The Refuge celebrates 100 years of women’s rights and International Women’s Day


To mark 100 years of women’s voting rights in the UK, The Refuge will unveil Suffragette City, an exclusive exhibition recognising women’s greatest achievements in the music industry.

Curated by Manchester Digital Music Archive co-founder Alison Surtees and funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, the exhibition showcases eminent women from the music industry and celebrates their influence.

Featuring portraits of 25 key women in Greater Manchester music scene, Suffragette City includes venue owners, sound engineers, record label managers, DJs, musicians and performers. The exhibition will run from Friday 23rd February to Saturday 10th March 2018.

DJ Paulette. (Photographer Elspeth Mary Moore)

Suffragette City is part of Manchester Digital Music Archive’s ongoing project, Rebel Music – The Sound of Politics and Protest in Manchester – once again funded by Heritage Lottery Fund. Manchester Digital Music Archive is an online community archive established in 2003 to celebrate Greater Manchester music and its social history.

“This year we celebrate 100 years of the Suffragette movement in the UK,” said Alison Surtees, co-founder of MDMA. “We want to pause and highlight the roles women have played, bringing their voices to the fore.

“We set out to show just how vibrant, brilliant and influential women in music have been and continue to be, in the opulent and gorgeous space that is The Refuge.”

Suffragette City launches with a free-to-attend party on 23rd February, starting from 5:30pm onwards, with a stellar roster of DJs including Abigail Ward, Kath McDermott and Refuge resident DJ Paulette.

The exhibition closes on 10th March with a sensational closing party celebrating International Women’s Day. It will welcome a collection of female DJs playing throughout The Refuge Public Bar and The Refuge Basement from 3pm until late, with The Social Service taking over the Basement with a line-up hosted by resident Ladybeige.

“We are proud to celebrate the Suffragette centenary and International Women’s Day with the Suffragette City exhibition supporting Women In Music,” said DJ and restaurateur Luke Unabomber.

“The art space in The Refuge has had some incredible exhibitions since opening and the Basement has become the place to party. It is a great honour to be involved.”

Following the launch of Suffragette City exhibition, The Refuge is hosting more female DJ performances on Saturday 24th February, with Sally from A Man called Adam followed by Danielle Moore of Crazy P bringing sounds of balearica, soul, boogie and disco.

Gina Breeze © Michal Bala

Topping the bill at the closing party in The Refuge Public Bar on 10th March is British soul-pop group 80s star Corinne from Swing Out Sister, who will be spinning the decks alongside top-notch local DJs Abigail Ward, Nongi Oliphant, Justine Alderman, Claud Cunningham, Kirby Halliday, Blasha & Allatt from Meat Free, and Dance Lady Dance.

On the same night, The Refuge Basement is welcoming the ultimate disco queens line-up with The Social Service’s resident Ladybeige and friends including DJ Paulette, Gina Breeze, Kath McDermott and Disco Mums.

There is a minimum donation of £2 on the door in The Refuge Basement, which will be collected in the public bar. Every penny will be split between the national charity Women’s Aid and Manchester Music Digital Archive. Their projects include a vast range of activities that help protect Greater Manchester music heritage and promote awareness of its cultural importance.

Suffragette City exhibition will run from Friday 23rd February to Saturday 10th March.

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