Since February 2018 I have been working on building an archive of digital stories for the Forty Voices Forty Years project. Through travelling the length and width of Wales I have had the privilege of meeting the most amazing and incredibly strong women. Through interviews with Welsh women of all diverse backgrounds and age, I’ve captured the stories of the Women’s Aid Movement and the violence against women movement in Wales over the last 4 decades.
It has underlined my understanding that Welsh Women’s Aid are at the forefront of empowering survivors of domestic violence and abuse and aim to keep their voices at the core of the work they are doing.
I also turned 40 in 2018, and I’ve learnt so much about how Welsh Women’s Aid have pushed boundaries, created change and put policies in place for example with Welsh Government but also put the movement into perspective of what still needs to be addressed to make change and make a fear free world for women and children.
The archive contains stories from Jane Hutt AM who was the first co-ordinator for Welsh Women’s Aid in 1978 to stories that were created at workshops with survivors of domestic abuse who felt confident to share their experiences with the project.
With interviews and workshop stories surpassing the big 40, we were able to bring in Lisa Heledd Jones and Iain Peebles of StoryWorks to edit the remainder of the digital stories. With their impeccable delivery we have made the deadline to finish the project just before time.
In 2018 the Forty Voices Forty Years exhibition toured the following venues: Galeri in Caernarfon, The Welfare Hall Ystradgynlais, Swansea University Library, The Faculty of Creative Industries at USW and The Cynon Valley Museum Aberdare. Visitors could listen to the digital stories I created and learn about the history of Welsh Women’s Aid.
A larger exhibition containing objects and digital stories will open on the 24th January 2019 at St Fagans National History Museum Wales until late February 2019.
The archive will be deposited at National Library Wales and uploaded to The People’s Collection Wales in early 2019.
Forty Voices, Forty Years is a heritage project led by Welsh Women’s Aid in collaboration with the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling at the University of South Wales.
We are grateful for the generous support of our funders enabling this project to go ahead, including Heritage Lottery Fund, the Big Lottery Fund’s National Lottery Awards for All and Hanfod Cymru.