The Return Of The Women Who Never Left
The Return of the Women Who Never Left explores the ways that young women in Ardoyne are judged and stereotyped and works out ways to challenge this by using photography and humour.
Zoe Murdoch (artist) worked closely with the YEHA project and a core group of 11 young women to find creative ways of changing people’s perceptions of young women from Ardoyne. Many topics were addressed in depth including teenage pregnancy, drug & alcohol abuse and different perceptions of what beauty is. The young women soon discovered that messages can be made more powerful by using humour and irony as an antidote to the, often cruel, stereotypes and clichés that are directed towards young people in general and young women from Ardoyne in particular.
Projects like The Return of the Women Who Never Left give the young women an opportunity to redefine themselves as multi-dimensional, unpredictable and untypical girls!
Ruth Graham, Development Officer, Golden Thread Galley
The YEHA project is based in Ardoyne Flax Healthcare centre. It works under the umbrella project of Ardoyne and Shankill Healthcare Partnership. We are a small team of highly skilled youth workers working with young people aged between 0-25 on a range of issues with the goal of enhancing their personal development.
The project worked with a group of young women aged between 13 -16 all from Ardoyne. The girls decided that they would like to cover the issue of ´stereotypes` as they often suffer from generalisations that others can make about young girls from the Ardoyne area. Ardoyne is a highly deprived area with a strong sense of political and national identity. We asked the girls to explore their own identity and how coming from this community has affected them.
The girls were highly motivated over the twelve week project and lead the majority of discussions and activities themselves themselves. We offered them a range of mediums to use throughout the project. They chose to work with Zoe an artist from the Golden Thread gallery to carry out a photography project. Sick of being perceived as `animals` the girls used the photographs as a way to express this.
I am extremely proud to have worked with this group of young women and wish them every success in the future. They achieved an awesome amount of perspective from working together and a good understanding of who they are and what they desire to become.
Lara Thompson , Youth Worker, YEHA Project