Cultural Highlights - February
They say that well behaved women rarely make history - and this month reinforces the case - as stories of remarkable women come to the forefront this February.
From a real life heinous murderer to the fictional ladies of Greek mythology Corinne Jones shares some of the most gripping talks this season.
4th February, 6.00pm. Mary Ball and the Nuneaton Poisoning
The trial and execution of Mary Ball in 1849 is one of the most notorious in Coventry's history. Yet her crime - poisoning her husband by mixing arsenic into a bowl of gruel so that she could be with her young lover - was committed in Nuneaton, eight miles away.
Join Heygo on this tour as we visit the streets where Mary and Thomas Ball lived, and in his case died, and the chemist shop where she purchased the fatal pennyworth of arsenic - and hear why Mary's features, described by one newspaper as 'formidable', are still gaxed upon today.
7th February at 6.00pm. Effie Currie and Folk Tales
This talk will focus on a collection of a dozen hero tales taken from the recitation of Effie Currie. Both her documented repertoire, including an oral variant of the Táin Bó Cúailnge, and the observations of those who met and knew Effie, reveal her to be a remarkable verbal artist. Effie’s storytelling challenges the stereotypes concerning the types of narrative maintained and performed by women storytellers in Gaelic tradition.
7th February at 2.00 pm Manchester City of Culture
Manchester of the mid-19th century wanted to show the world that it was more than just a forest of smokestack industries and belching chimneys by creating a City of Culture where the arts and the glories of civilisation could flourish alongside commerce and manufacturing.
Success followed. Manchester became known for its many theatres, concert halls, collections of paintings, fine architecture and love of creativity and ingenuity.
8th February at 5.30pm. Art UK
Join Art UK and Naomi Polonsky, Associate Curator, for an exciting exploration of some notable works. In this talk you will discover the remarkable and radical history of The Women’s Art Collection and hear about fascinating works by Mary Kelly, Maud Sulter, Rose Garrard, Marlene Rolfe, Paula Rego and Anya Paintsil.
15th February at 7.30pm, Lost Rainforests of Britain
Guy Shrubsole’s book 'Lost Rainforests of Britain' is the story of a unique habitat that has been so ravaged, most people today don’t realise it exists. Temperate rainforest may once have covered up to one-fifth of Britain and played host to a dazzling variety of luminous life-forms, inspiring Celtic druids, Welsh wizards, Romantic poets, and Arthur Conan Doyle’s most loved creations. Though only fragments now remain, they form a rare and internationally important habitat, home to lush ferns and beardy lichens, pine martens and pied flycatchers. But why are even environmentalists unaware of their existence? And how have we managed to excise them from our cultural memory?
15th February at 7.00pm James Nasmyth
This talk centres around the life of James Nasmyth, 1808 to 1890, an engineer, who relocated from Scotland to Manchester. Nasmyth was an inventor, a scientist, the kind of man who, wanting to know more about the universe, made himself a new kind of telescope. Nasmyth was one of thousands who was drawn to this place where there was both freedom to trade and the opportunity to meet similar kindred spirits. This talk will also introduce a few of these people who have never been famous, have never made the news, but still have some stories to tell.
16th February at 6.00pm Recovering the Women of the Trojan War
This talk explores why women are turning to the Trojan War now more than ever, to retell stories from thousands of years ago in their own voices – and in their own ways.
It will also include a reading from For the Most Beautiful, and a Q&A with the author.
Emily Hauser is an award-winning classicist, Lecturer at the University of Exeter, and the author of the acclaimed Golden Apple trilogy retelling the stories of the women of Greek myth.
22nd February at 6.30pm Britain’s Oldest Pub
Numerous claims are made to be Britain’s oldest pub from all corners of the isles. Pubs have been the beating heart of communities for centuries and there are firm regional rivalries when it comes to competing for the very oldest boozer.
23rd February at 6.30pm Ancient Powers and Rituals
Whether the Druidic Curse cast on Dana Andrews, Charlton Heston performing ancient Egyptian rituals in the British Museum, or the Masonic undertones of Jack the Ripper, the stories of London horror cinema have long been under the spell of ancient powers and occult.
Horror films made the most of this longstanding relationship with the mystic and the otherworldly, bringing Egyptian gods, Druidic runes, werewolves and long-dead spirits to its streets, while the very real occult societies of the area inspired a range of horror films all over the world involving serial killers and mythic beasts.
27th February at 6.30pm Fashion Fury and Feathers
When social historian Tessa Boase told the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds she wanted to write their early story, they refused to let her visit their archives. To a former investigative journalist, this was a challenge she could not resist.
This lecture shines a light on the intriguing story of women’s love affair with plumage – and of the brave eco feminists who fought back on behalf of the birds.
Moving from a polite Victorian tea party to an egret hunt in a Florida swamp; from a suffragette ‘monster rally’ to a milliner’s dusty workshop, you’ll be taken back in time to a world where every woman of every class wore a hat.