Arts Network Sutton’s reporter, Beth Turner on how an ANS grant has boosted a thriving group of creative women
Not so long ago, being a woman in society was, at best, difficult. In a world dominated by men, women were expected to learn to cook, clean, and eventually settle down and become wives and mothers. There wasn’t much opportunity to do anything outside of that and getting into creative pursuits was a monumental task. Fast forward to today and, for the most part, opportunities for men and women in the UK are equal. Women are able to live their lives in any way they choose and to be openly passionate about their interests. In Sutton, it’s groups like the Women’s Creative Writers’ Group that allows local women to nurture their passion for writing.
The group, which meets at the Sutton Women’s Centre, is ‘a place which allows women a safe and supportive place to learn and create,’ according to member and leader, Clare Taylor. A free-to-join group for women of all ages, it allows for women to not only share ideas, but it also gives incredible support for those participating. This goes as far as to hire a published author, adult fantasy writer Gaie Seabold, to occasionally join them to give her own views and experiences on the world of writing. ‘Gaie has even created activities to stimulate our writing,’ Clare says. By working with Gaie, the women involved, who according to Clare, are from very different backgrounds, have had their abilities and range vastly broadened. ‘It has become very inspirational for those involved,’ she says.
However, all of these opportunities, and the advancements made by the group, have only been possible with the benefit of a grant from Arts Network Sutton, an independent local charity set up to build and nurture the widest possible arts activities in the borough. ‘The sessions are now more formal and structured,’ says Clare. ‘We all look forward to them eagerly’. The grant has allowed the group to not only to hire the expertise of published writers, but also expand its abilities and ambitions. ‘We hope to create an anthology of a selection of the work we have produced during our time in the group,’ Clare added. It’s a large task, but with the ANS funding it has become far more do-able – and with the input of all those involved it is likely to be a very interesting read.
When asked to describe the group, Clare responded: ‘I can’t think of just one word to sum up our experience but exciting, stimulating and fun are three!’ These are possibly the best qualities a writers’ group could have – and the most important too.
The Women’s Creative Writers’ Group takes place every 3rd Tuesday each month at the Sutton Women’s Centre, at 7pm. For more information contact Clare Taylor at: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Liz McGarry, Centre Manager, Sutton Women’s Centre
The Women’s Creative Writers’ Group takes place every 3rd Tuesday each month at the Sutton Women’s Centre, at 7pm. For more information contact Clare Taylor at: email@example.com or contact Liz McGarry, Centre Manager, Sutton Women’s Centre, 3 Palmerston Road, Sutton SM1 4QL; tel. 020 8661 1991, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on Arts Network Sutton and the process of applying for grants to fund creative projects email email@example.com or visit: www.artsnetworksutton.org.