Her Place: Women in the West

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VU at MetroWest

138 Nicholson Street

Footscray, Victoria 3012


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Event description


Her Place: Women in the West

7 - 31 March

Her Place: Women in the West honours the lives and contributions of ten women in Melbourne’s west, including six recipients of the Victorian Honor Roll of Women.

Her Place: Women in the West honours the lives and contributions of ten women in Melbourne’s west, including six recipients of the Victorian Honor Roll of Women.

The exhibition tells the stories of women who have contributed to Australian society at both national and local levels through their work as artists and activists, writers and scientists, businesswomen, lawyers and community leaders. The group includes a former state premier and the AFL’s first female coach.

Six of the women featured in the exhibition have been inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women. Established in 2001, the Honour Roll pays tribute to women who have been pioneers in their field and who have improved the lives of women and the broader Victorian community.

The lives and experiences of women have traditionally been under-represented in historical narratives, museum collections and the public sphere. Many women from the west have been additionally marginalised due to issues of race, economic status and access to education, thus making ‘Her Place: Women in the West’ a rare opportunity to pay tribute to the many women who have risen above the challenges they have faced to make a mark on Melbourne’s west and beyond.

Women profiled in the exhibition:

  • Susan Alberti AO, businesswoman and philanthropist AO
  • Paola Balla, artist and activist
  • Ruth Crow AM, activist
  • Maisie Carr (nee Fawcett), botanist and ecologist
  • Kerry Greenwood, writer and lawyer
  • Joan Kirner AM, former premier of Victoria
  • Melba Marginson, refugee and immigrant advocate
  • Halima Mohamud, Somali community leader
  • Alice Pung, writer and lawyer
  • Peta Searle, Development Coach, St Kilda Football Club

The exhibition is accompanied by a series of public programs, outlined below. To RSVP for one of the public programs, please click REGISTER in the top right-hand corner of this page.

Proudly supported by the Victorian Government

Public Program

Everyday documents and Australian women's history: why archives matter

Wednesday 15 March
6 - 8 pm

Join us for a panel discussion about the role of serendipity, family stories and fragments of paper in the writing of history, including so-called 'big picture' academic history. Germaine Greer described archives as 'the pay dirt of history': this panel of historians and archivists will talk about some examples of 'pay dirt' that have made a difference to their research into Australian women's lives.

Audience members are invited to bring examples of their own pay dirt and stories of women in their past to share. No document or serendipitous example is too ordinary if it shines light on the diversity of Australian women's historical lives!

The panel will be convened by Dr Nikki Henningham, Research Fellow – Australian Women's Archives Project.

HELEN MORGAN is an author, archivist and Research Fellow at the eScholarship Research Centre, The University of Melbourne. A historian with archival and editing qualifications, she has worked as information architect and exhibition designer on the Australian Women’s Archives Project since its inception in 2000, and is co-editor of the Australian Women’s Register.

NIKKI HENNINGHAM is the Executive Officer of the Australian Women's Archives Project, which was established in 2000 to promote the protection of women's archival heritage. She has a PhD in Australian women’s history and is an experienced oral history practitioner. She is co-editor of the Australian Women's Register.

In-conversation with Women in the West

Friday 17 March
12:30 - 1:30pm
Bring your lunch

Join us for an informal lunchtime conversation with women featured in the exhibition.

Loving Feminist Literature: Decolonizing Feminism, Building Solidarity

Monday 20 March
5:30 - 8:30pm
Cost: $10, $5 concession
Bookings via Loving Feminist Literature

A night of live readings of bold and irresistible feminist texts by a selection of diverse feminist educators, students and practitioners, including Clare Land, who will read from her book ‘Decolonizing Solidarity’.

Audience will be invited to participate in discussions that celebrate and re-invigorate collective feminist praxis and love across difference.

Loving Feminist Literature is a collective of intersectional feminists who celebrate the political and intellectual contributions of feminists far beyond the white liberal agenda. Our aim is to expose and promote feminist writing— especially underrepresented black, queer, Indigenous, non-binary, gender diverse perspectives— and make academic feminist writing accessible and irresistible to all! Our vision is to build a platform for feminist solidarity at a time when feminist studies are disappearing from Tertiary Institutions and feminist books are unavailable in local libraries or bookshops. Let’s stand together, speak together, listen and learn.

Her Place: Women in the West - Walking Tour

Wednesday 22 March
6 - 7pm
Start at Footscray Community Arts Centre, 45 Moreland Street, Footscray
Finish at Her Place: Women in the West exhibition, VU at MetroWest

Comfortable shoes and wet weather gear recommended. Please get in touch for wheelchair access

A guided walk through Footscray focusing on the lives of women who have made a difference and contributed to the West. Over the course of the walk you will hear about women of tenacity - leaders, advocates, storytellers and speakers of injustices. Through the spoken word and recounted experiences, women, both past and present, will be celebrated inspiring the next generation of women and men.

Chantal Wynter is a Melbourne based creative producer who creates interdisciplinary work in collaboration with Local Government, artists, arts organisations, galleries, festivals and businesses. Chantal has extensive experience in developing, facilitating and delivering creative projects in a community context from small to large projects. Her interest lies in producing on-site encounters that combine creative mediums to express a subject or theme.

View the full walking route.

Building Feminist Communities

Thursday 30 March
6 - 8 pm

In light of a shifting political landscape the work of feminists is about to intensify. Now is the time to once more organise and collectivise. This event will bring together academics, activist groups and philanthropic organisations to showcase their work and share their aspirations for 2017. Feminists across all sectors will have the opportunity to get together, meet others and build partnerships. Nibbles, drinks and music by an all-female band, Kerryn Fields and the Dudettes.

Hosted by the Victoria University Feminist Research Network, a community of feminist scholars from Victoria University in conjunction with Her Place.

Education Program

Teaching Gender Equality: A professional development for teachers

Monday 27 March
5 - 7pm

Refreshments provided
Maximum 35 people

This program will be delivered by experienced teachers and will cover:

  • Building a Feminist Collective at your school: Briony O’Keefe, Fitzroy High Fem Collective; Sophie O’Connell and the Brunswick Secondary College Feminist Group.
  • Getting a Gender Equality Policy in your Primary School: Why it’s important and how to do it with Jess Duncan from Derrimut Primary school.
  • Respectful Relationships Education: Whole School Approach. What is DET doing? With Barb Jennings, Women’s Officer, AEU.

Guided Educational Tours - Primary and Secondary

Monday, Wednesday and Fridays
7 - 22 March inclusive
10:30am, 1:30pm (40 minute sessions)
To book, email

Book your school class in for a guided tour of the 10 amazing local women who feature in the exhibition, Her Place: Women in the West. An experienced teacher will facilitate your visit providing educational resources linked to the Victorian Curriculum and activities to engage your students.

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VU at MetroWest

138 Nicholson Street

Footscray, Victoria 3012


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