The Women’s Community Empowerment project was a partnership with Shantona Women’s Centre.

There were three strands to the work; Community Messengers, Voices and Voice and Influence.  The work has brought together South Asian, African and Eastern European women, from the Harehills and Chapeltown areas of Leeds, to help them gain confidence, learn new skills, voice their experiences, hear each other’s stories about issues that affect them and convey information to other women through their own informal networks.  The initial project idea came from women who had disclosed violence but accepted it as ‘normal’ behaviour and did not recognise emotional or other abuse as violence.

For the Voices part of the work, the women attended workshops around visual art, photography and creative writing to equip them with the tools to narrate their stories in a creative way.   They then exhibited their work in various venues around East Leeds.  The exhibition explored the emotional impact of art as a language which crosses cultural, economic and social lines and the women came together to create and use art as a tool to express their stories about abuse.  It was their lived experiences of abuse and violence that united and inspired them and they hoped that their work in the exhibition would engage and inspire women to share thier own artistic stories.

Click here to view their finished pieces.