The founding of Virago Women’s Workshop

The founding of Virago Women’s Workshop

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We are a project space for women and girls to create, learn, share skills and information. We hope this project will become a hub for women in Leeds and across Yorkshire, to drop in for a coffee and a rant, to learn a new skill, to access information, to enjoy company and support of a women only space.
We will engage women and girls in cultural and creative activity to celebrate women and understand our history in Leeds and beyond, thus develop a sense of our own agency and self worth.

Against a backdrop of a cultural climate seemingly hostile to recognition of women as a class of their own, a group of women artists from across Yorkshire began to think about setting up our own studios, where we could express ourselves without being policed. And why stop at studio spaces? Why not our own workshops, meeting rooms library etc etc,?

The studio quest began. So this is where we are now, think old skool 80’s women’s centre….

  • Virago Women’s Workshop Artist workspace
  • Feminist Library
  • Workshops
  • Skill share
  • Meeting room
  • Hot desking

We’ll build on links with groups and services across the city to provide workshops, from CV writing to crochet, from wellbeing to woodwork.

We have lovely premises in an excellent location.

The building is called the Overseers Office, great name we know. In the heart of Headingley, Leeds.

The name; this is a personal indulgence of one of our directors.

Obviously there’s the strong Amazonian warrior Virago, and the flipside slur of trying to look/be like a man. But also, the space we’ve taken on is bang opposite the library that she, as a stroppy teen feminist first time round in the 1980’s would go and borrow any and every Virago and Women’s Press novel she could find (at this point she refused to read anything written by men, cos why would she want to know what’s in their imagination). So now, after a 30 odd year gap, back here, being stroppy again. Our feminist library, initially consisting mainly of a collection from Sandra McNeil, will hopefully have a wall of green spines soon.

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