BWP and the National Justice Museum – working in partnership

BWP has always been a dynamic organisation, taking a holistic approach when supporting women and young people who are suffering from domestic abuse. So, when the opportunity arose to work with one of the region’s most prominent and creative museums, it felt like the perfect match.

Sarah Hartshorne Trustee and Vice Chair of Broxtowe Women’s Project also works as a Museum Development Officer for the East Midlands. And here she explains what can be gained in working in this unique way for a domestic abuse charity.

‘Museums are cultural spaces where people can not only come to learn about the past, but also to reflect on their own identity and imagine new futures. In my professional work as a Museum Development Officer for the East Midlands, it is my role to support cultural organisation to become ambitious and resilient organisation who truly reflect and serve their local communities. In my volunteer work as a Trustee for BWP, I’m part of a dedicated team who ensure the same for our service users.

It has been my absolute privilege to watch these two worlds collide, and to see a collaborative project with real life benefits to all our communities in Broxtowe and beyond.’

The aim of the collaborative project ‘Don’t Judge Me’ is to raise awareness of domestic abuse and violence and address the stigmas still surrounding it. As well as to provide a platform for survivors to express themselves in the run up to IWD. This has been made possible by the hard work and commitment of the Inclusive Practice sub group at BWP, and the fantastic team at the Museum involved in the Project Lab.

Sarah continues ‘the benefit of working in partnership in this way is that the two organisations continual expose each other to new ways of thinking and that challenge allows for some real inspirational activity. For example, our women were already being encouraged to write original poetry to explore their own experiences. However, with the support of the museum’s expertise in curation and publishing we’ve been able to turn this activity into a cohesive anthology of women’s voices. A real legacy for the women, the two organisations and a powerfully emotive tool for awareness raising.’

Simon Brown, Project Curator for the National Justice Musuem said “At the National Justice Museum, we inspire people of all ages to be active citizens, by engaging with justice and the law. We work in a collaborative, co-productive way with the public to develop conversations around this huge subject. One of the ways in which we do this is through the project lab, where we work with partners to facilitate discussions around our mission, unique building and amazing collection.

It has been wonderful to work with BWP on this project. The women have shared some incredibly moving work. Their bravery in articulating their experiences so beautifully has shone a spotlight on the reality of domestic abuse- it is a great privilege to be able to give a platform to these voices.”

You can view the poetry as well as a wealth of other activities, and get creative yourself in the online exhibition beginning the 1st March. This will culminate in the ‘Choose to Challenge’ message as part of IWD 2021, which the project team have used as a chance to challenge not only other communities but also themselves and each other in raising awareness of this incredibly important message.