Derby’s International Women’s Day Festival 2022


We look forward to celebrating #IWD2022 #Derby with you! Book your stalls / open mic & workshop tickets at: Download our Poster (PDF) here – please share around!

Scroll down for workshop & open mic night weblinks for tickets – FREE / donate if you can

[image description: ‘International Women’s Day Festival 4-8th March 2022’ (paintbrush style white paint on purple background. FREE / donate if you can. Illustration based on picture of Frida Kahlo with a diversity symbols of LGBT+ flag colours on flowers in her hair and multiple skin tones as a jigsaw, a feminist Venue symbol earring; image of 2 women with feminist fists held up high, one white woman with long dark hair and one Black women with natural Afro-textured hair; BSL logo for Saturday 5th March community event and CC captions logo for online sessions; social media @WomensDayDerby with tickets & listings of programme for each day of the festival available at ]

International Women’s Day Derby Festival 2022:


4th March: Feminist Friday Open Mic night 7-11pm at The Maypole, Brook street, and online.
Join us for powerful poetry, singing and creative expression. Come along on the night (subject to availability) or book tickets to be sure of your seat >
Book a place at The Maypole:
Or to join us online:


5th March: Saturday Community Day
11am The Spot, meet us for a women’s rights march with giant puppets of HERoes, heading through the city centre to Derby Museum (Wardwick, former library) 12.30-4.30pm for live music, family fun, crafts, stalls, HERstory Lab & local support services. Drop-in.


6th March: Self-Care Sunday – online sessions to nurture body, mind and soul and sisterhood >>>

11am – 12.30pm Movement Medicine with Katherine McKenzie
Book via Eventbrite:

1.30pm – 2.30pm Joyful Journalling with Bhee
Book via Eventbrite:

3pm – 4pm Positive Affirmations with Amanpreet Kaur
Book via Eventbrite:

4.30pm – 5.30pm Laughter Yoga with Ishi Khan
Book via Eventbrite:

6pm – 7pm Sexual Health Empowerment with Char Dickins
Book via Eventbrite:

7.30pm – 9pm Wit, Wisdom & Words of Women: Power in Poetry – hosted by WEP (Women’s Equality Party) Derbyshire
Book via Eventbrite:

#BreakTheBias #IWD2022

8th March: 6-9pm online Global Sisterhood Panel with inspiring women around the world and Derby women involved in international projects, sharing challenges, solutions and change-making ideas.
Book via Eventbrite:

Feminist Friday Open Mic Night


Book tickets to join us in person at The Maypole here >>>

Book tickets to join us online for a virtual night here >>>

Celebrating with womxn and girls and non-binary allies in the spotlight, and at the mic, with supporters of all genders welcome in solidarity.

[event image description: [purple background] Feminist Friday Open Mic night at the Maypole, date and time as per event info; a fist holds up a microphone; two women, one white woman with long dark hair and one Black woman with natural Afro-textured hair, raised feminist fists; hashtags #SpeakOut #TakeUpSpace #BreakTheBias]
  • powerful poetry and spoken word from Aoife O’Connor who will also lead a She Speaks UK special featuring local artists with something to say
  • the mighty vocals of award-winning Donna Briscoe-Greene singing songs in honour of iconic black women in music and hosting an EMBAA (East Midlands Black Arts Associated) showcase
  • variety acts and performances from local young people and emerging artists hosted by Rebecca Muir of Bex Star Entertainment Productions
  • liberating lyrics and sing-along with our Rebel Women’s Choir
  • if you feel like a spot to dance, sing, rap, share a poem or spoken word piece, etc get in touch with any of the programming partners and there may even be some spots available to go for it on the night too
  • +disco, refreshments on sale at The Maypole with joyful inclusive feminism and good vibes!

Whether you’re at The Maypole or joining us from home online, feel free to dress up or come comfy, treat yourself in radical self-love and be ready to enjoy a much-needed uplifting shared experience.

Programmed by IWD Derby in partnership with She Speaks UK, EMBAA (East Midlands Black Arts Associated) & BexStar Entertainment Productions and with thanks to The Maypole.

Kids welcome accompanied by a responsible adult: The first half is generally family friendly, though some poets etc may explore mature themes – care notes will be announced as necessary; there is a 9pm interval and at 9.15pm it’s the Rebel Women’s Choir great for adults and kids alike; later on there are more mature themes and a body positive burlesque artist; lots for youngsters to be inspired by but you know your kids best.

Access: Auto ‘Live transcript’ captions will be available. We are seeking a BSL Interpreter, subject to their availability, to be confirmed asap.

Financial hardship? Need free tickets? If you can’t spare money to donate at the moment we want to help – free tickets are available via the Register button on eventbrite – we are also issuing free tickets via various local women’s charities as always to reduce barriers to participation. If you are in a position to make a donation this will help us cover the costs of this volunteer-organised non-profit festival, and if you enjoy relative comfort and a good income we hope you’ll be generous, thank you! Love and solidarity x

This event is part of the wider International Women’s Day Derby Festival with events from 4th-8th March 2022, all organised by volunteers, in community spirit, aiming to create an inclusive, supportive and positive atmosphere – anyone who behaves contrary to these values, making the space less safe, will be removed without a refund and may be engaged with for appropriate further action.

Covid Care: Cherish everyone’s lives: Covid is still affecting and taking people’s lives, especially people who are most at risk of the harshest effects. Please be caring at in-person events by using hand sanitiser, wearing masks in reception areas if possible, social distancing and understanding that we will have windows open for ventilation. Please do not attend if you have Covid symptoms, have been advised to isolate, have had a positive test result or recent contact with someone with Covid. We have virtual parts of the festival for you to enjoy if you are isolating or prefer to join in from home. Thank you.

[event image description: [purple background] Feminist Friday Open Mic night at the Maypole, date and time as per event info; a fist holds up a microphone; two women, one white woman with long dark hair and one Black woman with natural Afro-textured hair, raised feminist fists; hashtags #SpeakOut #TakeUpSpace #BreakTheBias]

Help us Make Giant Puppets to Celebrate Women and Girls


Join our free family-friendly drop-in workshops during February-March to make giant puppets to celebrate women and girls and our right to #TakeUpSpace ready for International Women’s Day Derby Festival (4th-8th March) – download the flyer and discover all the session dates via eventbrite or listed below…

More info:

Join any of our FREE creative community & family drop-in workshops during February-March led by local artists to create five giant protest puppets ready for International Women’s Day Derby Festival (4th-8th March, with the puppet procession and women’s rights march at 11am Saturday 5th March from The Spot).

Women and girls often face pressures and expectations to be small, with a lack of representation in public statues and monuments, but we say we stand on the shoulders of giants, we will not be diminished or erased, #TakeUpSpace and unleash your inner giant!

Five different giant puppets will be made with your help at the various sessions in honour of inspiring women & girls; the puppets will be Derby Suffragist Alice Wheeldon – with artist Elizabeth Blades, eco activist Greta Thunberg and a Pandemic Nurse – with Spiral Arts, a diverse pyramid of Empowerment Dolls – we lift each other up – with Rita Kappia, and a Gulabi Warrior – with Surtal Arts, with thanks to New Art Exchange colleagues in Nottingham for sharing their Gulabi Warrior wicker giants project.

Supporters of all genders, families and communities welcome; under 16’s to be accompanied by a responsible adult. No booking required, just come along.

Venue: Derby Women’s Centre, 4 Leopold Street Derby DE1 2HE – there is pay and display street parking outside, free after 6pm. The venue is close to the city centre and bus routes, with accessible ramp entrance.

The drop-in session dates at Derby Women’s Centre are:

5-8pm Tuesday 15th February

9am – 12pm Friday 18th February

11am – 3pm Saturday 19th February

5pm – 8pm Monday 21st February

5pm – 8pm Thursday 24th February

11am – 3pm Friday 25th February

2.30pm – 5.30pm Saturday 26th February 

5pm – 8pm Thursday 3rd March

In addition to the sessions at Derby Women’s Centre, you can also take part in the following sessions:

12pm – 4pm Sunday 20th February, Spiral Arts, Grove Lodge, Derby Arboretum DE23 8EL

11am – 3pm Wednesday 23rd February at Museum of Making, Silk Mill Lane, Derby DE1 3AF

11am – 3pm Friday 25th February at Loudon Lodge on Derby Arboretum, Arboretum Square, Rose Hill St, Derby DE23 8FR; there will be puppet making at this site and Derby Women’s Centre at the same time on this day and you are welcome to come to either or pop by both to work on different puppets!

Cherish everyone’s lives: Covid is still affecting and taking people’s lives, especially people who are most at risk of the harshest effects. Please be caring by using hand sanitiser, wearing masks in reception areas if possible, social distancing and understanding that we will have windows open for ventilation. Please do not attend if you have Covid symptoms, have been advised to isolate, have had a positive test result or recent contact with someone with Covid. Thank you.

Image: pictured below – the diverse team of local artists with willow weaved into spheres/heads for puppet making

Image description: diverse team of 8 women, local artists, smiling, holding willow weaved into spheres for puppet heads

Save the dates #IWD2022


We’re getting ready for Derby’s annual celebrations for International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day Derby Festival – the flagship annual local event for women’s rights, with a HERstory of over 100 years. This year’s celebrations will run from 4th-8th March 2022 with an inspiring programme of creative expression, activism, community activities, wellbeing sessions and a global panel. Here’s a flavour of what’s to come; book a stall here.

Friday 4th March: 7-11pm Feminist Friday Open Mic at The Maypole & online empowering poetry, spoken word & our Rebel Women’s Choir – in partnership with She Speaks UK – art is our liberation, BexStar Entertainment Productions and EMBAA (East Midlands Black Arts Associated)

Saturday 5th March: Community Day women’s rights march with giant protest puppets honouring women & girls, Derby city centre; marching from The Spot at 11am then into Derby Museum (old library, Wardwick) drop-in 12.30-4.30pm with inspiring HERstory, stalls, music, support services, activities, crafts, family fun.

Sunday 6th March: Self Care Sunday a variety of virtual wellbeing sessions, with creative outlets, mindfulness and soul soothing

Tuesday 8th March: Soup & Sisterhood Space from Sprout Derby Nourished Café at Staywell Derby CIC and in the evening join us for a global virtual panel – women around the world sharing experiences and change-making projects . Watch this space for more info coming soon:

#IWD2022 #SpeakOut #TakeUpSpace #BreakTheBias #WomensDayDerby #Derby

Join our Rebel Women’s Choir


Sing up for women’s rights, for your wellbeing, for fun, to lift your spirits! There’s a friendly welcome, liberating lyrics and lots of laughter! And opportunities to sing at International Women’s Day Derby Festival this March. In person or online options. Covid Care & full details below…

No experience required – new/shy singers welcome; you don’t need to read music – just listen & repeat, liberating lyrics sheets also provided. You can take part online from home or book places (limited) at Derby Women’s Centre via the e-mail below. Girls 7yrs+ welcome with a responsible adult.
Rehearsals are held at Derby Women’s Centre (DWC), 4 Leopold Street, Derby, DE1 2HE and on Zoom at the same time 12.15pm – 1.45pm on the following dates at Derby Women’s Centre and online via zoom (except 12th Feb, see below):
Sat 29th Jan: Rehearsal at DWC & on Zoom, 12:15
Sat 5th Feb: Rehearsal at DWC & on Zoom, 12:15
Sat 12th Feb: Rehearsal on Zoom only, as DWC not available
Sat 26th Feb: Rehearsal at DWC & on Zoom, 12:15

Fri 4th March: Performance opportunity at International Women’s Day Festival Derby – Speak Up Feminist Friday Open Mic at The Maypole – 7pm – 11pm
Sat 5th March: Performance opportunity at International Women’s Day Festival Derby – daytime between 11am – 5pm, more details TBC. You are welcome to the rehearsals even if you don’t want to do the performances.

Book Your Place
Please email
to book your place online, or in person (subject to availability, places limited for Covid Care)
Cherish Everyone’s Lives >>>
To minimise risk of Covid transmission, we will have windows open for ventilation, limit the number of people in the room, and space chairs further apart. We’ll face the same direction when singing – a bit like when we perform.
We’ll clean surfaces before and after the session.
Points for in-person singers:
– Do not attend in person if you have Covid symptoms, have had a recent positive test result, need to isolate or have been in recent contact with someone with
– We recommend testing beforehand for peace of mind – you can order free
test kits via:
– Please help us to reduce risks by using the hand sanitiser at the venue, following signage about hygiene, understanding that we keep windows open for ventilation and trying to give one another some space
– Do bring your own drink rather than use the shared kitchen
– Do bring personal hand sanitiser and tissues if you wish
– You may wish to wear a mask / visor.Optional Donations
As always, rehearsals are free to attend but donations appreciated to help us cover costs and keep the choir going. This is completely optional and we never want finance to be a barrier, so please don’t worry if you can’t afford it. If you would like to make a donation to IWD Derby to help continue our work, there are two options to do this below.
1) Paypal:
2) Direct to our bank account – we invite people to put ‘their name + choir’ as a reference.
Bank: Cooperative Bank
Account name: IWD Derby
Account: 6570 2194
Sort code: 08 92 99

Can you deliver a women’s self-care session?


Paid Opportunity! Be part of Self-Care Sunday 6th March 2022 as part of International Women’s Day Derby Festival. We are seeking local facilitators who can add to our mix of wellbeing related workshops e.g. yoga, menopause care, nutrition, mindfulness, creative de-stressing – we are open to your ideas; the sessions are for women and/or girls, of 1 hour or 1.5 hours each to be delivered online, initially, with our support via our zoom account. Read below for more info and how to apply…

Image description: 3 women, with diverse outfits, hair and skin tones, beneath a banner labelled Self Care; a black woman in the middle has an arm raised with a power fist

Each facilitator will deliver one workshop once, but we also have opportunities throughout the year. Tickets for the workshops will be sold by us on a pay if/what you can basis with 50% of proceeds paid to the workshop tutor/s, so co-promoting pays! If you have a session to propose, please e-mail us the following info by 21st January to or contact us if you need help with this:-

* your experience of running similar workshops and the feedback you got or if you are taking a new step tell us about your skills to make this happen – how would you make it a great session?

* how you will make the session interesting, inspiring, interactive and inclusive

* short workshop description, facilitator name/s and a photo/image to promote the session

* links to your relevant website / linkedin / other online content

* maximum number of participants you would work with (up to 90 max) and whether it works as a 1 hour or 1.5 hours option * any guidelines on who the session is or is not suitable for e.g. for children

* any access or individual requirements you need us to arrange – we like to be inclusive good hosts e.g. BSL Interpreter

We are aiming to have a diverse team of facilitators to inspire our diverse participants – that means removing barriers and amplifying women facing multiple underrepresentation and multiple oppressions, e.g. relating to race, disability, LGBT, class, and/or age discrimination – so tell us if that’s you and any support you need ❤ and we want a good mix of workshop topics; if we are unable to offer you a slot for the festival we may be able to offer you other opportunities during the year to bring more great events to the women of Derby/shire. We look forward to receiving your ideas!

Why women are marching


Derby women share their reasons for taking part in Reclaim The Night

“We are tired of too little too late post-murder promises that lessons will be learned” says Vanessa Boon, who is organising the women’s march and rally, “misogynist attitudes and depictions that dehumanise women and girls, harassment, living in fear, violations, incel culture, violence, victim-blaming, silencing and vigils for murdered women should not be a normalised inevitability of our existence”. The march has drawn widespread support on social media, from local women’s charities and community groups and is on the Council Agenda this week with a motion to support the protest.

What is happening this Saturday Night

Derby joins Reclaim The Night marches taking place around the UK this month and though such marches date back to the 70s, this will be the city’s first. Inspired by ‘Take Back The Night’ marches in Germany in 1977, Reclaim The Night marches took place in several cities in the UK later the same year and were in part a response to the “Yorkshire Ripper” murders, and the police response which instructed women to stay out of public spaces after dark, with unnerving echoes in the police advice in the wake of Sarah Everard’s disappearance and murder earlier this year. The empowering marches continued over the years as a focal point for organising around gender-based violence, amplifying survivor voices, critiques of shortfalls in state services and public education about the issues. This Saturday’s event forms pat of Derby’s programme for the United Nations global 16 days of activism to end gender-based violence with a series of panels, workshops, public outreach and direct action events from 25th November – 10th December.

All women, girls and non-binary people are invited to join Derby’s march and rally for Reclaim The Night from 6.15pm in The Arboretum by the café. The march begins from The Arboretum heading via Normanton Road to The Spot for 7.15pm where the marchers will pause for songs by the Rebel Women’s Choir and chalking messages about the issues on the pavement in the Suffragette tradition. Those wishing to march a shorter route can join from this point as the march continues onwards at 7.45pm, heading down the high street to gather outside the Council House for 8pm where there is a Solidarity Vigil for men to show support as well as inspiring speeches and poems from local activists and women’s charities sharing ways that every individual can take action to prevent and address male violence against women and girls.

Why women are marching

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Marchers have been making banners ready for the event, with community placard painting sessions at Derby Women’s Centre and virtually. Local women have been sharing their reasons for taking part. Councillor Nadine Peatfield, pictured with her banner, said “I’m marching on behalf of Women Reclaim Derby. We reclaim control of our boundaries and the safety of our bodies, we reclaim our precious lives and our right to live free from fear. We march to reclaim the streets, reclaim the night and reclaim our freedom”.

Photo: Marsha Brown, Bambuuu Domestic Abuse Support Service will speak at the rally

Marsha Brown, founder Director of Bambuuu domestic abuse support said “we are marching to reclaim our street, our bodies and to raise awareness that our bodies belong to us. I’m also marching to get the streets safer for my granddaughters and every other woman and girl. The government are not doing anything so there’s nothing more powerful than women together”.

Photo: Laura Burrill with a collectively crafted banner, speaking at Finish The Walk. Photo Credit: Helen Barker Photography

Local artist and craftivist, Laura Burrill, is stitching the names of all women killed by men in the UK so far this year, an average of one woman every 3 days, onto a jacket to wear at the march. “I’m marching for my daughters because too many times in my life I have thought wow that was lucky…” Laura expands “a drink spiked on a night out, make that 2 nights out, but my friends noticed… wow that was lucky… dragged into a bush whilst out running, but managed to fight my way free… wow that was lucky…cornered in a lift by a man, someone entered on the next level… wow that was lucky…. I could go on and on… NONE of this was lucky, it was awful but it could have been worse. I don’t want my kids to be lucky, I want them to be free”.

Photo: Stitching the names of women killed by men this year. Photo Credit: Laura Burrill

Photo credit: Charlotte Dickens

Charlotte Dickens, who works at Derbyshire LGBT+ where she facilitates the women’s group said “I am marching to fight for women’s safety. I am marching for women who fear for their safety and fear for their lives every time they leave the house – for women who are sometimes too scared to go out at all; for all women; for women who love women, for trans women, for non-binary siblings. We’re here, we’re queer and we will not live in fear”.

Photo of Nilam Narroya & Vanessa Boon at Reclaim The Night Nottingham

Nilam Narroya, who has volunteered with the International Women’s Day Derby team for nine years, said “I’m marching in solidarity with women and girls who have walked the streets at night and have not made it, for women killed by men. Women and girls should be free to walk the streets no matter how they dress, what time of day they go out, and wherever they go. We should be safe and free – here’s to freedom”. <

Kate Burns, who launched the Derbyshire Branch of the Women’s Equality Party this year and will read a poem written for the occasion at the rally said “I love being in the presence of other powerful women”. Clare Vickers, who has worked in women’s services for many years and delivers interventions to address male violence against women at Glow said “I’m marching because women need to feel and be safe walking anywhere they want to at any time they want to. This is not negotiable!”

Reclaim The Night Derby Info


Derby women are getting ready to march on Saturday night

Information for marchers including the timetable can be found on the eventbrite page

You can join us to march, bring banners, chant, sing and join in our pavement chalking action (in the Suffragette tradition) plus enjoy a sing-along with our Rebel Women’s Choir and inspiring speakers from local women’s charities and activists. Download chant and song sheet here. You may wish to wear glow in the dark, sparkly, eco-glitter or illuminating accessories and/or bring noise-makers like rattles, drums, whistles; if you prefer a noisy march please join the front of the march and if you prefer less noise the back is a good spot or you may wish to wear noise cancelling headphones / ear plugs. Our friendly stewards will welcome you and will be available to help with any questions. Express yourself, feel the solidarity and uplifting empowerment of joining together to demand change. This event is part of the Derby programme to mark the global 16 days of activism to end gender based violence

If you are joining the march, please wrap up warm as it will be a cold night so get out the hat, coat, gloves, scarf, thick socks, warm sturdy footwear, etc and maybe a flask with a hot drink. Please choose the full march (from 6.15pm Arboretum), shorter route (from 7.15pm at The Spot) or rally-only (8-9pm outside the Council House) option to suit you. If you are concerned about a longer walk or being in the cold for a few hours and especially if you have any health conditions that may put you more at risk in cold weather, please join us for the shorter route or rally, or stay cosy at home if that’s what you need to do – do what is good for your wellbeing. We will have some hot drinks available at the rally 8-9pm outside the Council House.

If you are coming on the full march, as we are marching from one site to another you may wish to arrange a lift, or public transport, or if driving you may wish to park your car at a mid-point handy for both the start and finish locations e.g. Derbion or Liversage Street or Babington Lane. 

Brothers, allies, we welcome genuine supporters whose presence would not cause discomfort to join a Solidarity Vigil from 8pm outside the Council House by the clock (the march is for womxn)

Cherish everyone’s lives: Covid-19 is still affecting and taking lives – please observe social distancing; please don’t attend if you or someone you have had recent contact with has symptoms or a positive test result. You may wish to wear a mask.

In the news – tune in to BBC Radio Derby 7pm Friday 26th November and check out Derby Telegraph coverage of the march here

Sing up for sisters’ rights with our Rebel Women’s Choir


Sisters sing for fun (not note perfection!), friendship, wellbeing, empowerment, uplifting laughs and liberation! ✊🎶📢 The Rebel Women’s Choir will be singing at Reclaim The Night Derby – join in and sing up for women’s rights!

Join our FREE (donations appreciated) sessions at Derby Women’s Centre >>>

Sat 23rd Oct: 11.30am-1pm

Sat 30th Oct: 11.30am-1pm

Sun 31st Oct: Performance at Clothing Swap & Swish Party 2021 fundraiser at The Venue, Abbey Street, between 1 – 4pm

Sat 20th Nov: 11.30am-1pm

Sat 27th Nov: 3:30 – 5pm, ready to later join Reclaim The Night Derby march from Arboretum at 6:30pm and performance at The Spot 7:15-7:45pm

Girls 7yrs+ welcome to join in with a responsible adult

Please e-mail Jo to join the choir mailing list and to book FREE (donations appreciated) choir places and to receive zoom options to sing along from home

[images: photos of Rebel Women’s Choir singing at events and gathered together, wearing Suffragette colours purple & green]

Beacon of Hope Award


Our team members nominated our Chair Vanessa Boon for a Beacon of Hope Award – she said “it’s been a hard couple of years and I’ve felt more in demand than ever with people needing support during the pandemic and with the gaps in agency services and waiting lists for charity help due to funding cuts. I know many people, women especially, have been stretched and doing extra emotional labour and helping in the community, filling the gaps in services, often at personal cost. Women have faced worsened inequalities and dangers during the pandemic. Our work for women’s rights and speaking up on male violence against women and girls often comes with backlash and sacrifice and I am very grateful for this lovely nomination. We must keep momentum for women’s rights and I’m looking forward to marching with you all to #ReclaimTheNight #Derby on 27th November” #WomensRights

Prof Kath Mitchell presents the award to Vanessa Boon who wears a badge with the words ‘Organise Educate Agitate’