There is never anything riding on my photographs. Usually no one asks me to take them, I just do. And I am ashamed to say that often I shy away from taking the photograph I want to take. I chicken out and fail to lift the camera to my eye for fear of rejection from the subject in question, or fear of not being good enough, for not taking a good enough photo. So when I received an email asking me to photograph the launch of The Women’s Museum of Ireland the following day (!!) I was, understandably, apprehensive. Thankfully Richard managed to quickly talk me into it and I agreed.
The evening was a huge success. It began with a panel discussion on ‘Women in Education’ with Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness, Professor Susan Parkes and Jean Sutton (who co-founded the museum with Kate Cunningham last November). McGuinness and Parkes spoke of their educational experiences in Trinity in the 1940s. To be surrounded by such inspirational, eloquent and intelligent women was an absolute privilege. They spoke about the fact that even though their mothers had attended Trinity and had not gone on to develop careers, they encouraged their daughters to attend. And so when those daughters had daughters of their own they too encouraged them to attend university. After the discussion the Museum was officially launched with an exhibition of photographs of women in education. Women posing as they ironed bedsheets in unison, women getting married on campus, women protesting, studying, writing and smiling. Women learning and growing. Over the past hundred years each generation of women has pushed the boundary a little further, they have raised the bar a little higher and if I took anything away from last night’s event it is that I would not be sitting here writing this without the generations of women that came before me. Those generations of women fought for the right to be able to read and write as well as any man. They fought to be doctors and lawyers and bankers and writers. Those women fought for the choices that myself and my friends don’t ever think twice about. I left the event last night incredibly proud and incredibly thankful.
Make sure to check out the rest of the photographs I took on the Women’s Museum of Ireland facebook page. The exhibition ‘Snapshots of Women in Education’ is on all week in The Long Room Hub in Trinity and is well worth a visit. Keep an eye on the website too and expect nothing but great things from Kate & Jean.