Living Knowledge blog

27 February 2020

Coming soon – Unfinished Business: The Fight For Women’s Rights

IMG_6065-UB-tapestryThis April will see the opening of our next major exhibition Unfinished Business: The Fight for Women’s Rights. Anyone visiting St Pancras from this week will see the posters that have appeared around the site, and the spectacular tapestry that has gone up in the Entrance Hall (pictured).

This exciting exhibition explores how contemporary – and indeed ongoing – struggles for gender equality and liberation in the UK have their roots in the long and fascinating history of women’s activism and campaigning.

We decided to programme this exhibition following the brilliant celebrations which took place at many institutions as part of the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act. Although that milestone legislation gave some women in the UK the right to vote (and this was subsequently extended to all women in 1928), the wider fight for women’s rights is unfinished business, and the conversation did not end – or begin – there.

Bringing together items ranging from personal diaries, letters, banners and protest fashion, to subversive literature, film, music and art, Unfinished Business will show how women and their allies have imagined and demanded a better world with passion, imagination, humour and tenacity, putting women’s voices at the heart of the exhibition.

We know that one exhibition, however ambitious, cannot possibly tell all the stories associated with this riveting history and ongoing fights, but Unfinished Business does provide a tantalising snapshot of key moments, people and movements to encourage conversations and debates about which other stories should also be told.

Through the exhibition, our associated events programme and new podcast series, we will explore how women have campaigned for a fairer world, recognising how inequality is unequally experienced depending on people’s race, gender expression and social class. We hope visitors will take the chance to contribute their own voice, share their experiences and propose the changes they would like to see.

We will be revealing more details about the exhibition and how we are bringing it together over the coming months, with input from a fantastic curatorial team, our staff networks, and the exhibition’s advisory panel. We hope you will join us on this journey and let us know your thoughts on the fight for women’s rights – its past, present and future.

Liz Jolly

Chief Librarian