Author(s)/Editor(s): Olivia Plender
Publisher: The Bower
Dimensions: 185 x 275 mm
Format: Softcover, hand-sewn double-pamphlet
‘Neither Strivers nor Skivers’ takes as its starting point an unpublished play entitled ‘Liberty or Death’ written C.1913 by activist and artist Sylvia Pankhurst and reproduced here for the first time. The play details the struggles of the East London Federation of the Suffragettes to win better living and working conditions, as well as votes for women. During 2018-19 Plender worked with women’s groups active in London today to explore the themes of the play including: housing, domestic violence, imprisonment, the welfare system and unequal pay. Participants used the play to discuss similarities between their experiences and those of their predecessors. The networks of care and solidarity that they create, enable them to change their situations and challenge the status quo. These conversations took place prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Olivia Plender’s practice draws on social history and often focuses on the problems with how it has been written. She is interested in the unequal power relations behind why certain versions of history are taken to be more valid than others, and revisits stories about the past that have gone unheard, been ignored, or deliberately misinterpreted in order to benefit those in power.