Con and Eva : Gendering Revolution exhibition

Con and Eva : Gendering Revolution exhibition at the Irish World Heritage Centre, Manchester

An exhibition co-curated by Fionna Barber (Reader in Art History, Manchester School of Art) has opened at the Irish World Heritage Centre (IWHC) in Cheetham Hill and will be on display until June 30.

The result of an international collaboration with Laura McAtackney from Aarhus University in Denmark and Katherine O’Donnell from University College Dublin, Con and Eva: Gendering Revolution uses archival resources mainly from the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland to investigate the revolutionary lives of two sisters, Constance Markievicz and Eva-Gore Booth.

Constance, who originally trained as an artist, became one of the leaders of the Easter Rising in Ireland in 1916 before becoming the first woman to be elected to the House of Commons in 1918, although she never took up her seat.

Eva, on the other hand, was not only a poet and playwright but a social reformer and pacificist who, with her life-long partner Esther Roper, was also a prominent campaigner for women’s suffrage in Manchester.

The exhibition opened on Friday March 10 with a well-attended and lively symposium featuring presentations from each of the curators exploring the legacy of Con and Eva for contemporary Irish women’s activism.

con and eva

It was chaired by Dr Kate Cook, Director of the Sylvia Pankhurst Gender Research Centre at MMU, and also featured an address from Ruaidhri Dowling, First Secretary for Irish Community and Culture at the Irish Embassy.

This event was part of Wonder Women, Manchester’s annual feminist festival and was supported by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through their Emigrant Support Funding Programme and the Sylvia Pankhurst Gender Research Centre.