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Northumbria University celebrates the Greenham Women legacy

Press release   •   Dec 04, 2013 00:00 GMT

Academics from Northumbria University, Newcastle, have held a commemorative event to mark the 30th anniversary of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp protests.

More than 100 people attended the weekend event that looked at how women’s activism has changed over the last 30 years.

Key speakers, who were present at the mass Greenham demonstration where over 50,000 women gathered, discussed the impact that this historic event has had on activism today.

In the summer of 1983, thousands of women from across the country participated in the Star Marches – a simultaneous protest action which saw them mass at Greenham to protest against nuclear weapons. Their arrests made headline news. On 11th December 1983, 50,000 women met to continue the protest, including a group who travelled from Newcastle.

Throughout the 19-year history of the camp (1981 – 2000) tens of thousands more provided support, took part in related campaigns and were involved in WONT (Women Opposed to Nuclear Threat) groups.

Sue Regan, Associate Lecturer and Social Sciences PhD student at Northumbria University said: "We felt it was important to mark the Greenham event this year and the actions the women took to have their voices heard. The event was fantastic - just exactly what we had planned - and hoped - for.

"The 'Show and Tell' session was a great opportunity for women to recount their own stories of Greenham, as was the re-creation of the Greenham Fence. The panels also gave us their views and experiences of women's activism 30 years ago, and today, making links between issues and concerns then and now."

In addition to Sue Regan, speakers at the event included Mary Mellor, Emeritus Professor in Sociology at Northumbria University. Mary was present at Greenham and shared her experiences and expert views with the audience.

Dr. Ruth Lewis, also from Northumbria, and Dr Elizabeth Sharp, from Texas Tech University and Durham University, was also on hand to highlight key findings from their research about women-only spaces and contemporary activism. Additionally, Roweena Russell, member of the North East Feminist Gathering organising group (NEFG) was present to talk about the recent emergence of the NEFG. Lizi Gray, Sociology student at Northumbria University and local activist, talked about the SlutWalk and other contemporary feminist activism.

The event also featured the screening of acclaimed film-maker Beeban Kidron’s documentary, Carry Greenham Home, a choir performance (with optional audience participation) from Making Waves Choir, a show and tell session where participants were invited to share their Greenham stories and a replica Greenham fence.

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