“How often do you take time to think about and celebrate your achievements? All too often our
progress is swept under the carpet and we lose sight of our creative selves.”
Workshop group photo with Adetoro Adeniran Kane
This is the question MamaToro posed to the group as we settled into the Hat Works Museum for the
final Women + Archives workshop of 2023. Through the lens of objects and culture, the group was led in a discussion that aimed to interpret an archive through the female gaze. The participants considered the representation of women in
archives and how female stories are told in museum collections, if they are told at all. Key themes raised by the group included the lack of research into the women in collections, the connotations of motherhood associated with women in collections of art and the sexualisation of female bodies in art. 
Images shared by MamaToro looked back to look forward, seeking out the historical roles of under celebrated women and drawing on these as inspiration for the future of representation. As MamaToro shared some of her own collection of objects, conversation turned to how we collect and celebrate stories of female empowerment in our own lives. 
While the group was made up solely of women, the discussion and story sharing became personal, connected to our own empowerment as mothers, creatives and professionals. In turn, the group shared objects that they had brought along to symbolise the start of an archive of self. 
The objects took on myriad forms from the physical to the digital and were used to celebrate and symbolise the achievements of the individual. Each story was shared and documented and each object provided an opportunity to lift each other up and celebrate the special moments that are contained within our own archives.
Reflections by artist, curator and researcher Beth Turner-Pemburton / All photography © ElleBrotherhood 
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