Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

Silver Action Tate Modern event on older women activists

Posted in OLDER WOMEN ACTIVISTS IN SILVER ACTION AT TATE MODERN. by sheelanagigcomedienne on February 4, 2013

I went to Silver Action on Sunday 3rd February 2013 at TATE MODERN. I was disappointed at the lack of publicity and being unable to hear the women speak. It seemed ironic that we could’nt hear the older women speak and it seemed like a deliberate attempt to exemplify how older women voices are not heard as the theme was about women’s activism when we were younger and not about our actions NOW!!


I read about it in the Guardian and noticed that my friend Ann Rossiter was mentioned. Ann is a dedicated and dogged campaigner especially in the long campaign for abortion/women’s fertility rights for Irish women in the, north, south and east and west of Ireland. Ann was at a table of seven women which included Valerie Wise who is NOT  yet sixty but who became chair of the GLC Women’s committe and represented Battersea south.

Valerie wise

Tate Modern’s women’s liberation army | Art and design | The

Sitting at card tables in groups of four, the women will discuss what first spurred them to become politically active, and what still drives them now. Audiences, moving around the tables, will be able to listen in or read transcripts of the conversations, blogged and tweeted as they speak, and projected on to the walls. In another area, dubbed the “kitchen table”, eight of Britain’s most prominent feminist thinkers – including Irish abortion campaigner Ann Rossiter, and Gillian Hanna, actor and co-founder of feminist theatre company The Monstrous Regiment – will discuss their thoughts about women’s activism, its legacy and its future.

Hundreds of women over the age of sixty converged on The Tanks at Tate Modern to participate in Suzanne Lacy’s new participatory artwork, Silver Action, a live and unscripted performance of staged conversations. Women from across the UK who took part in significant activist movements and protests from the 1950s to 80s have been invited to share their personal stories in a series of workshops, culminating in this day-long public performance.

Diverse groups of women will discuss their experiences and the impact and results of their actions and live documentation of the conversations – film, social media and text – will be projected on to the walls of The Tanks and out into the digital world through the Twitter tag #silveraction.

Silver Action explores current themes in social and political discourse and the role of personal commitment in influencing the public agenda through the activist histories of British women, many of whom are now in, or entering, old age and facing new challenges. It champions the inclusion and social relevance of older women and offers new ways of looking at the ageing experience and the role of women in social transformation.

Here is the email I sent to TATE Members

I want to complain about the lack of publicity to members about the Silver Action event on Sunday 3rd.  Had I known about it I would have wanted to participate. Perhaps you need to do a follow up one for your women members who were activists either in conjucnction with the event or separately.
I do not no yet what I think of it because, like most people there, I could scarcely hear any of the speakers. Some of us remarked how older women’s voices are not heard and this exemplified it!

Age of Creativity | Suzanne Lacy – Silver Action – Participatory



SUZANNE LACEY : ‘Equally important is the impact of the project on the women participants: how questions are raised and the conversation is nurtured within public life. We start with Silver Action on 3 February, and we continue to build this conversation Southbank Centre’s Women of the World Conference and with the Sussex University and British Library’s Sisterhood and After: The Women’s Liberation Oral History Project. Stay tuned for more.

Here is a revealing tweetmiriam drysdale@miriamclare @RuthHecht we , the oldies, weren’t allowed to tweet at the event. That was done by the young girls at each table! Lol #silveraction



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