More than 120 schoolgirls from across the North East will be attending an annual event this weekend highlighting the diversity of girls’ experiences in the region and giving them a chance to let people know what they’re thinking.
The second annual Day of the Girl Celebration takes place at Northumbria University this Saturday and is part of the Girl-Kind North East project.
The event is open to members of the public, with friends, family, and public figures also invited to hear what the girls involved have to say about growing up today. Lisa Hogan, Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police and former head of the BAWP (British Association of Women’s Policing) and Sheriff and Deputy Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Councillor David Cook will both be attending the celebration on Saturday.
Girl-Kind is held to coincide with UN International Day of the Girl – a global event held annually on 11 October, which raises awareness of the rights of the girl, and celebrate girls’ lives throughout the world.
The project was co-founded by Dr Sarah Ralph of Northumbria University and Dr Sarah Winkler-Reid of Newcastle University, who both conduct research on girls’ lives and growing up in Britain. The project is funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and Northumbria University.
Just 40 girls from in and around Newcastle took part in 2017, but for this year’s special event there will be more than 120 participants from schools in Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Teesside.
The project runs workshops in schools across the North East, helping girls turn their thoughts and ideas into creative interventions showcased at the celebratory event at Northumbria University.
Dr Sarah Ralph, Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies, said: “Feedback from last year showed us how important the project was as a space where girls felt valued and acknowledged for what they had to say. We were keen to grow the project further and can’t wait for people to see and hear all the incredible things this year’s girls have created.
“The challenges faced by young women growing up has received increasing media attention in recent months. But what is rarely heard is what girls themselves have to say about their lives. This is what Girl-Kind North East is all about. “
Sarah Winkler-Reid, Lecturer in Social Anthropology, added: “We welcome the 'Growing up North' report which mirrors much of what we have found working with girls in the North East. The report centralises young people's voices and highlights the pride they feel in where they live, as well as the challenges and inequalities they experience.
“We have also found that growing up as a girl profoundly shapes these experiences. Girl-Kind North East has been created to provide a forum for girls to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas about growing up in the North East, and offers a unique opportunity for us to listen to their struggles and celebrate being a girl in the region.”
On International Day of the Girl, on 11 October, Girl-Kind has partnered with the Tyneside Cinema to present a special screening of 2017 animated drama The Breadwinner, (directed by Nora Twomey and executive produced by Angelina Jolie). This will be followed by a panel discussion about the film in the context of Day of the Girl and the Girl-Kind project.
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