, in-line with UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre position of prioritizing opportunities for women’s empowerment in the fields of heritage and creativity.

A collective of fifteen displaced women artists will be recruited to form the Travelling Heritage Bureau. The artists will participate in workshops in heritage spaces and collections including Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester Art Gallery, Archives+ and AIURRRC, Elizabeth Gaskell’s House, Portico Library and the RNCM to creatively develop models of arts archiving practice from their position as refugees and asylum seekers. The Travelling Heritage Bureau is a contributing partner in the upcoming major exhibition (which includes a public programme) creatively collaborating with refugees and their lived experiences and cultural heritage at the Whitworth Art Gallery, 2018-19 – Thread Bearing Witness led by artist Alice Kettle.

The project enables DWAN to continue developing and promoting methods of feminist archival and heritage practice, supporting the confidence, wellbeing and empowerment of women and girls, and addressing issues of social justice.

Press and Media Enquiries:

Editor’s Notes:

Digital Women’s Archive North CIC is an arts and heritage organisation supporting women and girls to identify, collect, disseminate and celebrate their cultural heritage through creative and digital interventions. We use feminist curatorial and archival practices to support women’s active citizenship and self-empowerment.

Our work has a specific interest in supporting the heritage and archival practices of women artists, and the development of arts archives.

Our core activities include:

1.) 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

2.) Collaborative and creative feminist archival and heritage projects

3.) Delivering educational public engagement events around heritage and feminist practice


About the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife.  Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.

Alice Kettle is a contemporary textile / fibre artist based in the UK. She is currently Professor in Textile Arts at Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University.

Her stitched works, many the size of huge figurative tapestries, exploit the textures and effects made possible through the harnessing of a mechanical process to intuitive and creative ends while in her large scale works she continues the tradition of monumental textiles. 

Her work is represented in various public collections such as the Crafts Council London, the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester, the Museo Internationale delle Arti Applicate Oggi, Turin, Italy. Commissions include the National Library of Australia, the Scottish High Court in Edinburgh, Gloucester and Winchester Cathedrals and the School of Music & Drama at Manchester University. She’s recently completed a major commission for Lloyds Register Global Technology Centre at Southampton University.

“Alice Kettle is a contemporary textile/fibre artist based in the UK. She has established a unique area of practice by her use of a craft medium, consistently and on an unparalleled scale. The scale of her work belies their component parts: individual tiny stitches, which combine to form great swathes of colour, painterly backgrounds incorporating rich hues and metallic sheen.” Sara Roberts