February 19, 2018

On Thursday 8th of February, our Bookish Broads were invited to the Bolton Octagon Theatre to watch Jane Eyre, courtesy of Manchester Airports Group. None of our group had ever visited the Octagon Theatre before and a couple had never ventured to Bolton, so it was a night of firsts! Before the play started, we were treated to complementary drinks and snacks in the hospitality suite, which helped us to forget the dreary Mancunion rain outside.

As we took our seats in the beautiful Octagon Theatre, we were met by Elizabeth Newman, Artistic Director, who explained that Jessica Baglow who usually played Jane Eyre, had sadly taken ill. In true theatre spirit, the company rallied together, deciding that 'the show must go on'. Newman took to the stage to play Jane Eyre, and did so magnificently. From her first line, to the iconic "I am no bird; and no net ensnares me", Newman triumphed. The final, enthusiastic applause, was filled with disbelief that this was not her day job! Like Jane Eyre, t...

February 13, 2018

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.

January 24, 2018

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!

January 18, 2018

After our successful salsa night we decided to get a bit more crafty with a ceramic workshop. The Clay Studio in Hulme is a ceramic/pottery studio who, as well as providing a shared workspace for their members, also offer weekly courses, one-off workshops, and throwing classes. We contacted them to see if they would be willing to host a class especially for Manchester WI, and together decided that a "coiled jug" would be just the thing!

Coiled pots are constructed by gradually stacking and joining coils of clay (think long thin sausages!) one on top of the other on top of a clay base. The coils can be left visible or can be smoothed away depending on your desired aesthetic end result. Sarah, our instructor for the workshop, first showed us a selection of images and a few "here's some we made earlier" jugs to give us a few ideas. Then after a demonstration of the various techniques we needed to know, and a bit of sketching/planning, it was time to cut out a clay base and start rolling!

We...

January 16, 2018

We set up the Lady Skillers as a platform to explore skill sharing opportunities between our lovely members, taster sessions of new activities, and workshops where we could learn new skills outside of the monthly meetings. I find that sometimes people can be put off doing things that they might love to try because its daunting to go solo! This way people can make new friends, who have similar interests i.e dancing, ceramics, jewellery making, who they can then continue going with after the event (if they are so inclined!)  

Our first venture was a Salsa class with Cuba Café, who hold beginner and improver classes in the basement of Stage & Radio NQ on a Wednesday evening. First we started off with a few basic moves to warm up, and then we partnered up with current salsa class members, who had come along especially to help, so we could put a couple of steps into action. 

So to summarise- we picked up a few moves, got a bit sweaty, and had a lot of fun being twirled around the dancefloor...

November 6, 2017

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...

October 12, 2017

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...

September 13, 2017

We're a creative bunch here at Manchester WI, with lots of crafty members. Therefore we could think of no better way to introduce ourselves, than with a follow up issue to our popular Zine! 

Last month we enjoyed a workshop hosted by Cherry Styles of the Chapess Zine. Cherry started making fanzines when she was a teenager, so has bags of expertise to share. 

After having a go at making our own mini zines, we set our sights on making a second issue, which will highlight our members and showcase their artistic skills.

We'd love to involve as many of our group as possible in the project, so if you'd like to take part then please contact us via the Facebook Group.
 

We'll keep you posted with updates as we go!
 

September 6, 2017

Photos by Lucy Birks

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...

August 4, 2017

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...

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