Sunderland Unveils Its Next Back of Rebel Women

 Sunderland Unveils Its Next Back of Rebel Women


A PROJECT with continues to pay homage to the Sunderland women who have made their mark on the world has unveiled its latest recruit.

Rebel Women of Sunderland was launched in 2019, selecting women both past and present with a connection to the city and honouring them for their varied achievements.

And now the very first external portrait of one of these women is on display, ahead of the launch this week of the city’s Art and Culture Trail.

Musician and song writer Faye Fantarrow, who tragically died in 2023 at just 21, is now featured on a wall at High Street West – opposite Pop Recs – and will now become part of the Rebel Women of Sunderland collection.

She joins an elite and eclectic group which includes Dr Marion Phillips the city’s first female MP, musician Emeli Sandé, journalist and broadcaster Kate Adie and Ida and Louise Cook who helped a number of Jews escape Nazi Germany.

The original group of 10 women were highlighted through artwork and stories and now more women are added each year on International Women’s Day on 8 March.

Freelance artist Kathryn Robertson, who graduated from Sunderland University, created the original illustrations as one of her first commissioned works as part of a project initiated by Sunderland Culture, which also included stories of the women written by Jessica Andrews.

“Since then the project has taken on many lives and been celebrated through various platforms including a Rebel Women Podcast and a continuation of the project through the University of Sunderland,” said Kathryn.
“I’m really pleased that we are now creating a trail of paste ups of the women, giving a space to them in a way that is embedded into the community for more people to enjoy and connect with their stories.”

The project is now a collaboration between Sunderland BID, Sunderland Culture and the University of Sunderland, with the latter taking the lead since 2020.

Professor Angela Smith of the facility of art and creative industries at the University said they had come on board after running events to mark the centenary of some women getting the vote.

“The person we had been celebrating was Marion Phillips, Sunderland’s first female MP, who was also one of the first Rebel Women of Sunderland,” she said.

 “The project seeks to raise awareness of the contribution women have made to history and to the contemporary world. In Sunderland in particular, we have a well-recorded history of ship building and mining, industries that are incredibly masculine.  However, what we have sought to do with the Rebel Women of Sunderland project is to show that there are remarkable women associated with Sunderland.”

Sharon Appleby, Chief Executive of Sunderland BID said she hoped the large scale outdoor artwork would help make more people aware of the project.

“These women are all remarkable in their own way and have achieved so much in everything from politics to the arts, from sport to education,” she said.

“What they have in common is they all have a strong connection to the city and it is amazing to be able to share their stories and to continue to honour them.”

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