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Votes for Women art centrepiece chosen

Published Tuesday 28 August 2018

A new piece of artwork, celebrating 100 years since women were first granted the right to vote, has been chosen thanks to help from the public.

To mark the centenary of Women’s Suffrage, Harborough District Council is commissioning a piece of artwork to be installed at The Symington Building in Market Harborough.  Harborough District Council asked the public to nominate their favourite piece of artwork from the three proposals.

Just over 600 nominations were received by the public and these nominations were considered by a Commissioning Panel to help inform their decision.

After much deliberation, the panel decided to award the commission to Derek Hunt who designs glass artworks for public spaces, including libraries, schools, hospitals, theatres and churches.

Mr Hunt said: “I’m absolutely thrilled. It’s a real honour to be commissioned in The Symington Building and wonderful to be part of the story of this iconic building.”

The public were invited to nominate their favourite proposal online – as well as view an exhibition of the shortlisted artists’ proposals at The Symington Building.

Leader of the Council Neil Bannister, who was one of the panellists, said: “Whilst all three proposals were highly inventive, the panel were particularly impressed by Derek’s use of colour and light and the way it would fit with the existing art in The Symington Building.  I’d like to thank the public for their input and I am looking forward to seeing the final piece unveiled in December.”

This artwork will form part of a number of Harborough District Council projects this year commemorating the centenary of the 1918 Representation of the People Act which, for the first time, gave women the right to vote, and the centenary of the end of World War I.

The Representation of the People Act 1918 widened the right to vote by abolishing practically all property qualifications for men (which had restricted many men’s right to vote) and – for the first time – granting the right to vote to women over 30 who met minimum property qualifications. The breakthrough for women’s suffrage was accepted as recognition of the contribution made by women defence workers. However, women were still not politically equal to men (who could vote from the age of 21); full electoral equality did not occur until the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928.

The public are now invited to submit information about any local women who may have been involved in the Suffragette movement at the time which could be incorporated into the artwork.  Email suggestions to communications@harborough.gov.uk