Saturday, 12 November 2011

Biography Project

First big project of term - everyone in the group was to pick names of various influential people out of a hat. We each had to research our person's life, work and philosophy, and eventually refine and use this information to produce a creative outcome. I picked Emmeline Pankhurst - the leader of the suffragettes. I spent time looking into Pankhurst's beliefs, and the lengths that she went to in order to gain votes for women.

One of the things I found most interesting was the violent protests that Suffragettes took part in, to fight for what they believed. Women for the first time would step out, chaining themselves to the gates at parliament, vandalising, and even sustaining hunger strikes when arrested. I was immediately able to link this to the protests we have seen in recent times, which made me begin to look further into the nature of protest in general. 

Comparisons are easily made between protests almost 100 years apart.
I thought that Pankhurst's quote - 'The argument of the broken window pane is the most valuable argument in modern politics' sums up the beliefs of the suffragettes, so I felt for my final outcome I wanted to include this message. I then looked into ways I could portray the message. This is what I came up with: 
I felt that this message presented in cross stitch added ironic effect, as a hobby usually associated with the traditional housewife is completely contradicted with a message of outbreak and protest against the expectations of women at the time.

Although Pankhurst was successful with gaining the vote, women's rights are still an issue present in society today, I decided I wanted to take my cross stitch to places where I felt Pankhurst would be if she was still alive and protesting today. So I went to parliament, and hung it to the gates. The guards weren't too happy..

I feel like the project could have gone a little bit further, but do think I successfully refined my research to a point of interest, and produced a final outcome which sums up the beliefs and philiosophy of Pankhurst. 

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