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Grrrlizm is an all girl art collective and online platform celebrating creative women, based in Manchester. By hosting events such as exhibitions, print fairs and fundraisers. The collective hope to create a welcoming space for female creatives and work alongside them, whether they join or not.

When we say GRRRL, we mean ALL women of all backgrounds, including female identifying and trans-women. There are currently three girls in the collective, Amy Smithers, Bekkie Kershaw and Meryeme Shone.’ Although a rather small collective currently, Grrrlizm would like to invite any girls to get in touch and join. 

Amy Smithers founder of the collective had the desire to meet and collaborate with like-minded female artists. A photographer who focuses on the female gaze through portraiture and fashion imagery. Amy also runs the logistics of the group, plans the events, runs the social media accounts and writes for the blog. 

To celebrate the centenary of women receiving partial voting rights and Women’s History Month, Grrrlizm hosted their zine launch party at Common, Manchester. Although the blog had been ongoing for over a year, the zine was their first major project together. Focusing on the female experience, including sexuality, body positivity, the female gaze, the suffragettes, self love and much more. The event was free and open to everybody, but guests were suggested to donate sanitary products for Every Month, a Manchester based charity supporting homeless women, alternatively donations to the charity were welcome. The zine is now stocked in Nonsense, at Hatch on Oxford Road. 

Alongside the launch party, Grrrlizm hosted a print fair, where guests had the opportunity to purchase creative grrrlz artworks. The stallholders included: Rose Sergent/Drawn Poorly zine, Danielle Rhoda, Zoe Blundel, MOIST art collective, Caitlin Johns, MSSA Zine, Zoe Blundell and Polly Richards. Entertainment was provided by a female DJ collective performing throughout the night. Combing both the launch party and the print fair allowed the greatest celebration of local female artists. With the intention to create a space for other women, Grrrrlizm commented, ‘we hate feeling like there’s competition, as women and as artists. So much more is achieved for all of us when we come together and collaborate.’ 

Grrrlizm fundraised for the Pankhurst Trust and Women’s Aid, who support survivors of domestic and sexual abuse. The Pankhurst Centre is the former home of Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the Suffragette movement; it is an iconic building with political significance that is active in helping women in the community today. A centre run by volunteers supported through donations with no public funding. Celebrating the birthplace of the Suffragette movement, visitors can stay in touch with elements of the past through education and memorabilia. Grrrlizm made sure to raise money and awareness at Common, on the night of their launch. Information was also available about issues that still affect women today, such as sexual assault, women’s healthcare and domestic violence. Supporting women and girls in the community, whether they are artists or survivors of any kind of abuse, the collective’s priority. 

Having only just finished their first event, Grrrlizm is in the midst of organising their next. An Arts Fest on1st May that will showcase the talent and voices of women in the arts at Common, beginning with a film screening and a performance set featuring stories and poetry. Guests can get a ‘quick portrait’ drawing of themselves, purchase artwork by local artists and watch a live art performance by Ella Skinner.

Fiona Finchett