Our July meeting was our last at Chetham's School of Music so was the end of an era! We've been busy sorting out plans for our move to The Federation in September so keep your eyes on our social media to find out all the details.
The theme for the July meeting was Body Kindness: we had a talk from Exactly Ourselves, a multimedia project by Elsie Swannick and Abigail Evans from Manchester that describes itself as an 'ode to bodies' and focuses on love and insecurities we have about our own bodies. They explained the background to the project, which involved a photography exhibition outside Manchester Art School, and we heard from two of their models about why they wanted to be part of it.
We also watched a video specially made for us by PERKY, an organisation from London who discuss womanhood, the body & sexuality amongst learning-disabled women. This was a valuable opportunity to reflect on the experiences of those who we often ignore or marginalise, and they shared their...
Every May we hold an AGM, which is an important process in the WI calendar. Every WI is overseen by the National Federation of WI (NFWI) and regional federation (Manchester WI is overseen by Lancashire), and we have to adhere to a few processes to remain affiliated. The AGM is also a chance for members to vote on national WI resolutions, which are campaigns that the WI as a whole takes on, and as well as on our president and which charity we will support for the year. There was plenty of cake, tea and prosecco at the meeting as well to help keep everyone occupied!
Current President Shelley gave an update on our finances. We keep a proportion of the membership fees, with the rest going to NFWI and Lancashire Federation. She explained how most of our income is spent on room hire, and how membership fees are vital in order to keep Manchester WI running.
Our March meeting was all about low waste living and how to reduce our use of plastic. We had an inspiring talk by Shelley Brown, who owns The Good Life Heatons, an independent waste-free mini market. She explained her personal story of why she decided to open her store, and about why she stocks particular items. I had no idea of the range of refillable products available these days, including refillable wine!! I'm certainly going to give that one a go.
Our baking theme was low waste, so we filled up on cakes made by members using their store cupboard ingredients during the break.
Charlotte Heyhoe, one of our committee members and Craft Club/Lady Skillers sub-group leaders, posed some questions about how we can all be more conscious consumers. She was inspired to reduce her waste by our meeting last year from the Real Junk Food Project, a catering company using food that would otherwise go to waste. We shared ideas as a group, and she gave us information about shops and charities in Man...
We kicked off the new year in style with masses of food at our first meeting of 2019 and a splendid quiz! Our January meetings are chance to catch up with old friends and for new members to sign up and find out what Manchester WI is all about. Everyone was encouraged to bring some food to share and we were inundated with tasty treats to feed our brains for a quiz about women in 2018. Congratulations to the team who got the fiendishly difficult picture round connection (& hopefully no one else was put off from coming back!). We were able to share all our exciting upcoming events for 2019, including talks on Women in the NHS, Forensic Science, and a sushi making workshop as well our regular sub-groups. Check out all our future events here!
Our meetings take place on the 4th Tuesday of each month at Chetham's School of Music, 7pm for a 7.15pm start. Sign up for membership here or on the night!
You may have noticed us talking about our upcoming collaboration with Runaway Brewery on our social media. We've created a limited edition Lady Grey (W)IPA to mark 100 years since some women were able to vote, and will be launching it in time for International Women's Day! We're really excited to be able to create something locally that celebrates women in slightly different way to traditional perceptions of the WI. The beer will be available in various pubs and bottle shops across Manchester and features our logo on the bottle.
Last week members were invited to go along to Runaway and help with the brewing process. We got stuck in mashing in, weighing out the hops and digging out the mash, and celebrated with a few beers afterwards. It was amazing to be part of the process!
We're holding a launch party on March 10th at Runaway Brewery and everyone is welcome - check out our facebook event for all the details.
Manchester WI kicked off 2018's year of meetings with a relaxed gathering. Announcements for the coming year were plentiful, check out our facebook and events page for details (highlights are our beer launch with Runaway brewery(!!), a silver jewellery workshop and a trip to Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival). There was also a fuddle/pot luck (not a friendly cuddle, but members were encouraged to bring and share food to help catch up with friends and welcome new members). The evening's activity was a pub quiz, complete with prizes to get everyone chatting and in the competitive spirit.
If you're interested in becoming a member of Manchester WI, joining details and online payment can be found here!
We're also looking for help on the committee for the coming year, and help keeping the blog updated! If you're interested, just drop us an email.
Our next meeting is on February 27th, details can be found on the facebook event. Hope to see you there!
October's meeting was based around talking about women's health. I personally love talking about health conditions so was particularly looking forward to this one!
First up we had the brilliant comedian Amy Vreeke, who told us about her struggle with endometriosis and made us laugh with her. Amy's standup show highlights the difficulty many women face getting a correct diagnosis for endometriosis and the life-changing impact the condition has.
And then we were joined by group Every Month Manchester who told us about their amazing work to tackle period poverty. They create period packs containing sanitary products for people experiencing homelessness and poverty in Manchester, distributed via foodbanks, shelters and charities. They currently create 250 packs a month and run entirely on donations. They got us campaigning through writing letters to the council asking them to fund a scheme where sanitary products are free in schools, walk-in centres and sexual health clinics. If yo...
Our September meeting theme was 'Music in Manchester' - whilst I am well aware of the pride Manchester has for it's music scene, I had no idea what to expect from this meeting. When you think of Manchester based musicians the first ones to spring to mind may well be the likes of the Smiths, Oasis, the Happy Mondays, Elbow etc etc etc. Men seem to feature heavily in this list, so it was great to hear about some work going on to promote the contribution of women in music.
First we heard from Natalie McCool, a singer-songwriter and musician who has written with Paul McCartney, collaborated with Beth Orton and won 2013 Female Artist of the Year at the Liverpool Music Awards. She responded to audience questions and treated us to a wonderful set.
We were also joined by Kate Lowes, Head of Programmes at Brighter Sound, who are a charity promoting diversity and supporting women within the music industry. Kate spoke about their recent projects involving collaboration between female musicians and...
Manchester WI were thrilled to be involved in the Manchester Pride parade again this year, marching with four other WIs from around Greater Manchester. Taking place on August bank holiday weekend, Manchester Pride is one of the longest running Pride events in the UK.
This year’s theme was ‘Class of 2017’ which meant we broke out our craft skills and fashioned cardboard mortar boards and decorated gowns! Each WI was assigned a different gown colour so we formed a mini rainbow as we marched. The atmosphere, as always, was inspiring, and we dance-walked the entire hour long parade through the city centre. Thousands of people had come out to watch the parade and we were cheered along for the whole route.
In our June meeting, we crafted pieces of a banner commemorating the Manchester attack, which was carried at the front of our group (below).
To top off an amazing day, the WI won the ‘Spirit of Pride’ award! Huge congratulations go to everyone who was involved in organisin...
This month's meeting was all about preparations for Pride! Manchester WI are proud to be marching in the Manchester Pride parade on August 26th, alongside other WIs from Greater Manchester.
During the meeting, each table was tasked with creating a section of a banner which has been designed to commemorate the victims of the Manchester Arena attack earlier this year. We used a simple appliqué technique (with instructions!) to craft banner sections, and as always there was plenty of cake to help us along.
Also present at the meeting were Kostas Arvanitis from the Centre for Museology (University of Manchester) and BelleVue Productions. They interviewed and filmed members who were involved in the clean-up of teddies left in St Ann's Square after the attack. The aim was to capture volunteers thoughts and reflections, and contributes to a wider project documenting the process and considerations made during the clean-up of tributes left in St Ann's Square, and will form an archive of mat...