The Ballad of 18 Women

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The Ballad of 18 Women

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Women in Action was an arts and heritage project, led by Collective Encounters in 2020-2022, that used drama and creativity to celebrate women’s resilience, activism and community organising across Merseyside. The Ballad of 18 Women is the major final outcome of the project, incorporating testimonies recorded in oral history interviews as well as poetic narration and original music and song.

This radio ballad highlights the stories of 18 Merseyside women to give an insight into the incredible contributions women make every day to improve lives in our region. Woven together, they give a glimpse of the multitude of positive actions that hold, nurture and empower our communities.

The 18 women share a concern for fairness and social justice, but their causes, actions and impacts are many and varied. Some would not consider themselves to be ‘activists’, but all have given of themselves to help others and in doing that have made the world a better place. The radio ballad pulls some common threads from their stories; the archive collection (available online or on request) offers the full recording for each person, showing the richness of their individual contributions.

We hope the ballad and recordings will inspire new women activists, as well as sustain, celebrate and encourage those who are already working for change: it is a homage to these 18 women and to you.

Written by Sarah Thornton
Composed by Bethany Kay Hopkins
Directed by Tessa Buddle
Sound Design by Karen Lauke
Artwork by Doriscakes Creates

Featuring the voices of:
Alma Brown, Anna Reid, Anne Gorton, Anya Chapman, Chantelle Lunt, Clara Paillard, Doreen McNally, Felicity Dowling, Imogen Woolley, Johanna Schweier, June Hudson, Keith Barber, Libby Mackay, Lois Woolley, Lynda Cash, Maddy Vaz, Margaret Mariette, Mary O’Sullivan, Olivia Graham, Terri Heldt, Tracey Dunn, Zi Lan Liao

The Ballad of 18 Women was made possible thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, PH Holt Foundation, Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services, Arts Council England and Liverpool City Council.

Click here to explore the full interviews with the 18 women.

The Ballad of 18 Women is also available as a podcast on Spotify, Google, Apple, or wherever you get your podcasts.