As the Dundee Women’s Festival 2014 gets under way we chat to the brains behind the event to get all the juicy details.
The annual festival was set up to champion women’s culture, identities and lives. Through a series of events, exhibitions, lectures, conventions and classes, the festival aims to bring about social change as the gender pay gap still stands at 15%.
The city-wide celebration of women commemorates the lives of remarkable women and some of the world’s leading female experts, including Sue Black, Val McDermid, Alyson Leslie and Niamh NicDaeid will be taking part.
This year’s event has been given a theme of 'Women’s Rights, Roles and Responsibilities' and the first day of festivities gets under way today with four separate events including a photography exhibition, a Reiki convention and two lectures from leading experts.
Ahead of what is sure to be yet another exciting and informative event we chatted to a Mary Henderson, a member of the Dundee Women’s Festival, to get a bit more information.
Hi Mary, could you tell us a little about the festival and how it started?
It originated with International Women’s Day which is an annual event on March 8. People in the area started thinking that we should do something to celebrate it and basically a few others started saying the same. So it’s just grown and grown over many years.
Who was the driving force behind it?
It grew out of DVA which used to be the Council of Social Services. Basically we thought it would be a good idea and it’s grown from there. We are committed to working across a wide range of issues and with different groups in the community.
What can people expect from the festival?
Well there’s 66 different events being held at 26 different venues. Some of them are exhibitions, there’s a quiz night, you can even try Nordic walking. There are a lot of things happening really, some of them are a bit more serious and some are just fun things.
You can get henna drawn on your hands or learn about Lilly Walker, even find out how people solve crimes and discuss what an independent Scotland would be like for women. It’s happening in the city centre and many community centres round about the city.
When does it run from?
It starts on the first of March and comes to a close on the 24th of March.
Any famous faces?
We’ve got Professor Sue Black OBE from the forensic department at the University of Dundee and she’s one of the leading experts in her field. We’ll also have Alyson Leslie who is an expert in childcare inquiries and international crime writer Val McDermid – they’re all leading women in their own fields.
What sort of crowd is the festival aimed at?
“It is aimed mainly at women but not exclusively for them. Some events are probably only for women but not many of them – you should come down a give it a try. Learn how to make curry, do some exercise, learn something or just get some henna done.”
What would you say is the biggest difference from last year?
“Well it’s bigger this year that’s for sure. There are quite a lot of crime events this year which is a bit different. Also we’ve tried to make to make everything that we can free to encourage participation.”
For a full list of the festival’s events check the online version of its programme or for more information head to the website.