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“Be excited by everything in front of you – not frightened!”

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Letters to my teenage self.

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Back in October, for International Day of the Girl 2015, the Golden Triangle Girls of Norwich wrote a series of letters to their teenage selves. Things they wish they knew, things that they wish they had done, warnings for the future! Throughout January we will be uploading these letters for you to read. At the end of the series you can read them all by following the tag ‘letters to my teenage self‘. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we did!

If you would like to share one of your letters to your teenage self, please do send them to us, we’d love to share them! Email us at dayofthegirlnorwich@gmail.com

One Week To Go!

Wow. It’s just over one week until the whole of the world celebrates #IDG2014! We are so excited to be part of a global community that campaigns for girls’ rights and celebrates all of the amazing things that girls can be and do.

This year the day falls on a Saturday which we are really excited about because it means that lots of you will be able to come and be part of the event at the Forum. We have so much planned for the Saturday. There will be henna painting, bracelet making, loads of other arts and crafts as well as workshops and other activities.

We’ll also be holding café conversations which are basically a chance to spend a little while talking about different issues around girlhood and girls experiences. We have some amazing people leading these sessions and drinks and biscuits will be provided for free. Erica Horton will be talking about girls and comedy and Sarah Hill will be hosting a session on girls in recent British films. We also have Jessica Rhodes talking about girls in Disney films and Rachael McLennan exploring girls in culture. They all sound like they are going to be inspiring, entertaining and really good fun!

Throughout the week our film, A Century of Girlhood, will be showing in Fusion. This has been a brilliant project and we’ve had so much fun looking at old films from East Anglia. We hope you’ll drop in and see some of it – watch out for children talking about how they spend their pocket money and also an amazing 17 year old stunt rider who rode the wall of death in Southend! If you’re free on Monday evening, why not pop down to Fusion where we’ll be toasting the film with a drinks reception.

And of course, on a more serious note, we’re holding a discussion event on Wednesday 8th October at the UEA which will focus on harm that is being done to girls and features talks from Rachel Welch of selfharm.co.uk and Hau Yee Lam from Norfolk police. Both speakers will give us an important insight into issues such as self-harm, domestic violence and honour based violence and we hope that the evening will help us to better understand how to counter the impact of these forms of violence on girls’ lives.

We really hope that you come along, bring your friends, families and anyone else and help us to make Norwich’s International Day of the Girl celebration a brilliant event!

We’re all going on a summer holiday…Tori and Sarah get busy with the archives!

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While October might seem an age away from the glorious burst of summer that we are having it is all systems go in Girl HQ at the moment so we thought we’d take a quick break from it all to do a quick update!

Back in April some of our lovely colleagues at UEA nominated the project for a Community Engagement Award – and we’re honoured to tell you that we won! This award means that Day of the Girl Norwich is doing a really good job of working outside of the University and contributing to the community in a great way – but only because of the wonderful support of so many other people and organisations such as the Schools we work with (Mulbarton Junior, Notre Dame, Norwich High, Ormiston Victory Academy, Cliff Park Ormiston Academy, Recreation Road Infants, Stoke Holy Cross Primary and Magdalen Gates), Norfolk Guides, Future Radio, our friends on the committee, and of course, the lovely people at The Forum in Norwich who really do go over and beyond to help us bring the event to life. Without your support and belief in the importance of girls’ rights we would never be where we are now – in the run up to number 3! Yikes!

This year we thought we’d try something new. Some of you might not know this but Norwich is very lucky to have an amazing film archive – based at the County Hall site near Trowse. EAFA, or the East Anglian Film Archive, to give it it’s full title, is a wonderous place, rammed full of all kinds of old films including lots of amateur films made in the early part of the 1900s. Neither of us are archivists so it was a fascinating chance to have a glimpse at the mysterious world of refrigerated vaults (designed to stop film from degrading) and old Steenbeck machines which would once have edited news reels and movies.

What took us to an archive on a sunny afternoon, you might be thinking? Well, Norwich is not only lucky to have an archive it also has a brilliant resource in Fusion, the public screens that are located in the Forum. One day, while having a leisurely meeting in our town based office of Cafe Bar Marzano, we struck upon a new idea – using Fusion to show archive footage of girls throughout history. Given Sarah’s background in film and television studies and Tori’s work as a media studies person it made perfect sense and so, with help from the wonderful Richard at Fusion, Sean and Clare at EAFA we began figuring out what we needed to do.

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Fast forward a few weeks – Sarah and Tori are camped out in Sarah’s house trawling through the EAFA database for films about girls, and what gems we found! Our favourites included a little girl looking after her cat in 1901, girls from Yarmouth in the sixties talking about how they spend their pocket money, girls being allowed to wear trousers at school for the first time in the seventies, girls skydiving at Shipdham in the nineties and loads more of girls doing sports ranging from boxing to gymnastics, trampolining, skateboarding and football.

But until its time for you to enjoy these films at Fusion from the 6th of October we’ll leave you with the song that’s been helping us get through these days stuck inside

Day of the Girl Norwich at the Royal Norfolk Show!

As a couple of Norfolk girls, we were pleased as punch to be invited to the Royal Norfolk Show to engage with even more of you out there! Since partnering with the Girl Guides we’ve been really lucky to work with them and even more lucky to be asked to join their (ahem, award winning) stall at the show.

Along with the activities we also figured this would be a great reason to get some stickers printed up (we had 240 and all of them had been snapped up by sticker hungry youngsters Banneredby lunch on the second day) as well some HUMONGOUS bunting. It was a little too much for Tori:

We got there bright and early on that first Wednesday, to make sure that our stall was spick and span – not least because it wouldn’t be long before the show judges would be coming to assess the tent. We were delighted when the Guides/Scouts tent that were were part of was awarded the  Bonds Challenge Cup – given to the most effective exhibit by a charitable organisation. We were chuffed to bits for them, lots of hard work paid off.

We were warmly welcomed into the Guides tent and some Brownies were our first visitors, and it wasn’t long before our stall was buzzing.

 

We had lots of fun thinking about what activities we would do on the stall at back Girl HQ, deciding on empowerment bunting and self-esteem fortune tellers. The bunting would get people thinking about what it good about girls, or what some of the good things or bad things about being a girl are, meanwhile the fortune tellers would help the youngsters to reflect on the things that they liked about their lives with the aim of building self-confidence and body-confidence.

The fortune tellers were based on a Guides activity that counts towards their ‘Free Being Me’ badge, and so if you’d like to print one off at home and make one for yourself go ahead! Screen shot 2014-06-27 at 15.43.30You can find it by visiting this link and going to page 47. We asked people to write down four things they liked about their lives, and four things they liked about how they look. Lots of people, us included, found it hard to say what we liked about our looks and bodies. But at Day of the Girl Norwich we think its super important that we can have confidence in how we look, and can be able to find it ourselves, rather than looking to others for it. Our other activity, girl empowerment bunting was a way for everybody to get a chance to say what they liked about being a girl, or if they weren’t girls what they thought was good about girls, or maybe even some things that people thought was not very good about being a girl. We had loads of fun hearing what people had to say!

Over the course of the next few weeks we’ll be uploading pictures of these pieces of bunting onto our GirlsRoar twitter feed, so be sure to follow us to join in with the conversation!

Lots of our visitors were female, but what was great to see was a number of boys taking part. Our fortune teller activity was, we felt, especially important for boys. Many boys found it difficult to articulate what they liked about themselves, especially in terms of their bodies. We might sometimes forget that the focus we place on girls’ appearance might also make boys think that its ‘girly’ to think about their appearance, whereas we think its important that everyone has body confidence.

We had a brilliant time at the show and there are some people that we’d like to thank for making it such a great experience. The first is to Alice Flowers who was with us with both of the days and managed to have enough energy despite both being an overnight camper AND cart race competitor! Our daily volunteers, BJ Epstein, Erica Horton and Sanna Inthorn (all of whom got to enjoy their very first Royal Norfolk Show), thank you for all of your help. Lots of thanks to Girl Guiding (and the Scouts) for letting us be a part of your family for the two days of the show.  And of course, a BIG thank you to all of you that came to see us!

Over and out from some very tired women at Girl HQ!

The Girl Ambassador Programme

So, it’s been a busy few weeks at Girl HQ and we are super excited that the Evening News has covered the project.

 

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The article talks about our Girl Ambassador programme – but what is a Girl Ambassador and what do they do? We thought that it was important that girls were at the centre of this project – it is by them, for them and about them. With this in mind we set about trying to realise our idea of building a network of girls across Norfolk. These girls would help to lead the project and make sure that we’re heading in a direction that is relevant and useful to girls.

Girl Ambassadors will act as leaders within their communities (these could be schools, youth groups, villages or even just a few friends who are interested in the project). The Girl Ambassadors will be the main point of contact and will help to share the vision of Day of the Girl Norwich and celebrate and raise awareness of what it means to be a girl.

Because Norfolk is a big place and not all of it is served by public transport, we needed something that was more than just meeting up – although this is one aspect of what we are trying to do. Much of how we communicate as a network will take place online – using blogs and social media to set the agenda and co-ordinate the events.

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We know that girls have got lots to say  about what is good but also not so good about being a girl and what we hope to do with the Girl Ambassadors is to make sure that this project creates that space effectively.

Girl Ambassadors will play a big role in making GirlsRoar a lively place for discussion and sharing. GirlsRoar is our online initiative which we really hope will be led by girls from our community. You can find us on Twitter (@girlsroar) – so follow us and send us your tweets. Your tweets can be about something cool that has happened to you or something that annoys you or about anything else girl related!! If you’re not on twitter you can always #girlsroar on instagram and whatnot.

So, send us your thoughts, your pictures – or whatever else you’d like to share! We can’t wait to build a space that is really led by you!

If you would like to write or do something for this blog then get in touch – we’re always looking for enthusiastic girls who want to have their voices heard!

Over and out for now, from Tori and Sarah at Girl HQ!

 

 

 

We’re Online!

Day of the Girl Norwich is two and a half already, oh how time flies! It feels like it was just yesterday the UN announced that it was recognising the day, aiming to “raise awareness of the situation of girls around the world” for all UN Member States and international organisations as well as civil society. It feels like only yesterday we sat down for a chat and thought, ‘Hey! Norwich could do with joining in on the fun!’, and it feels like only yesterday that we sat down to write this blog post – oh, hang on, that was only yesterday.

Day of the Girl Norwich has grown so much since that first year and that’s in a large part because we (Tori and SarahDSCN0584) are so passionate about making sure everyone from across the community can be involved in som
e way. One of the reasons we’re so passionate about celebrating day of the girl both on the UN recognised day (October 11th), but also across the year, is because we fundamentally believe that girls matter, and at the moment girls are still getting a raw deal (they’re being disadvantaged not just because they’re female, but because they’re young and female).

It’s really easy to see why we need an International Day of the Girl when we consider these sobering facts:

And you just need to take a look at the inspiring things that the people we’ve met have said in our photo essay to see why getting people talking about girlhood is so important.

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We have been so inspired by the things that young people have had to say about what it means to be a girl, and there have been so many highlights from the past couple of years. We have been humbled by the sheer enthusiasm for the project from the local community and we have spoken to so many different people, from all walks of life, who want to share their stories with us. Last year we had a schools symposium that we held in The Curve at The Forum alongside our exhibition, and it was wonderful to bring girls from the community together so that they could realise that they are not alone in experiencing the pressures of being young and female, to look  and act the ‘right’ way. If we’ve helped just a few girls gain strength through our activities, and helped a handful of people reflect on the issues that face girls – as well as celebrating how brilliant girls are – then we’ve achieve our goals.

We’ve got a really exciting calendar of events coming up in 2014, which will include more collaboration with schools from across the region, having a stall at the Royal Norfolk Show,  visiting schools to give assemblies and helping young people from across the world celebrate NORJAM 2014 – very exciting!!

Be sure to watch this space and follow us on Twitter for more information!

Over and out from Tori and Sarah at Girls HQ!