Wales Arts Review Volume 2 Issue 27
Welcome to Wales Arts Review 2.27, a commemorative edition that pays tribute to the hundredth anniversary of the death of Emily Wilding Davison and the sacrifices made by many more Suffragettes in building this country. This edition of the magazine was initially born out of a desire to acknowledge the debt we owe to the actions of the suffrage movement, but has steadily developed into a contemplation on the persistence of gender inequality in our society.
In this special edition, our lead article is from Steph Power who examines gender issues in music and remembers the life of Ethel Smyth, a radical composer and suffragette, in a conversation with the enigmatic Odaline de la Martinez in Smyth, Suffragettes and Women in Music Today: Odaline de la Martinez in Conversation. Guest Editor Ben Glover reviews the actions and historic legacy of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) and ponders the implications of the sacrifices made by the suffragettes a hundred years on in Deeds Not Words – Remembering Women’s Suffrage.
In the superb essay Are Mother’s Saints? The Role of the Matriarch in Welsh Society, Craig Austin examines the special place in the collective Welsh heart for their ‘Mams’ and considers the cultural traditions of women in the working class household.
Debasing the myth that women are not as funny as men, Cerith Mathias chats to comic writer and performer, Sian Harries about comedy, gender barriers and her upcoming project with Greg Davies. In addition Elin Williams offers her eloquent retort to that tired myth and looks at her comedy heroes in The Rights of Woman (in Comedy). Wales Arts Review is also pleased to present an article by Stephanie Davies-Arai, an organiser with the No More Page 3 campaign, in which she offers a powerful critique of the objectification of women in the media in her excellent essay.
Jenny Willott MP gives a candid look at the changing face of the Westminster Parliament and the challenges still ahead for women. Bethan Jenkins AM offers a personal account of the typical obstacles that female politicians face in Wales and gender discrimination that accompanies it.
Steph Power reflects on gender inequality, the economic meltdown and the urgent need for corporate reform in her elegant essay – Beyond Lehman Sisters: New Feminism and Economic Collapse. Dr Bela Arora analyses the specific issues facing women in higher education in Wales in her revealing look into Women in Education: Re-evaluating the Student Experience.
Adam Somerset carefully studies the life and times of one of Wales’ most influential business women and suffragettes, in Angela V. John’s biography of Margaret Haig Thomas, Turning the Tide. Also, a selection of Wales Arts Review’s top writers share their favourite female fictional icons in this commemorative edition.
In regular features, our Senior Editor Gary Raymond attempts to understand the nature of television’s current obsession with The Industry of Nostalgia: The Responsibilities of Cheap TV, as he reviews Doctor Who at 50 and looks forward to the hundredth anniversary of Dylan Thomas’ birth.
In literature, BJ Epstein explores a daring publisher that has produced a series of children’s books that will challenge many assumptions, in her reviews of A is for Activist and What makes a Baby? by Seven Stories Press. John Lavin catches a glimpse of a poet’s development when he reviews the new poetry collection White Wings: New and Selected Prose Poems by John Freeman. Also James Vilares, investigates the hidden pockets of Dubai in his reading of The Witch Doctor of Umm Suqiem by Craig Hawes.
Jon Gower continues to delve into the Library of Wales archive with his review of Turf and Stone by Margiad Evans.
Fresh from their success at the Royal Court Theatre, Dirty Protest present a challenging play from the pen of the winner of the Wales Drama Award in 2012, Katherine Chandler. Phil Morris was at the Chapter Arts Centre to see their latest offering, Parallel Lines.
In music Cath Barton was at the 2013 Gregynog Festival and the Wales Millenium Centre to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Benjamin Britten’s birth in Britten 100: Llŷr Williams and ‘Friday Afternoons’. Following on from his conversation with him in our last issue, Gary Raymond was on hand at St David’s Hall to witness Billy Bragg in concert.
Banner illustration by Dean Lewis
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