- Artist: Carrie Reichardt
- Artist Mentee: Claire Eddleston
- Collaborators: Clare Rigby, Darby Joan Club, Parr Conservative and Working Men’s Club, Parr Children’s Centre (young mums group, toddler groups); Derbyshire Hill Family Centre, The Warm Hub, The Book Stop, Parr shopkeepers, Madison Court Care Home residents and staff, St Mary’s Care Centre residents and staff, Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School, Browns Short Break Respite Centre and Torus Walking Group.
- Producers: Anna Kronenburg, Rhyannon Parry
- Partners: Torus Foundation
Did you know, there are more public statues of men named John than there are of women, in the UK? Strong Women aims to capture and highlight the untold stories of women in St Helens and Knowsley and celebrate their contributions to the boroughs through two new murals. The project also features a public programme exploring women’s and LGBTQIA+ people's role within the history of street art.
Carrie Reichardt is an internationally recognised artist who uses a mix of mural, mosaic and screen-printing techniques to create elaborate works of art (famously mosaicing her entire house in London).
Strong Women of St Helens
Carrie first visited St Helens in 2022 to meet some community groups and was inspired by the important roles and responsibilities taken on by strong, local women, and the extent to which women in Parr care and support one another. Over a series of workshops, participants were invited to bring along stories, photographs and talk to Carrie about the local area.
Collaborators in St Helens attended a number of workshops at Parr Children’s Centre, Holy Spirit Catholic Primary school in Parr, The Connie Club and St Marys Care Home, where each person was invited to make and decorate a clay heart in dedication to a strong woman they know, or have been inspired by. Carrie also mentored St Helens artist Claire Eddleston as part of the project, who will continue to share her ceramics knowledge and skills with the community.
The mural’s quote is from mathematician and writer Ada Lovelace, “Here’s to Strong women, may we raise them, may we know them, may we be them.” Each element of the mural was then taken to Carrie’s studio in London to glaze and fire, before installation.
Alongside workshops for local residents groups, the project will invite audiences to engage with a programme of public events and activities exploring women and LGBTQIA+ people’s impact in the traditionally male-dominated world of street art. Strong Women will also include a schools programme, including resources for teachers exploring street art with children.
Strong Women of St Helens was unveiled at a community event in July 2023, and Carrie will be back in early 2024 to begin a series of workshops with women in Knowsley.
The Strong Women programme is made possible by money raised by National Lottery players distributed through The National Lottery Heritage Fund. It forms part of Heart of Glass’ Arts Council England supported Creative People and Places programme. With additional support from Torus Foundation.