Forty Voices, Forty Years was an award winning heritage project led by Welsh Women’s Aid in collaboration with the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling at the University of South Wales during 2018-19.
We recognise that women’s memories, voices and lives are often written out of national heritage
Because of this, we visited women across Wales who had been involved in the Women’s Aid movement over the past 40 years, recording their fascinating stories.
Dr Emily Underwood-Lee, Research Fellow at the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling said of the project:
“We believe that sharing stories enables us to hear the voices of those who have often been omitted from the history books. The stories collected in the Forty Voices, Forty Years project will give us a chance to reflect on who we are, where we have come from and what we want to be. Sharing stories can create community and a greater understanding of one another through listening to the tales that make us who we are.”
Alongside preserving these stories, we also collected objects from people and organisations who had been involved in the movement. Objects included protest banners, handmade posters and t-shirts, leaflets from past years and more.
The stories and collected materials were showcased in the Forty Voices, Forty Years touring exhibition, a full final exhibition at St Fagan’s Museum and have been preserved in an online gallery hosted by the People’s Collection Wales. You can also view past venues visited here:
This project commemorated the work of these women over the past forty years, but also enhances understanding of the movement to stop violence against women in Wales, improving community knowledge about these types of abuse and our work to prevent it. We also wanted to encourage reflection on our future priorities as a movement through our Future 40 campaign, as we work towards our shared goal of eradicating violence against women once and for all. Dr Emily Underwood-Lee was awarded the University of South Wales Impact Award 2019 for Best Impact on Culture, Heritage and the Arts.
A final project report has now been published summarising the project’s impact, including:
We are grateful for the generous support of our funders enabling this project to go ahead, including Heritage Lottery Fund, the Big Lottery Fund’s National Lottery Awards for All and Hanfod Cymru.