2018: We have not gone far enough

2018 will be known as the year we beautified ‘the Cause’. 

I, and most of my peers, have in some shape or guise been working on projects and artworks that speak to the same message; 100 years ago women fought with sword and word for the vote. As we know, it would then a further 9 years for full female emancipation but 2018 has been ordained as the year of memorialising this undeniable significant moment.

And so in 2018, women (and some men) have taken to the theatres, sports fields, TV newsrooms and streets to honour this important centenary with spectacles. The Mayor has a big campaign to support it and for one whole day, Radio 4 had a full female line up on its news programmes. Holy Moly.

I am incredibly proud of what I have achieved this year. Producing YapYapYap at Southbank was no small feat. I have loved supporting Artichoke’s PROCESSIONS and building other brilliant works at the GLA and am currently pitching a women only Midnight Run. These highly creative and accessible projects both mark the anniversary and articulate that the job ain’t quite done yet. 

And there it is. The very thing that is niggling in the back of my mind; we are not being bold enough.

We are drawing, painting, singing, marching, writing, tweeting, colouring in, cutting, dancing, curating and displaying. We are busying ourselves.  And in keeping ourselves busy, we are distracted from the real work before us. 

Spot the party pooper?

Well, yes, a bit. Today’s Processions felt like a landmark moment in which art galvanised one of the most inclusive marches I have seen in a long time.  But it still isn’t far enough. We need to obstruct the accepted order of things. In art alone, we merrily do the work of those in the seats of power, for them. In our creative distractions, the status quo persists.

We need to take our creativity, our organisational skills, our eloquence, our inclusivity and energy - and starting forcing real change; to wages, to child care, to zero contract hours, to male suicide, to (the lack of arts, sex and political) education.

To it all.