Wellington WI group has just celebrated its fifth anniversary. Karen Janas, the president, reminded us that 2018 is significant for other reasons as well – it will be the centenary of the Somerset Federation of Women’s Institutes, and the centenary of female suffrage, writes Judith Smith
The ‘hundred’ theme was also reflected by our speaker. Anita Corbin, a local photographer with an impressive track record working for national media, came to update us on her First Women project, which we first heard about four years ago as she was beginning it. Her plan was to photograph one hundred women who were the first females to do something which previously only men had done.
She has now finished the project, which she funded herself so she could decide who her subjects were, and we were very impressed by the enormous range of the achievements captured. These included the holding of very senior positions in public life and industry, and in the arts and religious life, as well as achievers in sports and exploration.
Eight of the portraits have been purchased by the National Portrait Gallery, and there will be an exhibition at the Royal College of Art in July, but Anita is now seeking funding to bring the whole collection of photographs into the public eye. She also plans to develop an educational package to reflect the responses the photos trigger in viewers. More information can be found on the project’s website 1stwomenuk.co.uk
Anita doesn’t plan to stop her search for ‘first women’- she is now developing lists of European and global firsts, and we will be very interested in those as well.
Attendance was reduced this month by winter ailments, but we have a long list of group activities to look forward to before our February meeting, as well as several outings. January is the month when we vote for the WI’s national resolutions, which we will support by local action when the two chosen by nationwide vote are announced. We also voted for a local charity for our branch to support from May of this year and will know in February which of the four nominated has been chosen by our members.
Heather Stallard MBE, will be our speaker in February. She has been influential in establishing and supporting a wide range of local initiatives, particularly in relation to the Blackdown Hills area. Guests are very welcome to join us at the Beambridge Inn on 15 February, 7.00pm for a 7.30 start.