PROCESSIONS Banners made in the Midlands, England

PROCESSIONS was a mass participation public artwork that took place on 10 June 2018 in all four UK capitals, to celebrate 100 years of votes for women. 100 artists were commissioned to make 100 centenary banners, working with community organisations across the UK.

By Artichoke Trust

Produced by Artichoke and commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions. PROCESSIONS' generous supporters thanked at the end of the story.

Aerial view of London's PROCESSIONS (June 10th, 2018)Artichoke Trust


The women who came together on the streets 100 years ago made themselves visible with handmade flags, banners, pins and rosettes. The workshops focused on text and textiles, echoing the practices of the women’s suffrage campaign, and the banners made represent and celebrate the diverse voices of women and girls from different backgrounds.

Worcester Arts V2 by Rozier Cotterill Vale and MurphyArtichoke Trust

Worcester Arts Workshop

Artists: Molly Rozier, Sarah Cotterill, Libbertine Vale, Heidi Murphy

Contributors: Worcester Women's Equality Party, WooFems, Worcester Arts Workshop students and volunteers

Location: Worcester

Materials: mixed textiles

Worcester Arts Workshop

Exploring the herstory of the women’s suffrage movement, the vote and participants’ identities as women, the group decided on the themes of inclusivity, strength and support for this banner. These ideas were translated into the ‘Woman Tree and Sisterhood’, each leaf holding images of women that inspire the group, their daughters, mothers and each other.

Worcester Arts Workshop

The group were particularly taken with the concept of the ‘hidden’: things that aren’t necessarily noticeable to everyone, but understood by those who made it. For example, the secret messages stitched by the Suffragettes into their work. It also represents the ‘hidden’ women that worked in Worcester’s glove and porcelain factories many years ago. 

The names and initials of the group’s participants are graffitied into the trunk and branches of the tree. If you look closely, you might find some discarded gloves, a tea cup and faces that you might recognise.

Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery (2018-03/2018-04) by Tracy WatsonArtichoke Trust

Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery

Artist: Tracey Watson

Contributors: Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery Group 

Location: Nuneaton

Materials: mixed textiles

Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery

The group identified with the character of Emily Wilding Davison, a member of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) and a militant fighter for her cause.

Although much of her life has been interpreted through the manner of her death, the group felt that she contributed so much more for her cause, including going on hunger strike seven times and hiding herself within the Palace of Westminster. 

Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery

The butterflies on the banner were each individually created by individuals from the group, the butterfly a symbol of endurance, change, hope and life.

Coventry Artspace Partnerships (2018-05) by Anne ForganArtichoke Trust

Coventry Artspace Partnerships

Artist: Anne Forgan

Contributors: Foleshill Women's Training and The Weavers' Workshop

Location: Coventry

Materials: mixed textiles

Coventry Artspace Partnerships

This banner celebrates the continuing solidarity of women in overcoming past, present and future struggles. The individual flowers represent the group – the tails of each one showing the name of a woman (heroine, sister, mother, friend) who has been a source of inspiration or support. 

While making the banner, the group shared the stories of why they were grateful to these amazing women and the difference they had made to their lives. Artist Anne Forgan designed and made the banner with the group, alongside the support of artist Karen Johnson.

British Ceramics Biennale (2018-03/2018-05) by Joanna Ayre and Rita FloydArtichoke Trust

British Ceramics Biennale

Artists: Jo Ayre and Rita Floyd, Jean Gleave, Cathie Powell-Davies and Charis Jones

Contributors: Burslem Jubilee and volunteers. With British Ceramics Biennal

Location: Stoke-on-Trent

Materials: bone china, mixed textiles

British Ceramics Biennale

Each button on this banner was made by hand from bone china clay in Stoke-on-Trent, the centre for ceramics manufacture in the UK. Two highly skilled bone china flower makers, who learned their trade working within the pottery industry, shared the process of making the intricate violet flowers and leaves. 

The makers could update them according to their own design. The buttons were made during workshops across Stoke-on-Trent, with women of all ages joining in to add their own individual pieces. In addition to making their own buttons, the Burslem Jubilee group sewed the banner and carried it with pride at PROCESSIONS in London.

Imagineer Front (2018-04/2018-06) by Julia O’Connell and Julie JoannidesArtichoke Trust


Artists: Julia O’Connell and Julie Joannides

Contributors: Moathouse Neighbourhood and Leisure Centre; Women of Willenhall; Imagineer Productions' Monday Night Makers Group

Location: Coventry

Materials: cotton


This banner was created with three groups of women in Willenhall, Wood End and Radford. The women voted for which words should be put on the banner. They worked for hours, both in the workshop sessions and at home, to cross-stitch details onto the borders, stitching for the women that they cared about in their lives. 

The hummingbirds highlight the beautiful story and message of the hummingbird – one of perseverance and doing one’s bit to make the world a better place.  

Disability Arts Shropshire (DASH) (2018-06) by Anne-Marie LagramArtichoke Trust

Disability Arts Shropshire (DASH)

Artist: Anne-Marie Lagram

Contributors: Shropshire Subversive Stitchers. With Disability Arts Shropshire

Location: Shrewsbury

Materials: felt, wool, embroidery silks, beads, buttons

Disability Arts Shropshire (DASH)

Led by artist Anne-Marie Lagram, the DASH workshops examined the history of suffrage and the original banners made by Suffragettes in 1918. They researched inspiring women of Shropshire, and the names of these women can be seen embroidered onto the Shropshire Hills. The sun above the hills declares ‘We Are Here!’ (as no-one seems to know where Shropshire is). 

Bordering the centre are designs inspired by historic pin badges and issues that women still face and campaign about today, prefaced by hashtags. The hands framing the banner show the solidarity the banner has created for women in Shropshire.

Metal Culture, Peterborough (2018-05) by Kate Genever and Katie Smith.Artichoke Trust

Metal Culture Peterborough

Artists: Kate Genever and Katie Smith 

Contributors: Metal Peterborough in partnership with Huntingdon and Peterborough Women’s Institute, Soroptimist International, Iqra Academy, HMP Peterborough, Coffee Morning Sisters, Embroiderers’ Guild and the general public

Location: Peterborough

Materials: silk, felt, wool, cotton, buttons

Metal Culture Peterborough by Kate Genever Katie SmithArtichoke Trust

Metal Culture Peterborough

The two banners’ central statements, ‘We Will Not be Still’ and, ‘We Have the Courage’, are drawn from longer letters written by the group to the Suffragettes. Two of these letters can be seen embroidered directly onto the purple blankets.

Metal Culture Peterborough

All the pansies are made by women from across Peterborough, some of whom could not attend the group’s weekly sessions, but wanted to contribute by making something at home. Everyone involved stitched their signature onto the reverse of the large banners and created personalised pennants, which were carried as part of PROCESSIONS in London on Sunday 10th June.

Made in Corby (2018-05) by The Eloquent Fold (Carole Miles and Phiona Richards)Artichoke Trust

Made in Corby

Artists: The Eloquent Fold (Carole Miles and Phiona Richards)

Contributors: Made in Corby

Location: Corby

Materials: polyester, cotton, silk, velvet, gold lame, buttons, brocade, mixed fibres 

Made in Corby

This banner celebrates the individual and collective strength, grace and intelligence of women, especially the women of Corby. The violets were chosen as a symbol of growth, hope and inspiration. Together, the group became a ‘creative voice’ for women of all ages and backgrounds by sharing their past and present, as well as their hopes and aspirations for the future.

Made in Corby

‘Deeds Not Words’ is also the town motto of Corby, so it was important to the group that it was included, especially given its connection to the Suffragette movement.

Coventry Art Space Workshop, From the collection of: Artichoke Trust
DASH Arts Workshop Participant, From the collection of: Artichoke Trust
Imagineer Coventry Workshop, From the collection of: Artichoke Trust
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Credits: Story

PROCESSIONS was produced by Artichoke and commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and the Department for DigitalCulture Media and Sport.

Creative Director: Darrell Vydelingum. R&D supported by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch).

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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Road to Equality
Celebrating the stories behind 100 years of women's rights in the UK
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