Victorian Women Vote 1908-2008
Victorian Women Vote 1908-2008: An overview of the centenary arts grants
Video by Sophie Boord
Office of Women's Policy and Arts Victoria
In this video Angela Bourke and Mary Bereux from the Office of Women's Policy discuss the range of arts and community projects funded to celebrate 100 years of the women's vote in Victoria.
Artists and community organisations featured in the video include: the Australian Girls Choir, Dallas Neighbourhood House Association, Bindi Cole, Fern Smith and Ursula Dutkiewicz.
Angela Bourke, Office of Women’s Policy: When we first started thinking about suffrage, what we wanted to do was to make it relevant to people today. What we decided to do was to go out with a grant program, just to find out what people actually thought about suffrage, or what does it mean – what does it mean to your community? That gave us a whole range of different projects: research projects (they include a grants program); there’s a fabulous new art installation; there’s been development of curriculum materials. So there’s been a whole lot of different ways to actually think about and talk about what does suffrage mean – what does it mean that women have had the vote for 100 years in Victoria? The amazing thing with the grants was that you actually sort of thought that the response would be interesting but fairly limited. But in fact, what we’ve found is that people responded in all sorts of different ways.
The Art of Suff-RAGE, Ursula Dutkiewicz and Fern Smith Celebrate the Centenary of Women’s Suffrage…votes for women…free newspaper. The Art of Suff-RAGE is a travelling art installation, which travels around all over Victoria through this centenary, and maybe into the future. So it’s the banners…ten banners made by Fern, and 100 ceramic suffragettes. We dress up as roving suffragettes. We have our newspaper and we can also run workshops, which we’ve done…a couple of events so far.
Out Loud and Heard, Gay Hawkes, Dallas Neighbourhood House Association We’ve had people coming and going a bit, but this is the core of the group who are working on the six banners we’re doing, and the stitching and painting and design work that’s a celebration of the fact that women got the vote 100 years ago. We wanted to show that women…you know…were strong and that they were joyful about that.
Bindi Cole: Jirra Lulla Harvey invited myself and another artist called Lorraine Connelly-Northey to create a body of work. We looked at women’s suffrage through Aboriginal eyes and what that meant to Indigenous women and how it affected them. I went away and came up with a number of ideas for images, and then I came back and spoke with Jirra and Lorraine about those again, and then Lorraine went and made sculptural objects that could then be part of those images as well.
Mary Bereux, Office of Women’s Policy: This is a project that was based on the 1891 Monster Petition. We got calico banners and the idea was for them to travel round the State, come back to us and we’d send them out again for people to sign. Every time a banner goes out there’s usually a story in the local paper, so then people read about it and request one. So this one’s from Marion College, and that’s a school in Sunshine, in Melbourne’s west. This is the Certified Practicing Accountant who requested a banner for an event they had. This banner here I just got back this morning and it’s from Ouyen, from their Great Vanilla Slice Triumph.
Angela Bourke: So it really varied. It just shows you, I think, that a lot of these milestones for women are actually still really very much in people’s mind. It’s not just about the past. It’s actually…you know…a lot of these things are being hard fought now.