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The Women’s Library, London Metropolitan University: Prostitution: What’s Going On?


Contact: 020 7320 2222


The Women’s Library houses the oldest and most extensive collection of women’s history in Europe. The roots of the collections spring from women’s campaigns for equal suffrage, and they document many other issues where women have taken risks to fight for justice. Since opening its new building in 2002, The Women’s Library has mounted a successful and creative exhibition programme displaying its collections.

Prostitution: What’s Going On? is a challenging and provocative exhibition and events programme, marking the centenary of the death of Josephine Butler, the Victorian social reformer and campaigner for the rights of prostituted women, and exploring issues surrounding prostitution and trafficking, past and present. Created through combining historical collections with

leading contemporary research from London Metropolitan University’s Childand Woman Abuse Studies Unit, the exhibition creates an informative and thought-provoking experience, covering a controversial and difficult subject that often remains silent.

The exhibition showcases new creative work made by Barnardo’s youth projects and by a group of trafficked women supported by The POPPY project. It is accompanied by a programme of public events, a specially devised debating session for 6th form students and professional training for people working with vulnerable women.

The core costs of The Women’s Library are funded by London Metropolitan University. The following additional organisations have supported the project: The Leverhulme Foundation, The Wellcome Trust, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Arts Council England, The Indigo Trust, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, The Josephine Butler Society and Educational Trust, The Friends of The Women’s Library, Dame Anita Roddick, The John S Cohen Foundation.

Some of your comments:

I think that the Women's Library does a superb job in maintaining a high profile on women's matters as well as keeping many archive collections of women's affairs. Particularly successful have been their recent involvement with the three WI exhibitions and their current project on Prostitution. It deserves the prize to enable it to carry on this excellent work
Liz Thompson, Thirsk, North Yorks – 12 February

The ethos and notions expressed in the Prostitution exhibition reflect an important stage in the development of a theory of a truly equal society and although it represents quite recent stage of history some of the vitality of that period is in danger of being forgotten.
Sandra Hesketh – Peckham – 5 March

l support the Women's Library's bid for the Gulbenkian Prize because, although it could be accused of 'Sexism', they tackle in their exhibitions, subjects that are challenging and thought-provoking. We are all in danger of being stuck in our own mind so this is a good thing, always!
Patricia – 11 March