The City of Edinburgh Council has voted to allow a procession of women and girls to walk along East Princes Street on 10 June 2018, closing it to traffic and following the route taken by Scottish suffragettes in 1909.
The march in the early twentieth century was organised by the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), while the procession next month will be part of PROCESSIONS 2018. Participants will carry suffragette inspired banners created in a series of local workshops.
This commemorative event is produced in partnership by NOW 14-18 WWI Centenary Art Commission (who were responsible for commissioning the Dazzle Ship in Leith as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival) and public art producers Artichoke. It will celebrate 100 years since some women got the vote under the People Act.
There will be four simultaneous events in London, Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh and all will be televised live. It is hoped that around 20,000 women will take part in the march in Edinburgh.
When the closure of Princes Street was discussed at the City of Edinburgh Council meeting on Thursday the women councillors stood wearing badges and purple shawls to raise awareness of the event.
Prior to the event the Museum of Edinburgh which is owned by the council will celebrate the suffrage movement with workshops when you can make banners as part of an exhibition called ‘Their Work is not Forgotten’ which will run from 8 June to 14 October 2018.
Councillor Amy McNeese Mechan, Vice Culture and Communities Convener, will be participating in the event. She added: “On 10 June, thousands of women and girls will unite in Edinburgh to process, carry banners and fly the flag for women’s rights. Together, we will commemorate the incredible perseverance and bravery of those women who fought for the right to vote and marched through the city’s streets.
“It will feel all the more poignant to walk along the same street Scotland’s suffragettes marched down over 100 years ago. We want this to be the type of event people look back on with pride in the future and say, ‘I was there’.”
Helen Marriage, Artistic Director and CEO of Artichoke, said: “We are delighted with the Council’s decision to close Princes Street on 10 June. We want Processions to be the largest mass participation artwork made up of women ever seen in the UK, walking together in the green, violet and white wraps we’ll distribute. It will be a moment to celebrate what has been achieved for women as well as recognise how far there is still to go. We hope that women and girls from all over Scotland will join us to celebrate the memory of all the incredibly brave women who marched through the city’s streets 100 years ago.”
Full details of the route in Edinburgh, and in fellow participating cities Belfast, Cardiff and London, are expected to be revealed by event organisers Artichoke later this month.
The event is free and you can register here