Hillcroft LRC

Posts Tagged ‘women

2017 Easy Read Guide to Voting in the General ElectionThis week we’re focusing on what the political parties in the General Election 2017 stand for. You’ll be glad to hear that they have created easy read versions:

Liberal Party – has an easy read version, an audio version you can download in two parts and a Braille version you can download

Labour Party – has an easy read, Braille, large print and audio version all available on the same page

Green Party – has an easy read version, audio version to listen online. They have also divided up easy read versions to cover the environment, LBTIQA, women and youth and British Sign Language versions

Women’s Equality Party – has a downloadable easy read version

You may be wondering why we’ve not added ones for the Conservative Party and the UK Independence Party (UKIP). This is because none are yet available. Mencap is urging these parties to produce them on their website page General Election 2017 Easy Read Manifestos. They’ve also brought all the easy read ones together on the same page. We’ll update the post when ones become available.

Finally the BBC have a web page General Election  2017: Manifesto Guide on Where the Parties Stand that will guide you to what the parties think on particular issues.

Advertisements

 

dreaming
Dreaming by Hartwig HKD is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

In a message for International Women’s Day (last Wednesday), Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka UN Women Executive Director called for changes to be made by men and women worldwide to fight injustice. One of the most moving statements is:

 

We have to start change at home and in the earliest days of school, so that there are no places in a child’s environment where they learn that girls must be less, have less, and dream smaller than boys.

What do you think? Certainly education plays a large role in exploring those dreams: to widen participation and nurture ambition. We would add that books are resources at the heart of learning beyond the classroom.

We highlight 8 women writers and activists this month on display in the LRC. These women are: Nawal al Sadaawi, Laura BatesChimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Maya Angelou, Amy Tan, Ursula Le Guin and Margaret Atwood. We hope to inspire students to read widely, to share their thoughts and experiences and to give support to other women and men so that everyone sees their potential.

Can books and reading really help in achieving all that? Lisa Bu is one woman who talks passionately about how reading and comparing books changed her life. Her outlook on the importance of dreams (even if they are shattered) is inspiring. Listen to her story in this 5 minute TED video:

 

Karen's group are reading from Jackie Kay's collection of poetry 'Red Cherry Red'.

Karen’s group are reading from Jackie Kay’s collection of poetry ‘Red Cherry Red’.

Good news! Two reading groups for Hillcroft students are starting this week. There’s a monthly group led by Karen from Kingston University that met on Wednesday. The weekly reading group is meeting for the first time today led by Kim.

The idea is to increase reading confidence, enjoyment of reading and start new conversations among women with an common interest in reading.

Each reading group’s identity will grow over time shaped by the interests and ambitions of the group. Both groups are yet to be named by their members. In my mind they will be the ‘No. 1 Ladies Reading Groups’ after Alexander McCall Smith’s series.

The “Wednesday/Monthly” group will have childcare options in the future and we’ll let you know about that in further updates.

If you are inspired by the reading groups please join the Reading Ahead Challenge as well. The LRC will give you a diary to think about your reading journey over six reads.

There’s a survey to help us see how the reading groups go. If you haven’t filled one in and you’d like to sign up for the next reading group meeting or the Reading Ahead challenge, send the LRC an email and we’ll try to find space: lrc@hillcroft.ac.uk.

Hope you all enjoyed the reading groups so far if you have been involved. Big thanks to Karen and Kim for their energy and expertise in leading the meetings.

"Well-behaved women seldom make history"I’ve been watching the BBC’s ‘Versailles’ series on iPlayer which has lead me to Google whether it or not some things actually happened or were dramatised versions of events. Changing history. Humanity likes to gloss over the past or adjust it to make it more palatable or suit the agenda of the present (in ‘Versailles’ case – to entertain). This happens most famously in George Orwell‘s 1984 on an industrial scale:

“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” – George Orwell, ‘1984’.

Women have been left out of much of history (and quotations). Things are changing as there are more books and articles written by and focusing on women who have changed the world. That’s why first-hand accounts and primary sources are so vital for historians to re-examine the past.

Here’s an authoritative list of history websites compiled by Oxford Quick Reference to accompany the Oxford Dictionary of World History:

http://www.oxfordreference.com/page/worldhist

You’ll also find women feature prominently in our print biographies and main collection.

Don’t discount your skills in investigating inaccuracies and overlooked facts and figures – they are not confined to the classroom. It is more important to use your critical thinking skills in everyday life, in reading the news and participating in society. Seeing connections, questioning potential bias, probing the facts and respecting evidence. Women can change history in a good way starting with you and me.

Calculating Ada from Radio TimesYou may have noticed the BBC is currently running a season programmes on everything digital.

We’ve just added BBC4’s Calculating Ada: the Countess of Computing from the season to our collection. Ada Lovelace was Lord Byron’s daughter and her mother ensured Ada learnt about mathematics so as to separate her from her father’s literary legacy. Ada recognised the value of Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine and tried to raise funds so it could progress. She published the first computer programme and influenced the work of Alan Turing. If you missed the programme you can catch up on BBC iPlayer.

We’ve not recorded all of the programmes for our college but you can find out about other programmes on the BBC Make It Digital page. There you’ll find programmes about women programming, game makers and how algorithms work. Plus there’s a chance to vote on who you think is the biggest digital influencer.

 

Yesterday at Achievement and Diversity Day we celebrated the work of students and staff this year. Many students are finishing at Hillcroft for at least the time being. You may well be thinking of new goals to strive for whilst in between studies and/or jobs. It can be hard to stay motivated once all the deadlines are over and you are not in a learning environment regularly.

I thought Street Step has come up with a neat idea to gain employability skills and have fun. This charitable organisation takes a social and active approach to young people (especially women) who are unemployed to get them in new jobs. You can go to their free weekly dance and fitness classes and then join their employability programme. There’s not much better way to shake off a lack of motivation than through dance and joining a community.

What are employability skills anyhow? You may be asking. There’s no single definition, but includes elements such as time-management, communication, team-work and increasingly digital know-how. Most likely you have a ton of them already but everyone needs help in honing them and finding your strengths. Your tutor, friends and family will be able to help you identify them too.What you have learnt at Hillcroft is only the beginning and now you’d be in a better position to help others. This was a common theme in the student talks yesterday: giving back and moving forward.

This reminds me too of the City Opportunities event for young people who experienced in care environments. This is held next month by the London South Bank University and is free to attend if you qualify. It is a 5-day programme to set young people on a career path. They are making finance, business and law more accessible to those who may not see those pathways as open to them.

These are only two possible avenues to explore. Hopefully they inspire you. Even when you are no longer at Hillcroft you will have so many opportunities available to you with lifelong learning.

Last week we posted about novellas. We asked which of the prize-winning short books written by women would you like to read whilst at Hillcroft:

Being a college for women means that we try to make women feature prominently in our book collections where suitable. Not just female authors, but female characters too. Yet would we want to read books by women about women? According to the article ‘Books about women less likely to win prizes, study finds‘ – apparently not. Women seem to prefer books about male lead characters and supports the argument for “women’s perspectives being considered uninteresting or unworthy” (Flood 2015).

Uninteresting? Unworthy?….Really?

Do the above novellas feature women as main characters? After reading the short summaries below, do those with main female characters sound as interesting as the other stories?

Three Blind Mice is a murder mystery with a bunch of characters stuck in a house together knowing one of the group is a killer.

The Photograph centers around a female character, Kath… who is dead.

The Grandmothers is about two women who fall in love with each other’s sons.

The Awakening is about a woman who has an unhappy marriage (controversial when it was written in 1899!)

The Artist of Disappearance is about a man called Ravi who lives in solitude on a mountain in India.

The Pre-War House & other stories features families often in dark situations.

Black Water centres on a woman who is attracted to a very powerful, older man at a party.

Heartstones is a Gothic thriller about two sisters living with their widowed father. One of the sisters is obsessed with taking her mother’s place.

Brokeback Mountain is about love between two cowboys.

Mathilda is told by a woman on her deathbed about her sad life without a mother and a disastrous relationship with her father. Published 150 years after it was written because it was so controversial.

Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is centred around the sinister influence that a charismatic female teacher has on girls in school.

Black Sheep is an especially bleak tale about a family in a small mining village.

So there we have it, lots of family drama and controversial relationships. There are strong and strange female characters aplenty. Yet all the stories are based in Western cultures apart from The Artist of Disappearance – but addressing that issue would be another whole blog post.