Saturday, 23 March 2013

Woman's Outlook: a surprisingly modern magazine? publication

The publication I made to present my talk about co-operative women's journal Woman's Outlook at the Rochdale Pioneers Museum can be read online below (I made some mistakes in the original version of this booklet, like mixing up a Labour and Conservative Prime Minister, but am trying to change any mistakes I spot!). Download and print your own copy as a PDF here (NB, all pictures are for illustrative purposes only – please don't reproduce them!). It was good to meet some local Co-operative members, and people from the Rochdale branch of the Workers' Educational Association, and there were some interesting questions at the end. My talk can be listened to online as a podcast:

After presenting a history of Woman's Outlook, I finished my talk by showing some pages I had compiled from current-day women's magazine Stylist, on the basis that it is the only women's magazine I have ever really read (I read it because it is given out free on the streets each Wednesday, and I also read the male version of the magazine, Shortlist, also because it is free!). Whilst there are clear differences between the two magazines – Outlook was a political, campaigning magazine with a very defined audience, whereas Stylist is basically an advertising channel and sees itself as reflecting the 'age of coffee cup politics', where issues are something to be chatted about over a cup of coffee – I wanted to show the types of topics which are considered to be of interest and relevant to women today, from reader surveys aimed at building up a picture of what it's like to be a modern women, to quizzing readers about their sex lives, to highlighting issues like abortion, equal pay, women's continued underrepresentation in Parliament, childcare and flexible working. I find it interesting that Stylist continues to profile women with interesting careers, from an oceanologist to a reverend, and how it features articles about women's status in other countries – for example, Italy – and how the lives of women elsewhere in Europe have been affected by the financial downturn. There is also a weekly international page summarising news stories concerning women across the world, and ahead of elections Stylist profiles political parties and the ways in which their policies would affect women. Woman's Outlook ran a number of profiles of Eleanor Roosevelt, and she is still being held up in Stylist today as an exemplary first lady and woman in public life. On top of that, Stylist features the type of content you would expect to see in a woman's magazine, from recipes to beauty and fashion.

I went to see the new Ken Loach film, Spirt of 45, the evening before my talk, to get some inspiration and context about the period, and would highly recommend seeing it.

I have been invited to repeat the talk 'Woman's Outlook: a surprisingly modern magazine?' at the Working Class Movement Library in Salford, which also contains volumes of Woman's Outlook, on Wednesday 26 June at 2pm as part of its Invisible Histories series.

Also related, Cazz Blase will also be revisiting the talk she did at the 2012 Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention as part of the series, on Wednesday 29 May at 2pm. 'Worlds within worlds: punk ladies, riot grrrls and fanzine culture' will discuss the role women played in the UK punk scene and the UK incarnation of the female focused, female dominated riot grrrl scene.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Talk: Woman's Outlook – a surprisingly modern magazine, 6pm, Thursday March 21

I'm doing my first ever talk at the Rochdale Pioneers Museum soon, about Woman's Outlook, a co-operative women's magazine which ran between 1919 and 1967. I've spent quite a bit of time researching the magazine in the National Co-operative Archive, and taking photos, and will be sharing what I found out and how I feel the magazine compares to magazines aimed at women today, in the form of a magazine. I've also conducted interviews with some inspiring women who were members of the co-operative women's movement in the second half of the twentieth century.

If you would like to attend, please book here. The event will start at 6pm and is free to attend.

Woman's Outlook – a surprisingly modern magazine? 

For nearly five decades, Woman’s Outlook was the voice of the Co-operative Women’s Guild, the campaigning organisation which worked to raise the status of women both in the co-operative movement and in society, and its onetime editor Mary Stott later became a longstanding editor of the Guardian women’s pages.

From its origins in Manchester in 1919, Outlook provided an enticing mixture of articles addressing both the personal and the political, combining fashion, fiction, features and recipes with advice for working women – in many ways, not dissimilar to the content of women’s magazines today!

Woman’s Outlook: a surprisingly modern magazine?’ will explore some of the key issues addressed in Outlook, and look at how the magazine encouraged women to get involved in campaigning for a better world. Topics covered by Outlook such as women's representation in parliament, equal pay and healthy eating remain highly relevant today, and the talk will end by considering whether the type of content provided by 21st century women’s lifestyle magazines has really changed much since the days of Outlook.

The talk will take place in the Rochdale Pioneers Museum, which is based in the original building where the first successful co-operative shop opened in 1844 and has recently been refurbished. The Museum is well worth a visit and is a 15 minute walk from Rochdale train station, which has regular trains to Manchester. There are also buses to Rochdale, and a recently-opened tram!

Please pass this on to anyone you think might be interested.

Facebook invitation

I had the opportunity to test my talk out at the most recent Islington Mill Art Academy open crit. Read about it at

Monday, 4 March 2013

Victoria Baths Fanzine Fair, Sunday 5 May 2013

This year, Victoria Baths will be holding a smaller version of the Victoria Baths Fanzine Convention to coincide with its open day on Sunday May 5 from 12 noon-4pm. Fanzine-makers, small presses, independent magazine/book publishers, book artists, art and design collectives, small record labels and representatives of university and college art, illustration, design, fashion and photography courses are invited to have a stall to display and sell their work.

The fanzine fair will be accompanied by a film screening of Helpyourself Manchester, which tells the unsung story of Manchester's DIY music promoters, followed by a Q and A with the directors, Castles Built in Sand collective. Additionally, there will be an exhibition of original gig fliers featured in the film.

Manchester-based illustrator and zinester David Carden will give a lively musical tour inspired by the history of Victoria Baths, with songs about the ladies pool, channel swimmer Sunny Lowry, a couple meeting in the Baths and the building's beautiful stained glass, and will also be on hand to draw your portrait in five minutes (for a small fee!).

See original artwork and hear from John Mather about his Pictorial Guide to Greater Manchester Public Swimming Pools during his talk at 2.30pm upstairs in the former superintendent's flat.

Dip into a hands-on zine-inspired activity with Pool Arts throughout the day, who will be asking for your help to produce VB's very own fabulous fanzine, The Vicky. 'Bring Back Baths' will use team effort, collage, lino printing and on-the-spot reportage from the fair to compile some articles about why public wash baths should be making a comeback! The first issue of The Vicky appeared during 2003 with occasional issues ever since. Bring your old comics, your sense of humour and your glue sticks! Original copies of the early issues will be on sale on the day!

Listen to readings by Manchester author David Hartley, including from his new book Threshold, and hear Karren Ablaze! read from her recent book the City is Ablaze, about her experiences of making zines in Manchester and Leeds in the 1980s.

The event will be soundtracked by a choir performance by Ordsall Acapella Singers in the Gala Pool. Guided tours of the building will also be on offer, including a 'behind the scenes' tour.

Listen to the Shrieking Violet talking about the event on All FM's Under the Pavement Radio show here:

Read a preview of the event, linked in with a feature on zines and DIY culture, in the Skinny magazine.

Running order on the day:

1pm - Film screening, Helpyourself Manchester, cinema space (off the sports hall)
- Talk by Karren Ablaze! (superintendent's flat)
1.30pm - Choir performance, Ordsall Acapella Singers, in the Gala Pool
2pm - Musical Tour of Victoria Baths by David Carden
2.30pm - Talk by John Mather on the Pools of Greater Manchester (subject of his hand drawn Pictorial Guide)
3pm - Film screening, Helpyourself Manchester, cinema space (off the sports hall)
 - Choir performance, Ordsall Acapella Singers, in the Gala Pool
3.30pm - Reading by David Hartley (superintendent's flat)

Some of the stallholders confirmed so far:

Emily & Anne
LOAF (Catherine Chialton and Jimmy Edmondson)
Kristyna Baczynski 
Knives, Forks and Spoons Press 
David Carden
John Mather
Salford Illustration Department
Castles Built in Sand
Within Six 
Becky Kidner Diary Drawings 
Loosely Bound Zine Collective 
Young Explorer/Today Zine
Twigs and Apples
Sugar Paper
Laura Brown Word
Tommy Eugene Higson
Knickers for Bonnie
Karoline Rerrie
Vapid Slackers (Vapid Kitten)
David Hartley
Joe List 
Megan Price Mr PS
Paul Murray and Kat Smith
Marco Brunello
the modernist
Karren Ablaze!
DNYLNE and Adam Jacques
Lottie Pencheon

For more information visit, email or phone 0161 224 2020.

Facebook event.

Please invite everyone you know!