Revealing Influential Women of Eastbourne
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Women have often been overlooked when it comes to recording historical events. Of the 21 statues, memorials and plaques in Eastbourne, only one celebrated a female (author Lucie Atwell) and when Eastbourne celebrated its 700th anniversary as a market town, in 2016 there was no mention of the role of women in its evolution. Now was the time to highlight women of influence in Eastbourne as we entered the 100th anniversary of female emancipation in the UK.
And so this project was born. WayfinderWoman, in partnership with Eastbourne Borough Council, received £79,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for what turned out to be an exciting two year project, ‘Revealing Women of Influence in Eastbourne’. Women of today, hidden by personal circumstances, revealed the hidden women of Eastbourne’s past.
Volunteers were trained in research skills to enable them to track down the untold stories of Eastbourne women who were influential artists, writers, inventors, industrialists and social reformers. Their research has been made available through this specially designed website so it can be easily accessed by everyone in the community. During its second year more volunteers are being trained in managing the website and promoting the findings through social media. Others will be trained in public speaking so they can talk to schools and community groups about their research and the exhibition itself will travel around Eastbourne. The volunteers will encourage their audiences to research their own female ancestry and add the details to this website. Thus there will be a living, growing library revealing women who have made their mark in the town over time.