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Make more noise for the suffragettes

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A Lancashire library will host a virtual reality event this week on the same day 100 years ago that women were first allowed to vote in UK national elections.

Make Noise will be held at Longton Library on Friday 14 December from 10am to 12 noon, and from 2pm to 4pm.

Combining VR and voice technology, Make Noise allows viewers to listen to the suffragettes telling their stories in their own voices. People taking part will then be able to use their own voice to participate and break through the barriers faced by the suffragettes during their struggle to win the vote for women.

Participants will be able to speak, hum, sing and shout along with actor Nikki Amuka-Bird, who narrates the experience, to change their virtual world.

People will be transported to a number of abstract worlds that represent the stages of the suffragettes’ struggle, and to use their own voice to speak up to influence the situation.

Using original archive material, the voices of real-life suffragettes including Edith Pepper, Charlotte Drake, Charlotte Marsh, Mary Richardson, Lillian Lenton, Victoria Liliard, Grace Roe and Elizabeth Dean are heard during the experience.

County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “This virtual reality project will take people back through time, to experience the past as never before.

“This experience should be very dramatic. Make Noise uses voice technology in an innovative way so that you are able to walk in the shoes of the suffragettes, face the challenges that they did and use your voice to change the situation.

“I imagine that this is empowering, profound and yet fun. I hope that people follow Emmeline Pankhurst’s advice to take part and make more noise.”

This event forms part of the Vote 100 campaign celebrating the milestone of Parliament passing a law, the Representation of People Act 1918, which allowed women over 30, and all men, to vote for the first time.

This year is also the centenary of the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918 which allowed women to become MPs. In December 2018 it will be 100 years since the first general election in which women voted in the UK.

Taking part in this event is only suitable for people over 13, because of the VR equipment manufacturer’s guidelines. Young people aged 13 to 15 will need written parental consent to participate.

The 10 minute sessions are free to attend but booking is essential as places are limited.

Call 0300 123 6703 to book a place, email Longton.library@lancashire.gov.uk or call in at the library.

Anyone who lives in the UK can join a Lancashire library, either online or by visiting in person. Membership is free and there are no age restrictions.

For more information, go to www.lancashire.gov.uk/libraries.

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