Our Projects

Creative writing and visual arts – “The Swinging Sixties”

Using creative writing and visual art we explored the 1960’s. We are looking to put together an online exhibition of the work created. We researched the Bolton Women’s Liberation movement and wrote our own “I have a Dream” speeches. We made paper dresses and wrote songs inspired by Bob Dylan. Below are some writings and artwork created by Stand Up Sisters members.

Funded by:  Bolton CVS Ambition for Ageing and Bolton CVS Small Grants.

I have a dream that there will be no litter on the ground, that there will be no class division,
that people will respect each other and help each other.
That abuse of humans and animals will not exist.
That ignorance and understanding will be easier for everyone and that the narrow minded will
be awakened.
That money will not rule the world and those who inhabit it.
That sociopaths and psychopaths don’t exist.
That people will always tell the truth no matter how hard.
That society would support each other and homelessness would be a made up word, by a make
believe character in a make believe world on television.
That people wouldn’t have to struggle for jobs or settle for less or be judged not fit for work.
That racism would be taken seriously or better yet not even exist at all.
I have a dream of a world that will never be, even though it’s not hard to see.

Textile workshops exploring human-rights – “Crazy Craftivism for World Wise Women” 

We created craftivism pieces working with Achieve services and women from the Early Intervention Team and delivered craft packs to Urban Outreach. The work was based around the concept of “Human Rights”. In particular we looked at “The Right to Feel Safe” and how mental illness breaches that right on a regular basis. The work was photographed and will appear on a billboard which was displayed in January 2021. Funded by: Salford CVS Achieve 

Creative project – “Stitch and Stories” 

We currently running outdoor art workshops on playwrighting, stand up and art therapy. Plans for the future include a dreamcatchers course, creative writing, craft packs, photography and walking influenced by Myths, Legends and Fairytales. We rip apart stereotypes and recreate stories influenced by “The Women Who Run with the Wolves” written by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Below are pieces of writing created by a Stand Up Sisters members and a photograph of artwork created by a participant.

Funded by Tampon Tax

Quote from participant “I have chosen to create an Iranian tribunal women, which are very strong women within the community. Their wise ways and their difficult lives have always inspired me, including my grandmother who has been a big influence in my life. For this purpose I created a small stitched woman in her local and traditional dress as a symbol of this society” 

Dancing and me

Dancing is not for me 

for two left feet have I

For if I dance its of to A & E for me

so no dancing is not for me.

Cinderella “a different ending’

Cinderella sneaks to the ball and looks through the window. She takes one look at the prince and decides that he is ugly and not worth worrying about. So she returns home. 

Cinderella decides to leave, she packs her few belongings and thinks about leaving a note but decides that they are not worth it, they would not care anyway at least not until they had to make their own food and do their own washing. She just smiled put on her coat on and slammed the door on her way out. She would never be back. 

She decides to head for London. On the way she meets a young lad. They have a lot in common and decide to team up. When they reach London they find a job, manage to save a bit of money. They then start their own business. First a market stall then they move into a shop. After a few years they start opening shops all over the country, then decide to emigrate to America and retire as millionaires. And as for the ugly sisters and her step mother well they all ended up living and dying in the poor house.   

Dancing was created on the eight day, on the ninth day the world became divided.

As each of the nations had their own dance, two of the larger nations Monteduo and Elkland decide that they would try to impose their dance on the smaller nations of Falland and Deerland. They not only used the dance but also resorted to violent tactics using the Stringns and rays with their willowy arms and long legs they danced all over the smaller nations, but the nation of Jutland would not be danced over. They formed an alliance with two other smaller nations, the Seatles and the Monards. They decided that in order to protect their dance and protect their countries from the violence of the larger countries they would have to resort to using a very old weapon, which they feared and hoped that they would never have to use. It was called the daisy cutter which when released could destroy whole armies in one unstoppable invisible shock wave. Unfortunately it killed everything in its way including animals and plants and destroyed all buildings and even mountains. Rivers were known to have dried up completely leaving all the fish floundering on dry land. When the four countries met to discuss whether or not to use the weapon, there was much heated debate, everyone knew what was at risk. So they decided to vote on it, it passed unanimously. They were hopeful that the Gods would understand why they had to use the weapon. They knew that there was a very high price to pay if this weapon was used.

Soon after the vote a squadron of soldiers was sent to retrieve it from its secret entombed location. While they were away, many of the people of each of their countries prayed that the Gods would understand why they had to use this weapon, for they knew that when they used the weapon the Gods would awake. 

A few days later the soldiers returned with the weapon. A representative had been sent to warn the opposing army that a weapon was about to be 

unleashed which would annihilate them; they would have none of it and just laughed. So with a heavy heart the King of Jutland pressed the button which sent a shock wave far across the valley, destroying everything in its path. Even hardened soldiers fell to their knees. The King was heard to say “what have we done?”.

Just then there was a loud crack like someone had broken a pane of glass with a hammer and there before everyone stood Thor with his Hammer, Poseidon, Hercules and Apollo, and a hundred other different gods. Hercules roared “what have you done’. The King of Jutland went down on one knee. “Please believe us we had no other choice.” “You always have a choice” the God roared. After what seemed like an eternity the gods spoke among themselves, they came to an agreement. Hercules declared that as punishment man would no longer be able to dance, sing or play music for a thousand years. On the tenth day all men were created equal and were at peace once more.

The End

Cinderella

Cinderella returned from the ball a changed woman.

She was the first person home and so she made her way into the kitchen and sat down by the glowing embers of the fire that she had lit before her transformation.                                                                                                                               She was dressed in her working clothes, a cotton shift and course apron, the same as she had been wearing before the fairy godmother came but now she knew that nothing would ever be the same again.

In fact, she now divided her life into BFG and AFG.

She could not even recognize that naïve stupid girl from a few hours before whose only wish had been that she could go to the ball and meet a prince.                                            That that had been the summit of her ambition, made her ashamed of herself.                                                                                                                                    How shallow and childish had been her dreams?

The beginning of her disillusionment came as soon as she had entered the Palace Ballroom. She realised that everyone who had had been given legitimate invitations to the ball were dressed in their finest ball gowns and dripping with jewellery, but they all looked the same, they walked and talked the same, they had the same hairstyle, spoke with the same posh accent and had nothing of any interest to say except, “What a lovely ball and where was the Prince? “         

Ah yes, the Prince!

For months that was all she had desired, to meet the Prince.                                                  She had believed that once that had happened, then all her troubles would be over.            She had honestly allowed herself to be so deluded by believing that he would immediately rescue her from her drudgery and that she would live happily ever after, like in all good fairy tales.

Her Fairy Godmother had certainly turned up trumps, supplying her with the requisite clone dress and hairstyle, and perfect make up, like a doll straight out of a band box, mass produced, the Barbie of the times.                                                                                                             Her fantasy was realised, the prince took her hand and led her onto the dance floor.

She was the envy of everyone there.                                                                                                                 The music began and so did the disillusionment. This prince could not dance.                                      He was clumsy with sweaty hands, which seemed to be all over her.                                       He trod on her feet until she thought her toes might break.                                                            She expected the glass shoes to shatter at any moment, cutting her feet to ribbons. 

She hated those glass slippers, which had looked so beautiful at first, but had proved to be so hard and unyielding that she could hardly walk, never mind dance.                                                                                                                                             She had been in absolute agony ever since she had put them on.                                                                                                                       She began to wonder whether her Fairy Godmother ever been to a dance?                        Well maybe, but certainly never wearing glass slippers, that she was sure of!                    Her ankles were bruised from his kicks and all she wished for was the music to stop,

Finally, the agony was over and the Prince led her to the most uncomfortable couch she had ever sat on. She waited expecting to hear the magic words of her day dream. 

“Where have you been all my life? You are the person I have been waiting for all my life. Will you marry me? “  

Instead, what did she hear?                                                                                                                                             “Do you come here often?  Have you come far?”                                                                                A complete and utter disappointment.                                                                                                          The prince was boring. The ball was boring, the palace was boring and to be frank, she couldn’t wait for midnight and her carriage to return and then she could escape. 

The final revelation came as she was running as fast as she could away from the castle before she was exposed as a fraud.                                                                                                                            A fraud?  

She suddenly realized that, in actual fact, she had been the only normal person there.               All the others were simply clones of each other, silly vacuous women unable to think beyond the necessity of conforming to the same rules and regulations as everyone else.                                                                                                                          

So, she had run away as fast as she could.   

And now here she was, physically back in the kitchen, but her mind had been set free.                                                                                                                                      In her haste to escape, she had lost one of the hateful glass slippers, but she realised that she was still holding the other one.

She threw it as far from her as she could, and reveled in the smashing sound it made as it hit the wall and shattered into many silvery shards on the floor.                                                                                                                                                             One thing she was certain of, was that it would not be her who cleaned those shards of glass up, those subservient days were over.                                                                                          What did she want with the trappings of wealth if all they produced were vacuous, silly girls who all looked and talked the same, all mirror images of each other?

Plans began to form in her head.  She would survive!                                                                She picked up her pencil and began to draw. She began to design clothes, clothes for real people,  for people who wanted the same things as her, independent, forward looking women who were not prepared to conform, who wanted to be recognised for their own ability and talent, and not just for who they happened to be married to. 

Her first design was a ball gown, but this one bore no resemblance to the one her fairy godmother had come up with. To begin with, there was no huge heavy voluminous skirt to trip over, and no inbuilt tightly laced corset to dig into her ribs whenever she moved. 

She was pleased with her final result, a striking dress with a fitted spangly bodice and a short sparkly skirt which twirled and shimmered in the firelight.

The next day she decided she would make it up for real, using pieces of material she would cut from her sisters’ dresses, so no more ironing of those for her! 

However the next day , representative s of the Prince,  seeking more information about the beautiful  stranger  at the ball , called at Cinderella’s  house demanding  that, by law,  she  had to try  the lost slipper on .                                                                                                             Of course, it fitted and the proposal of marriage was duly made.

Her reply made front page news in both local and national newspapers.  

“Cinderella refuses marriage proposal from Prince!”  

Suddenly, she was famous, sought after, and very soon, her name was known all over the world. 

The picture of her posing outside the Palace Gates  in her new slinky , shiny figure hugging  shimmering creation,  brought wealthy admirers from far and wide,  all demanding  that she would make them something unique.

Thus,” The House of Cinderella ‘s Sensational, Superior, Designs!”                                                               became world famous and her name became synonymous with wealth and luxury. 

However, in the main window of all her many Fashion Emporium, she always gave pride of place to a special display of a copy of the clothes she was wearing BFG. 

Her original shift and apron were kept in a secure vault for posterity, they were now worth a fortune, but to Cinderella, they were priceless and definitely not for sale.

Combined art – In her words

Podcasting, stand up comedy, music and fine art.

Funded by Awards for All Below is some writing.

Keep Your Distance

 Two metres away?

Not much change there then.

 You’ve always kept your distance,

 Never really let me near,

 So our bodies and minds disengage

 As we clutch at different dreams and desires.

 A gaping chasm has opened up

 No bridges can be built between us now

 There are no foundations left,

 Only shifting sands of mutual distrust.

 So, we sit together on the double sofa

 Far more than two metres apart.

 Are you with her?

We are working in partnership with Platform 5 Gallery and are seeking funding to enhance Bolton train station. Above are some designs created by a Stand Up Sisters member.

%d bloggers like this: