nogozones project

women at night

“YOU SHOULDN’T BE THERE”

These short audio clips are peep-holes into a women-only space. The artist Ana Laura Lopez de la Torre had invited women to her studio in South London for an evening of sharing night-time perspectives and stories, and to celebrate International Women’s Week. You can hear Lottie Child contribute experiences from 24hrs urban walks (www.malinky.org), Rachel Anderson about Reclaim the Night marches (www.reclaimthenight.org), Ann Distin about walking the streets of Berdmonsey at night, and Ana Laura about Olive Morris (http://rememberolivemorris.wordpress.com/). 7 March 2008
http://www.archive.org/details/no-go-zones_676
01 ’cause you shouldn’t be there (0:34)
02 birds of chance (1:04)
03 exclusion zones (1:32)
04 keeping quiet (0:30)
05 next level (1:07)
06 panic alarm (0:37)
07 reclaim the night (2:02)
08 singing at night (0:46)
09 women only (0:51)
10 on top (0:36)

Rachel Anderson talks about Reclaim the Night - photo by Lucia Pizzani
PC Amber Colget handed out free panick alarms and was at hand to answer questions - photo by Ana Laura

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1 Comment »

  1. Thanks Claudia for all the work you have done, the sound clips are great and really give a flavour of the evening discussions. I am adding some personal notes about the presentations below:

    “This was the first Night Salon I held at my studio in Peckham. In total 25 women came to the event. It was a very diverse group, culturally but also in age, which was really exciting as there are not many places in London where young and old people can meet on an equal footing. A lot of the women who came were involved in creative activities themselves, but there were also some local residents who found out about the event through the International Women’s Week brochure.

    The evening started with an informal questions and answers with PC Amber Colget. As women arrived, she was at hand to answer their questions about safety at night, and about her role and duties as a female police officer. PC Colget also brought a number of leaflets and a box of free panic alarms that were quickly snatched.

    The presentations were very informal. As there is no seating in the studio, women had to sit on the carpet. This created a relaxed atmosphere, with women swapping places to accommodate latecomers, and getting up to serve food to the group.

    Artist Lottie Child made the first presentation, and spoke about her practice, and her interest in exploring how the city shapes us, but also how we can shape the city with our behaviour. Lottie showed images and talked about her ongoing Street Training project, that is structured around people’s suggestions on how to walk The Path of Safety and The Path of Joy. She also talked about her recent trip to Brazil, where she attempted to sleep in the streets at daytime, in an exploration of trust, risk and her own ability to let go of her worries and fears. Women responded to her presentation sharing thoughts on what make them feel vulnerable and what can you do to feel safer or stronger.

    Next came Rachel Anderson’s presentation. Rachel is an artist, art educator and activist, and opened her talk reminding us that night-time has traditionally been female, and that the night has been historically connected with women-sharing and coming together. In her opinion the modern exclusion of women from the public arena at night-time is a deliberate attempt to take this power away from us.

    Rachel talked about her involvement in Reclaim the Night, a women’s march to protest violence against women. This women’s march was popular in the 1970s, and was effective in raising rates of conviction after reported rapes, which have since dropped again to a dismaying 5.7%. The group discussed the positive sense of power that marching in large groups can inspire in individuals. Rachel reminded us that – as was shown by the anti-war marches – walking together does not necessarily lead to political change, and shared some inspiring stories about her recent move towards direct peaceful action.

    We continued chatting, eating, drinking, and learning more about women’s history and about each other till late. Nadjlaa Khalil had on display her growing patchwork of embroidered squares, dedicated to the victims of the war in Iraq. At the end of the evening, we went away into the night, armed with panic alarms, canvas squares to embroider, leaflets, stories, contacts and plenty of inspiration to move forward.”

    Comments left by the women that came along:

    What have you enjoyed most about the evening?

    Meeting people
    The open atmosphere and inspiring tellers
    The strawberries and the whole thing!
    The networking, the diversity, coming to a new place
    Everything! Very inspiring, very stimulating, best organised gig in IWW!
    Being with women sharing
    The talks
    Listening to others, enjoyed it all
    Solidarity, meeting great women, environment, interesting and useful talks
    Rachel Anderson’s presentation and meeting new local creative women
    Inspiring, informative, thought-provoking
    Meeting and listening, talking to other women
    Discovering the wonderful ventures women are involved in
    Be only women, share information, feelings, receive support
    All the talks, the interaction with the others

    Why you think is it important to celebrate International Women’s Week?

    It is important to acknowledge and remind ourselves of the achievements we have made particularly for the new women (young generation).
    Women are harshly under-acknowledged and underappreciated and have very few women-only events.
    To give women a space to feel safe.
    Because women are wonderful.
    To learn, gain confidence, have fun.
    We deserve it!
    Because it is easy to forget about the inequality and prejudice women face
    To enable women to reach equality (if not recognised as superior).
    Because it is a right and women should be celebrated.
    It is an important space to be together, celebrate our union, establish more contacts and work to develop project and reach our dreams.
    Because there is still unfairness towards women.

    Comment by Ana Laura Lopez de la Torre — April 9, 2008 @ 11:57 am


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