Women’s History Week in the Sophia Duleep Singh Library

To mark the centenary of the Representation of the Peoples Act (1918), the first wave of legislation that enfranchised women in the UK, the Sophia Duleep Singh Library hosted its first Women’s History Week.

Pupils at Ark Elvin were invited to participate in three events that would explore the themes of Activism and Social Change. Each event would aim to provide pupils with three alternative histories of the women-led social movements that pushed for change in the 20th century.

Our library was first visited by Sue Lemos, a researcher who led pupils through a Black History Workshop afterschool.

In her presentation she spoke to our pupils about the Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent (OWAAD) and their anti-racist approach to resisting sexism in the 1980s. Pupils were then given time to reflect on the presentation and engage in conversation with our guest about Black History and conducting research at University. The discussions were fascinating and gave pupils the space to discuss ‘Black History’ and interrogate terms such as ‘Intersectionality’, ‘Herstory’ and ‘Political Blackness’. 

On Wednesday, Ms Movsisyan led an art workshop in the library that allowed pupils to explore the imagery and iconography used by women-led social movements in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Pupils were then given time to analyse these images and think about how they would create their own artwork, about causes that they care about.

On Friday, author and lecturer, Shahida Rahman, visited our library to lecture on the History of Sophia Duleep Singh and the Asian women involved in the Suffragette movement in the UK during the early 20th century.

Pupils engaged in an exciting dialogue with Shahida Rahman, asking excellent questions Sophia Duleep Singh, ways of study history, and the importance of representation in history. Pupils enjoyed the chance to discuss these topics with esteemed author and lecturer, Shahida Rahman.