Deeds Not Words will open at The Grosevnor Gallery, an exhibition that marks the 100th anniversary of women achieving the vote in a project led by the Pankhurst Centre and Manchester School of Art, which is part of Manchester Metropolitan University.

The inspiration for the exhibition is the story of three suffragettes, Annie Briggs, Evelyn Manesta and Lilian Forrester, who in 1913 attacked a number of paintings at Manchester Art Gallery in the name of the campaign to secure votes for women.

In 2018 this exhibition will return to this moment using it as a springboard to look at the use of art as a political tool one hundred years on from the first women finally receiving the right to vote after a hard fought campaign.

Second year students from Manchester School of Art have developed the project as part of Unit X, which brings together students from different disciplines to work on live project briefs. Working collaboratively they have been given the opportunity to curate the exhibition, which will feature works that respond to the Manchester Art Gallery attacks, the history of women’s suffrage and Manchester’s role in this history.

They have also carried out a call for submissions within the School of Art, selected the works that will feature, carried out the exhibition install and produced a limited edition, hand printed publication “Hammer Height” which will be available to buy, with all proceeds in support of the Pankhurst Centre.

Bex Shindler, Fundraising Manager for the Pankhurst Centre, says, “The Manchester Art Gallery attack marked a significant escalation of the suffragettes’ campaign into measures of direct action, with this particular action following the sentencing of Emmeline Pankhurst the day before, to three years imprisonment. It’s one of the pivotal chapters in the history of the suffragettes, which we wanted the students to explore from their own contemporary perspective against the background of today’s ongoing battle for change and equality.”

The Grosvenor Gallery is open daily to the public from 12 to 6pm (Thursday until 7pm) and entry is free. The Deeds Not Words exhibition takes place from 5 May to 10 May.

Deeds Not Words is part of a calendar of events and exhibitions that the Pankhurst Centre has in place for 2018 to mark the centenary of the first women receiving the vote. It is also using the year to drive forward its fundraising campaign to transform its small museum that currently occupies Emmeline Pankhurst’s former home into one of world-class standing.


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