‘Book of Belles’ celebrates women’s lives and creativity

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An ornate, decorative project created by local women’s groups, ‘The Book of Belles’ will be launched to coincide with the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day this coming Tuesday, March 8,

The launch of this wonderful anthology will take place in the Derry Women’s Centre at 12 noon on Tuesday and it is thought the book will then travel to several cultural venues through the month of March.

The Book of Belles has been described as “a beautiful and inspirational testament to women’s lives past, present and future.” Within its pages, local women have celebrated the female figures who have inspired them through artwork, poetry or textiles.

The programme was co-ordinated this year through the ‘Women Building Bridges’ project which includes a coalition of Women’s Groups in the city - including Derry Women’s Centre, Eden Place Arts Centre, The Tower Museum, Waterside Women’s Centre worked with local artist Roisin O Donnell and co-ordinator Ruth Moore undertaking the ‘Book of Belles’ as a commemorative Women Building Bridges project.

100 years ago, International Women’s Day was launched as women took to the streets in Eastern Europe, in a form of protest at the failure to recognise women’s labour and extend the vote to women. In the UK, the Equal Franchise Act 1928 gave all women the vote on the same terms as men.

The idea for the Book of Belles emerged from the multi cultural arts group in The Women’s Centre from a desire to celebrate women whilst showcasing women’s creativity with each individual piece being a personal tribute to a woman loved and remembered.

Collectively the Book of Belles bears testament to the diversity of women with connections to the city, as well as to women’s resilience, compassion, determination and visionary spirit.

An interesting twist being that the Book of Belles idea emerges in a city which had its own connections to St Columba and draws in a creative way on the ‘Book of Kells’ (once described as the ‘gospel of Columcille’); a book that was, given the times, scribed by men! .

Further information on the Book of Belles project and International Women’s Day Celebration can be found on: www.thewomenscentre.co.uk and: www.internationalwomensday.com

Launch Event - ‘Book of Belles’ at Derry Women’s Centre on Tuesday, March 8 at 12 noon. (Contact Rayna on 71. 267672)

The Maiden’s City Project: Herstory tour of the Walled City (by Anne Crilly) - Meeting at The Women’s Centre on Tuesday, March 8 at 2pm, and again on Saturday, March 12 at 1pm.

Welcome Event & Discussion on Motherhood, Feminism and Art at Eden Place Arts Centre, Pilot’s Row on Tuesday, March 15, at 7pm. (Contact Judi Logue on 71. 269418)

Welcome Event at Tower Museum on Tuesday, March 22 at 12 noon. (Contact Reception. Sylvia Kavanagh on 71. 372411)

Welcome Event at Waterside Women’s Centre on Tuesday, March 29 at 12 noon. (Contact Geraldine/Rosemary on 71. 341579)