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Loud and Proud

13 February 2013

In early February, Forster had the privilege of playing an integral role in the delivery of an amazing art event at the Tate Modern. Conceived by artist, Suzanne Lacy, SILVER ACTION brought together 400 women aged 60 and over who have been UK activists in the last 40 years.

Suzanne Lacy says the question of women’s role in public life, particularly as they age, interests her more than the issue of ageing itself. How do women feel as they achieve the level of experience suitable for leadership, when they are progressively excluded from those roles?

Gathered in the Tate Tanks, the latest addition to the gallery, were women who had taken part in demos, strikes and protests, including the iconic Greenham Common camps against nuclear missiles. Here, they told each other movingly and powerfully of their experiences. A team of twenty social media volunteers listened to these conversations, taking them to a much wider audience via Facebook, Twitter and individual blogs.

Forster was tasked to recruit, brief and manage the social media team on the day. With less than two weeks until the event itself, we busied ourselves making contact with prominent and relevant bloggers and tweeters, concerned that we would not have the numbers needed to do full justice to the event. We needn’t have worried as it was like pushing against an open door. We were soon inundated with volunteers. Following a briefing session, we chose our social media team. Two Forster colleagues, Rosie and Katy, spent all of Sunday 3 February co-ordinating the team as they supported the event.

We created a Storify account of the social media element, which chronicles just a small amount of the social media output and buzz created by the event itself.

There were thousands of tweets on the day and many more after. People were surprised and inspired by the dynamism, thoughtfulness and radical ideals and ideas of a generation of women who are criminally under represented in contemporary discourse.

The public voice of these women has been quiet for much too long. Suzanne is hoping for this to just be the beginning of the conversation. Her hope is that the documentation of Silver Action will not only pave the way for similar engaging and conversive art forms, but also stop the stories of so many extraordinary women from being forgotten.

Forster will be working with Suzanne to see where the project can go next. It’s great to be part of an initiative that will help the voice of older women become loud and proud again.