Deeds Not Words was Bristol’s year-long celebration of 100 years since some women in the UK were granted the right to vote in 1918. In the early 20th Century, Bristol had the highest level of suffrage activity outside of London and the aim of this new programme was to learn from our shared history and to inspire future generations. Bristol Women’s Voice led and co-ordinated 14 Deeds Not Words ‘Core Programme’ projects with partner organisations from across the city. Bristol was one of 7 UK towns and cities to receive funding to produce a wide range of events and activities. 

The programme focused on three broad themes:  

  • Celebrating women’s role in achieving change
  • Making change happen: voting, campaigning, getting involved
  • Building the future.

Deeds Not Words was launched with a Lantern Parade down Park Street on February 6th 2018 to mark the day, 100 years ago, when women over 30 who owned property were given the right to vote. With thousands of Bristolians in attendance, the parade marked the start of an exciting, diverse and engaging year-long programme of centenary celebrations.  

The Core Activities: 

  • Lantern Workshops – Craft workshops with historical talks.
  • Lantern Parade – Illuminating lantern procession and stage event
  • 100 Voices – Choir performance by 100 girls and women of a commissioned song.
  • In Our Hands – A film commission about gender equality.
  • International Women’s Day – BWV event celebrating women.
  • Wonderful Women Awards – Awards ceremony and digital project.
  • Exploring Engineering – STEM careers event for young girls.
  • Votes for Women at M Shed – Event sharing Bristol’s rich heritage of women’s suffrage.
  • Our Lives, Our ChoiceConference offering girls inspiring career guidance.
  • UpFestWomen on Walls commission of 3 graffiti pieces at Europe’s largest street art festival.
  • Suffragette Landmarks Games – A digital project inspiring girls into careers in games.
  • Black Women 100 – A one-day celebration of Bristol’s women of colour.
  • Sarah Guppy – A theatre performance celebrating an historic Bristol woman engineer.
  • We Are Warriors – Theatre workshops about being a woman. A sound and light installation.

From International Women’s Day to theatre and musical performances to conferences and heritage events, the Deeds Not Words initiative explored and celebrated the history of women’s lives in Bristol over the past 100 years. Learning from this rich past, the events paved the way for inspiring future activism and engagement with women’s lives in Bristol today. 

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