MA student selected for photography project to celebrate women in parliament

13 December 2018

To mark 100 years since some women achieved the right to vote, an all-female photography initiative is creating new portraits of all 209 women MPs, shot exclusively by female photographers.

MA Creative Practice student Kate Abbey was chosen to photograph Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central as part of the artist-led project to celebrate the centenary of women’s suffrage and champion the visibility of women, particularly in environments that are still largely male-dominated.

Kate was approached by the curator to take part in the project and was keen to get involved. She told us:

“I can't think of another person that I have met who has more integrity than Rachael Maskell, which has totally restored my faith in the political system. Her schedule is heavily booked up for weeks and I had to wait 2 weeks for an appointment to have a telephone conversation with her, and even then I was given a small slot on a Saturday afternoon - her workload is very impressive.

We discussed her policies and what she felt were her strongest concerns and built a shoot around that. I was able to steal her away for a few hours and visited Spark with her: a pop up social city centre project in York. Her incredibly affable nature, patience to stop and talk to anybody and passion for the causes she fought for sets her apart: Central York is in safe hands!”

Image: Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central photographed by Kate Abbey

The project was founded by photographer Hillary Wood with Tracy Marshall, Director of Development and Partnerships at Open Eye Gallery; Cheryl Newman, Artist, curator and former Director of Photography of the Telegraph magazine; Lisa Tse, Brand Consultant, TV Producer and founder of women’s club The Sorority; and is supported by Ambassador Rosemary Reed, Executive Producer and Founder of Power of Women series.

Launching 14 December 2018, to mark the date in 1918 when women voted for the first time‘209 Women’ will be displayed at Portcullis House, Houses of Parliament until February 2019. It will then travel north to Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool.