Women of Canberra was a community arts project that aimed to explore the diversity and experiences of women in the Canberra community. We wanted to delve into the joys, hopes and fears of women from all walks of life in our community and, at the same time, confront existing stereotypes of Canberra women. The stories told by policy, statistics and media give the impression that women in Canberra are a homogenous group—highly educated, economically empowered and out-performing their comparators in other states and territories on many indicators. However, we know from our community engagement work that women in Canberra are actually a culturally and socioeconomically diverse group, with struggles and aspirations that aren’t captured by mainstream narratives.
WCHM delivered this project with the assistance of a small group of emerging ACT female photographers: Liz Thompson, Josey Carnovale and Nicole Zimmermann. This is part of our commitment to develop the capacity of women to have a voice in public conversations about health and wellbeing.
The Women of Canberra library features the stories and photographs of 100 women. Not only does it serve as a time capsule of ACT women in 2015, it has provided WCHM a rich source of insights that will guide our work, and be built upon, for years to come.
The project and artists were celebrated through an exhibition at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre as part of WCHM’s 25th birthday. WCHM will now work to ensure that the exhibition makes its way around Canberra’s galleries and display spaces for all to enjoy.