The 100 Years of Immigrant Women’s Life and Work in Malmö bilingual newsletter No. 1 (2015) – made by the Women 100 project, Living Archives and ABF – is now out. It can be downloaded below and at the Women Making History website.
Text: Erling Björgvinsson
The newsletter reports on the inauguration of the Women Making History exhibition at Malmö museum. It recounts the panel debate “We are Residents of Malmö – Women, Migration, Life and Work”, which emphasized how public institutions need to become better at engaging in respectful dialogue if women – far from the labor market – are to enter it. It also addressed how the situation for migrant women has radically changed, mostly to the worse, since the 1960s.
Methods develop as the movement evolves
It also reports from the cartoon workshops arranged together with Tusen Serier and postcard collage workshops arranged together with interaction design master students, as part of the Feminist Festival program in Folkets Park. Through the workshops the project tried out two new methods for sharing and collecting histories. Women Making History believes various methods, which are adjusted according to specific situations, need to be developed as the movement evolves.
Furthermore, the newsletter highlights some of the issues addressed in the film “Where We Stand”. Topics addressed are how women organizations could collaborate to affect the established political sphere, the role mother’s have played in paving the way for their children so that they have a better chance to become part of the Swedish society, and how the women negotiate and invent a fluid hybrid identity although societal forces often frame them in more stereotypical ways.
Making stories public
The newsletter format was developed because the Women Making History wishes not only to gather histories that become archived, but also to establish a dialogical space between the participating women. Both the newsletter and the Women Making History website play a crucial role in this dialogue where the project reports back to the women on the activities and where the women can see how their stories and opinions have been edited. The newsletters and the website thus acknowledge the women’s participation and stories by making them public. They also give the women the opportunity to criticize and object to how it has been interpreted and remediated.
The newsletters and the project website are media spaces where the Women Making History can publish without taking into consideration institutional needs and constraints. It allows the project to more freely critically address women immigrant history, topic wise as well as how it should be visually expressed.
The Women Making History website has the double function of being an explorative archive that is updated, as new events are carried through. It thus both works as the most up-to-date “news” site for the project and as a growing archive. The website has been sparsely edited, as all the posts are posted on the first page and accessed secondarily through a few broad topic headings. How to explore the website is therefore to a large degree up to the visitors. The newsletter, on the other hand, is more heavily edited as it highlights, categorizes, describes and discusses the Women Making History activities, which many of the participating women have asked for.
A homage to feminist magazines
This third newsletter comes with a new visual identity. The first two had a fairly anonymous institutional and modernist visual expression, which did not represent the sentiment of Women Making History. The new visual expression pays homage to various feminist magazines from the 1970s and onward from the Middle East, South America, and the Nordic countries.