Luton art project receives funding from Arts Council England

Luton mothers are speaking out through a new art project which has received funding from Arts Council England.

Monday, 20th January 2020, 5:19 pm
Updated Monday, 20th January 2020, 5:20 pm

Award-winning community broadcaster Shemiza Rashid received funding for the Women's Austerity Art project in Luton.

The Mother Monologues is a series of poems and monologues created by Luton mothers from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds about the hardship and pressures mothers face, caused by policies that aim to reduce budget deficits through spending cuts or tax increases.

The project is being produced by multi-award winning social and cultural entrepreneur Shemiza Rashid.

Arts Council England funds Womens Austerity Arts Project in Luton

The mum-of-six from Luton is on a mission to give women a platform to share their voices, she said: "I think it is really empowering, it is enabling me to put this funding to good use and help empower other people and give them a voice.

"It is great to be able to use creativity as a tool for empowerment, this platform has given women the chance to have their voices heard.

"It has had a real affect across the town, not only for the mothers, but for the whole family as well, it has given the women the confidence to speak out.

"It is a really exciting time for the project and the town, there should never be a limit to finding your voice.

Arts Council England funds Womens Austerity Arts Project in Luton

“The project is a testimony to the tenacity, will power and survival of women resisting austerity, allowing women to share their stories whilst helping their mental wellbeing.

"Now more than ever we need to shine a light on the voices who are more than a statistic, that are truly telling us what life is like living with austerity on the other side."

Devised through a series of creative writing workshops with acclaimed writer Hafsha Aneela Bashir and with the support of Tamasha Theatre Company, the narrative will be used as stimuli for a theatre performance including a bespoke digital art installation designed by Luton Artist Sophie Greswell at The Hat Factory Arts Centre in March to mark International Women’s Day 2020.

A special broadcast about The Mother Monologues was aired on BBC 3 Counties Radio on 30 December 2019. The programme hears from some of the mothers and carers involved in the project and how the repeated cuts to public services and welfare funding have affected the lives of them and their loved ones.

Tickets are now on sale for ‘The Mother Monologues’ on Friday, March 6, at the Hat Factory Arts Centre in Luton., call the box office on 01582 878100, or book online at