Led by Instigate Arts, the event is inspired by the work of the radical, Manchester-born artist and feminist campaigner Annie Swynnerton (1844–1933), whose first retrospective in over a century is on display nearby. Swynnerton had a profound impact on the status of female artists in her home city, and actively challenged conventional notions of female beauty in her work. Her vivid canvases represent women of all ages and backgrounds, and capture the burgeoning sense of female power, strength and hope that marked the turn of the 20th century – a time when women’s roles and opportunities were beginning to change.
Instigate Arts is the Manchester-based progressive social change organisation that co-curated Wonder Women 2017’s Whose Festival is it Anyway?; a powerful panel discussion that asked whether feminist festivals are an act of disruptive activism in their own right?