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Every Woman

Herstory, the Irish women’s storytelling movement, has partnered with The Stairlings as well as RTÉ, Underground Films, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum and the BAI to create the Herstory 20/20 Project. A storytelling platform like no other, the project uncovers fascinating women’s stories from history, mythology and contemporary culture.

The EveryWoman Project is a celebration of trans women and non-binary femme identifying folk in Ireland designed by young trans women to create a positive representation of trans people, to inspire confidence in others and to develop relationships with other members of their community. It’s an opportunity to say ’thank you’ for the community spirit which these women do so much to sustain, and to recognise the need for positive representation, which in turn helps to make life tolerable, happy and fulfilled for the younger generation.

The Stairlings Collective themselves are an intergenerational LGBT+ history research collective initiated by artist Alisha Doody in 2018. Central to the EveryWoman project are Alexandra Hall and Jules Farrell. The Collective shared that the women being celebrated in this event are representative of a community who have faced exclusion from Irish society but still act as a beacon of hope for others who may be struggling.

Alisha Doody shared the genesis of the exhibition: “Previous to this, we worked on a project called From the Past to the Present...But the Future?? This project was our way of connecting with LGBT+ history so that we could better understand our own situations and how we might like our futures to look. Part of this was bringing older members of the community to talk to us and discuss their experiences. Together we performed a very short spoken word piece to a select audience, but really the culmination of this part of our work together was a workshop which we ran in the Museum of Contemporary Photography of Ireland. On that day we had speakers from the community and then collage making and badge-making with the participants. In fact, for the collage making we actually used GCN magazines!

“Following on from this, we talked about the stories that we had heard, in particular Claire Farrell who talked about setting up Friends of Eon. We knew wanted to make more work together and we toyed around with the idea of making a short-film about Claire, but we were also interested in the Herstory Ireland project and what we could do for more inclusive representation within this. It was really interesting to us that the open call actually highlighted the festival being about a more democratic representation of women in Ireland. For us, that needed to include trans women and non-binary femme folk. And, that’s really how it started.

"We photographed Sara R Phillips and Keeva Lilith Carroll in TENI because we knew them from our previous work and from this we went about sending in our proposal to Herstory Ireland.

The women being celebrated in this event are representative of a community who have faced exclusion from Irish society but still act as a beacon of hope for others who may be struggling...

Martina Ferrari

“TENI have been a massive support to this project and they have shared our poster and flyer through their network. Thankfully we’ve had a really positive response since then. But we’ve also reached out to our own networks and to those people that we thought would like to participate.

“For younger people growing up and feeling like they are diff erent, not knowing if there is anyone else like them, it is extremely important to have positive representation because to see who you are reflected back at you can really ease that burden of feeling like an outsider. It’s massive for us to imagine giving these women a national platform, people who we believe deserve to see themselves lit up in the beautiful courtyard of the National Museum in Collins Barracks because it isn’t just about these people (who we admire) seeing themselves...It’s also really about the people that can see themselves in these women.

Sara R Phillips

It is extremely important to have positive representation because to see who you are reflected back at you can really ease that burden of feeling like an outsider...

“Essentially, this project is a declaration of existence [saying] that these people are not going to wait until people are comfortable for them to be the multi-faceted and beautiful trans/non-binary femme folk individuals that they are.”

The EveryWoman exhibition will take place in the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin on Saturday February 1 from 7pm-9pm

This article appears in the 362 Issue of GCN

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This article appears in the 362 Issue of GCN