Idle Women Institute was a project and working space in St. Helens town center, open between September 2017 and May 2019. The space was opened as part of Helen, as a place for women to tear the house apart, in more ways than one.
In the IWI, Idle Women hosted workshops, meetings and produced a series of building tutorial videos for women under the title Power Tools. Workshops were lead by Idle Women and collaborating tradeswomen and artists, working alongside local women. Together they deconstructed a town centre building, along the way reimagining the building and their own connection to their domestic and work spaces.
All work from demolition through to bricklaying, electrics, and plumbing was carried out by professional tradeswomen with local women who were learning these new skills.
Artist Dina Rončević hosted car deconstruction workshops, where women dismantled, rebuilt and learned to fix a Land Rover. Dina went on to carry out 1-2-1 MIG welding workshops with women.
Idle Women lead workshops in survival skills and crafting for women and professional tradeswomen showed local women how to build a lamp, change a lightbulb, smash a window and use a drill.
Power Tools was shared as a series of 14 DIY instructional videos, serving as an online legacy of a three-year long programme of arts and construction activities.