Introducing… Girl Gang Manchester
We are thrilled to be supporting artists and collectives from across Greater Manchester host online events each month between December 2020 and May 2021 as part of Festival In My House… And Yours, our popular micro-festival series reimagined for the digital realm. All events will be free and streamed via our Youtube channel.
The programme launches on 17 December at 7pm with A Woman’s Place is in the Home, an ambitious online cross art-form event from Girl Gang Manchester, a collective of artists, activists, academics and party instigators led by Megan Marie Griffith.
From karaoke in the shower and choreographed laundry to smashing up kitchenware, Megan – alongside fellow Girl Gang members Shonagh Short, Jenny Gaskell, Justina Aina & Lowri Evans – are inviting us to explore the politics, emotion and creativity of domestic spaces for modern women.
We caught up with Megan to find out more…
Introducing Megan Marie Griffith, Artistic Director and Executive Producer of Girl Gang Manchester
Girl Gang Manchester are a collective of artists, activists, academics and party instigators. We run projects and events that inspire connection, collaboration, community and creativity.
We’ve been going for nearly five years now and we’ve done everything from immersive film screenings, to workshops, creative club nights, exhibitions, and theatre, just kind of mad things that we dream up together and make happen with a lot of elbow grease, and a lot of cutting and sticking in people’s living rooms.
We’re fiercely DIY and we believe in pop culture being a good access point to comment on the world around us. We believe that feminism and politics should be for everybody and we create spaces where people can be the best version of themselves.
Made up of a combination of already existing best friendships and creative collaborations that have become best friendships, Girl Gang started in Sheffield, launched by two women that met by accident after having a conversation about how Sheffield was a bit of a boy’s club. They recognised a need for a safe space in the city where women could celebrate their own work and champion others.
I was involved in Girl Gang Sheffield right from their first event and I always felt like Manchester would really benefit from it too, so, in 2016 I launched Girl Gang Manchester.
We've done everything from immersive film screenings, to workshops, creative club nights, exhibitions, and theatre, just kind of mad things that we dream up together and make happen with a lot of elbow grease, and a lot of cutting and sticking in people's living rooms. Megan Marie Griffith, Girl Gang Manchester
What made you apply for Festival In My House… And Yours?
This is actually the third time I’ve pitched a Festival In My House idea so I’ve been wanting to do it for ages! As soon as I found out about the project, I thought ‘that is so us!’ Originally, I pitched a day-long event that was focused around our streets. In each different room of the house there was going to be different women from the street leading different workshops and it was very much about my local community.
When Festival in My House went digital, it felt like a really nice way to bring some of those different things together at take it to the next level. It’s really exciting to finally be getting the opportunity to do it!
What can you tell us about your upcoming Festival In My House… And Yours event?
A Woman’s Place Is in The Home celebrates and subverts domestic spaces for modern women, and comments on how complicated, emotional, practical, boring, but also creative and innovative that can be. The idea of ‘women at home’ is something we tend to push against and dismiss, but that attitude can result in a real lack of appreciation for the really important roles that are done by women at home.
Our event is made up of a lot of mini participation projects, from spiritual karaoke in the shower to choreographed laundry to smashing up kitchenware, and we hope the audience will feel a sense of ownership. We like to say that whether you’ve come to one of our events for the first time or just followed our Facebook pages, you’re part of our gang now.
How have you managed working in lockdown?
Lockdown has been strange because part of our ethos is about bringing people off the internet and into the real world. However, we’ve realised that sometimes what seems like a limitation can also be an opportunity. Working online has allowed us to try things that we’ve been wanting to do for a while, particularly around activism and new ways of collaborating.
There is a permanence to working online. We usually put on these 24-hour extravaganzas that we work on for six months and then it happens for one night only. There is a magic in that – the kind of ephemeral quality of it – but it’s nice that this project will exist online and stay online. We’ll have a record of that work as it was experienced by other people and that’s really exciting to me.
The opportunities around accessibility are really interesting to us too. For example, single mums who can’t normally get to our events in the evening have been able to come to our latest stuff because it’s online and the kids are in bed. Once the real world resumes, I think it would be a shame to abandon this way of working. Going forward we need more of a mixed approach.
Women’s stories always take the spotlight but people of all genders are welcome! Megan Marie Griffith, Girl Gang Manchester
What are you most excited about working with MIF?
I’m so excited by all the other five groups that are presenting work!
Working with MIF I think will amplify our work to lots of people who are outside of our usual demographic which is also really exciting. We always say that we want Girl Gang to be a place for all sorts of different people – not just for women. Women’s stories always take the spotlight but people of all genders are welcome!