Arts events explore role of women in civil rights in Derry

Bernadette McAliskey (nee Devlin) pictured here during the Battle of the Bogside in Derry in 1969.
Bernadette McAliskey (nee Devlin) pictured here during the Battle of the Bogside in Derry in 1969.

The role of women in the civil rights movement in Derry will be explored in separate arts events at The Playhouse and Void galleries in the city this weekend.

Veteran rights campaigner Bernadette McAliskey will open artist Helen Cammock’s solo exhibition at The Void Gallery at 7pm this evening on the 50th anniversary of the first march in Derry on October 5, 1968.

Artist Helen Cammock with Bernadette McAliskey.

Artist Helen Cammock with Bernadette McAliskey.

The artist has created a new film work, The Long Note, which explores the history and role of women in the civil rights movement in the city.

A spokesperson for the exhibition said the complexities of the politics in Northern Ireland have overshadowed the social history of the region, and women’s history more specifically. The Long Note is a partial move towards redressing this disparity, and runs at Void until December 15..

Shouting in Whispers (2017) will be exhibited alongside the new work.

Meanwhile, at 7pm tomorrow in The Playhouse, ‘More Female Lines – Reflections on 1968’ features an anthology of 13 women writers, poets and playwrights from N. Ireland have volunteered readings, to reflect on ’68 in their work. A spokesperson said some of the women were present at the time, others accompanied parents on civil rights marches, but most of them did not while all wish to insert women’s voices into the narrative. The 13 are: Medbh McGuckian, Paula Cunningham, Grainne Tobin, Cherry Smyth, Rosemary Jenkinson, Jean Bleakney, Anne Devlin, Sheena Wilkinson, Wendy Erskine, Maureen Boyle, Moyra Donaldson and Julieann Campbell. Tickets are priced £5 and can be booked via www.nicivilrights.org/events/civil-rights-festival/
A free ‘Voices of ’68’ exhibition will also be taking place in Waterloo Place Building from today through to Sunday. The National Museums NI’s new exhibition encourages a fresh look at this crucial period in history, expressed in the words of some of those most directly involved. A ‘Speeches, Strikes and Struggles’ exhibition will be unveiled in Ebrington at 5.30 p.m. today.