Women and girls are being celebrated in a free exhibition and special event in County Durham next month.
For International Women‘s Day, Bishop Auckland Town Hall will host a number of talks from women in the arts industry on Monday 6 March, following the arrival of the Being Inbetween exhibition, which displays the transition from child to adult.
Visitors can look forward to a series of powerful photographic portraits, made over a period of six years, of girls aged between 10 and 12.
Driven by personal experience, award-winning photographer Carolyn Mendelsohn has worked with almost 100 girls who are navigating this complex period in their lives.
Curated by the Impressions Gallery, Bradford, Mendelsohn’s aim is to give these girls an opportunity to reclaim their personal identity, rather than being described as ‘tweens’, and encourages a dialogue about their ambitions, aspirations, hopes and fears.
Members of the public can view the free exhibition until Saturday 13 May, with the gallery open Monday to Saturday from 10am until 4pm.
To coincide with this, a special event celebrating women in the arts will also take place at the venue on International Women’s Day (Wednesday 8 March) at 10am.
Unseen and Unheard will be hosted by the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham Sue Snowdon. It will feature talks from Carolyn as well as participants from the Missing Women project, an exhibition created by young people from Bishop Auckland alongside professional artists. There will also be talks from Kate Gorman, of Creative Youth Opportunities, and Jill Cole, CEO of Northern Heartlands.
Cllr Elizabeth Scott, Cabinet member for economy and partnerships, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate women and girls and to mark International Women’s Day. It’s so important that all females are given a voice and encouraged to share their thoughts, feelings and hopes.
“We are really pleased to welcome the exhibition and to hear from some incredibly successful women in the arts as part of Unseen and Unheard. We hope these will prove thought-provoking and inspiring and we look forward to welcoming the work of many more inspirational women in the future.”
Following Unseen and Unheard, audiences will have the opportunity to view Being Inbetween, as well as a response exhibition, Missing Women.
Missing Women is a collaborative project led by the council, Creative Youth Opportunities and The Auckland Project, working with young people from Auckland Youth and Community Centre, Ash Green Way Traveller Site, St John’s Catholic School and Sixth Form College and Parkside Academy.
The exhibition aims to give a voice to the women whose lives go unrecorded in the 13 biblical portraits by Francisco de Zurbaran, depicting Jacob and his 12 sons, which hang in Auckland Castle.
In addition to the event and exhibitions at Bishop Auckland Town Hall, attendees of the International Women’s Day event can attend Auckland Castle to see the portraits of the missing women in the context of the paintings.
There is also an exhibition in No.42, in the market place, created by young people, telling the story of the Missing Women project and a walking tour of Bishop Auckland exploring the stories of women of the town.
Tickets for Unseen and Unheard cost £3 and must be booked in advance. To find out more about the event and the Being Inbetween exhibition, visit www.bishopaucklandtownhall.org.uk
For a full range of events taking place across County Durham to celebrate International Women’s Day, visit www.durham.gov.uk/IWDevents.