Rule of Thumb

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Today is International Human Rights Day and the final day of the UN 16 Days of Action to eliminate violence against women.  I wanted to mark this day by updating our blog archive with the information on Rule of Thumb – our social justice programme on violence against women, which ran from 2004 -2005.

Following on from Sanctuary in 2003, this programme developed the work at GoMA on social justice and elbowroom, the lead-in exhibition, opened on International Human Rights Day in 2004. Work on Rule of Thumb had begun 18 months before and we had a huge support from the two key partners: Amnesty International and Rape Crisis Scotland, along with other members of the Advisory Group including:Glasgow Women’s Library; Glasgow Violence Against Women Partnership; Glasgow Women’s Aid; Rape Crisis Centre, Glasgow; Wise Women – Personal Safety Tutors; Meridian – Centre for Black and Ethnic Minority Women and the Women’s Support Project.

Barbara Kruger’s installation at GoMA was fantastic and images from it, documented by Ruth Clark, are over on flickr. The installation in Gallery 4 brought in people interested in her work, the issue and on the off-chance. Our resource space was often filled with people leaving messages of support for women and girls facing violence and sometimes their own personal stories. The work from all the outreach projects was a powerful experience for everyone involved and the artworks shown along with the fragments of conversations around them will stay with me for a long time.

Victoria Hollows, the Museum Manager at the time, and I are speaking about this work later today. We are part of a panel discussion for the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the National College of Art and Design (Dublin) have organised as part of the exhibition: And They Tell Me Life is Good, They Tell Me to Live it Gently. This seminar has been organised to bring together cultural institutions, artists, social work, NGOs and criminal justice services to look at how we can work together to raise awareness about violence against women and develop a zero tolerance across our cities towards violence against women. It is also a timely reminder for us to celebrate those women who have survived and of the amazing work that so many people contributed to this programme and subsequent work on violence against women and the UN 16 Days of Action that GoMA has been involved in.

On International Human Rights Day we should also remember those women still needing our support and their struggle not to be forgotten. One way Glasgow is doing this is signing up to be a White Ribbon City in 2014. More about this will be available next year through the Glasgow Violence Against Women Partnership, but in the meantime you can sign up and pledge your support for the White Ribbon Campaign here.

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