Frequently Asked Questions
What is put her forward?
put her forward is an artwork by non zero one that recognises living women who have positively impacted the people around them. By gathering nominations from the public, we aimed to create and install up to 25 figures of women across England. The figures were unveiled during the Heritage Open Days weekends of 6th-9thand 13th-16thSeptember 2018.
How did the project come about?
The project was a commission for Heritage Open Days 2018 ‘Unsung Stories’ programme. HOD ran an open call for artists, with a brief of creating a nationwide project to mark the centenary of Representation of the People Act and 90 years since Equal Franchise.
How is the project funded?
put her forward is an ‘Unsung Stories’ commission from Heritage Open Days, which is run by the National Trust. ‘Unsung Stories’ commissions are made possible by additional support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Why were there 25 new statues being made?
The concept for put her forward was inspired in part by Caroline Criado-Perez’s 2016 article in the New Statesman, outlining that, out of 925 public statues in the UK, only 25 are of non-mythical, non-royal statues. put her forward asks people to think about the representation of women in public, by asking who they would nominate for a statue.
What does this have to do with heritage?
We took the definition of heritage as ‘valued objects and qualities such as historic buildings and cultural traditions that have been passed down from previous generations’ and wanted to fast-forwards to thinking what would be the heritage of today. To ask someone ‘which woman would you nominate?’ reflects a whole zeitgeist of values, ideas and concerns of our society at this point in time. Who knows if in future the same kinds of positive impacts will be recognised? Who knows if we will even define ‘woman’ in the same way? The 3D printed figure will be a heritage legacy of our society today.
We also feel that part of what’s powerful about Heritage Open Days more widely is how open and inclusive it is, that it doesn’t have a set definition of heritage but that they allow local people across the country to decide, ‘this is our heritage’.
Why were nominations for living woman?
There were two reasons for this. The first is that when we look at what information we have on historical women (especially before the 20thCentury), the bulk of material that we have access to is about women who had particular privileges, so mostly we only know about white, upper class, well-educated, ‘pure’ women, who were often recognised as ‘the first woman’ to do something a man had achieved. We wanted to recognise a diverse range of women who come from a range of backgrounds, who might not have received any recognition before now and who might be celebrated for something that a traditional statue might not have done.
The second reason is that in order to 3D scan someone we needed them to be living to come to the 3D scanning booth!
Who could nominate?
Anyone globally over the age of 18 could make a nomination, except the people on the selection panel.
How could people nominate?
Nominations are now closed. Until the 29th July 2018, members of the public could nominate by filling out an online form or by visiting us during one of our live nomination gatherings. We ran a number of workshops for community groups, where we were able to have deeper discussions with participants about statues, gender and power.
How many nominations could people make?
As long as you were able to put us in touch with the person you’d nominated, you could make as many nominations as you liked, for whomever you like. Statues were selected using the criteria outlined below.
How were the selected women chosen?
The selection panel was made up of Sarah Butcher, Cat Harrison, John Hunter and Fran Miller from non zero one, Annie Reilly from Heritage Open Days and Rachael Lennon from the National Trust.
We could only select women to be made into statues if they:
- Were living at the time of 3D scanning
- Identified as a woman
- Were over 18 years of age
- Were based in England at the time of 3D scanning
- Could be put in touch with us with some help from the nominator
When selecting women to be made into statues the panel also looked at:
- How they had made a positive impact on the lives of those around them
- If they had already had much recognition for the impact they had made
- Where the woman was based, as we prioritised key locations first
- Overall the full list of nominated women aimed to represent a diverse mix of ages, class, ethnicities, disabilities, locations and reasons why they were nominated
put her forward is an artwork and as such never constituted a traditional nomination process or popularity contest. Selection of the women was at the final discretion of the artists.
What happened after the women were selected to become a statue?
After the selections had taken place, this was the process for each woman who took part in:
- We got in touch with the nominator, who then put us in touch with the woman
- We then got in touch with the woman and explained the project
- If they agreed to take part, we arranged a visit to a 3D scanning place (scanners are available across the country) or for a scanner to come to the woman
- Before being scanned each woman had a conversation with the lead artist as to how they wanted to be portrayed in their statue
- Then the women were 3D scanned and printed into 35cm high statues
- Each woman got to see a rendition of the statue before it was printed and helped us decide where they would like it to be unveiled
- There was an official unveiling of each statue during one of the Heritage Open Days weekends in September 2018
- The statue was then gifted to each woman after the unveiling, and together we could choose whether each woman would like to keep the figure in public or move it elsewhere
We wanted to make sure that each woman felt that at no point they should be forced into being made into a statue. non zero one has nearly 10 years of experience working in interactive projects, and we worked carefully with each nominated woman to make sure they could feel as comfortable as possible with the process. We hope that these statues will provide inspiration for all who see them, as significant examples of what we can do to positively impact the lives of others, to be proud of. However, if at any time any of the women decide to have their statue taken down or moved, that’s perfectly fine and completely their decision.
What do the statues look like?
The statues are about 30cm-40cm high, made from sandstone and inkjet painted to look photo-real. The statues are quite delicate and not waterproof so may have a protective casing around them. You can see photos of all 25 statues here.
Can it be a statue if it’s not life-size?
It’s true that we often think of statues as being life-sized, although there is no absolute size needed to quantify a ‘real’ statue. We also liked to refer to the statues as ‘figures’, also by way of claiming back this term and its connotations with viewing women. The figures we created were roughly the size of the Nefertiti Bust, or one of Rodin’s bronze statue maquettes. But for us the real aim of put her forward is to have a conversation about the representation of women. The point is to say that the reason we have so few statues of women isn’t because we are short of inspirational women, but in fact there are many inspirational women alive today that can inspire generations to come. With enough time and resources we could have another 925 statues of women!
What happened to the statues after the unveiling?
The statues were handed over to the nominated women, who can decide if she would ever like it to be taken down, moved or similar. We hope that where possible the figure can remain in the public eye – see here for the full list of those on public display. All communication about the project after December 2018 will take place via Heritage Open Days.
Who can I get in touch with if I want to talk to someone about this project?
For any general enquiries about put her forward please email firstname.lastname@example.org