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Deeds Not Words: women in activism


On November 17th, a group of pioneering women activists took to the Centre's small but perfect stage to share their experiences of being women in climate and social activism.

The speakers were writer, presenter, educator and activitst Chantelle Lunt, a national civil rights campaigner and the founder of Merseyside Alliance for Racial Equality CIC (MARE); co-founder of Extinction Rebellion Clare Farrell; Dorothea Hackman, a 70-year-old Camden grandmother and veteran campaigner who has been actively resisting High Speed 2 since its inception in 2008 and HS2 campaigner Karen Wildin.

The panel, captured in film by Real Media, launched one of the Islington Climate Centre's punchier exhibitions, Deeds Not Words, Photography of Women in Activism between 2020 and 2022 by Denise Laura Baker, a London based socially engaged, documentary, street and portrait photographer and photojournalist.

'Climate change is a man made problem that will be solved by feminism .... this will include men because feminism is about equality ' Mary Robinson

In 1897, the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, led by Millicent Fawcett, lobbied parliament for the vote for women. In 1903, tired of gaining no ground, Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Sylvia and Christabel set up the more radical Women's Social and Political Union that undertook direct action such as window smashing and arson.

The group’s motto was " Deeds, Not Words". Over a hundred years later, women are still taking the helm in a bid to enact change. Last month, seven women were convicted of criminal damage for breaking Barclays windows, in a bid to draw attention to the bank’s investment in fossil fuels; they are due to be sentenced later this month. (1)

Deeds Not Words celebrates women engaging in activism today. “As a life-long campaigner and activist, I have a history of attending protests and marches,” says Denise. “As a photojournalist, I document activism and communities, capturing the way individuals stand together and work together, highlighting the whole picture and effecting change.

“Combining an activist’s passion and a photojournalist's neutrality is complex. In the words of Ukrainian documentary photographer Maxim Dondyuk: ‘the camera is my weapon and my mouthpiece.’ In these pictures, all taken between 2020 and 2022, my heart lies with the women acting. I state my allegiance, but I also want to tell a rounded story and be a truthful witness.”


About: Denise Laura Baker is a London based socially engaged, documentary, street and portrait photographer and photojournalist.She focuses on environmental and social issues, climate change, activism, and community. Themes of connection, journeys, identity, change and transition also feature highly.

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