The Bartlett


Mapping the impact of women on London: Audio transcripts

Transcripts of audio interviews conducted by students at Mulberry School for Girls, featured in the City of Women London map.


Elizabeth Anionwu

Voiceover: Welcome to the City of Women interview series, a collaboration between Mulberry School for Girls and University College London. We are honoured to be able to ask you a few questions we created to learn more about inspirational women.

Mulberry School: Hello, Elizabeth, how are you? 

Elizabeth Anionwu: Oh, hello. Yes, I'm fine. Thank you very much.

MS: Thank you so much for taking the time to support us on the City of Women project. It's truly an honour to interview you. We hope you will find it enjoyable. We prepared a series of questions. The first one is, how does it feel knowing you're featured on City a Women map?

EA: Well, I was extremely surprised, but very honoured to be invited. So yeah. Delighted.

MS: What has been your proudest achievement career-wise?

EA: So the proudest achievement for me in my career was becoming the first sickle cell nurse specialist in the UK, within the National Health Service, and I was based in Brent. That was in 1979. I had that post for 10 years.

MS: Why did you decide to specialise in sickle cell treatment and research?

EA: It was because when I was a health visitor in the early 1970s, in Brent in northwest London, I came across several families that had children with sickle cell disease. And they were desperate for a lot of information about the illness, and needing support. And, apart from the doctors who, you know, were giving the medical treatment, what the families needed was additional support. And there wasn't anything available in this country and within the NHS at the time. 

I started to visit America, and to visit sickle cell clinics and centres. In, for example, in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Minneapolis. And the reason was there had been the development of sickle cell comprehensive centres in the United States, following the civil rights uprisings when deficiencies were found in caring for sections of the black community in particular, and within health. The biggest example was sickle cell anaemia. And I discovered that they had nurses who were specialising in sickle cell.

I hadn't realised that nurses such as myself could play a role. So when I realised that and I learned an awful lot from the American nurses, I came back discussed it with my boss, who was a blood specialist haematologist, the late Dr Mischa Brozovic, and described the role of these nurses. She thought it was an excellent idea as well. And she found the funding for me to become the first sickle cell nurse specialist in this in this country. So that's how it happened.

MS: Who inspires you and why?

EA: Ah, so it's Mary Seacole, I hope you know about Mary Seacole? She was born in 1805 in Jamaica and died in 1881 in London. And she was, amongst other things, a doctress and a nurse. She's mixed race, like myself, she was Jamaican, her father was Scottish and her mother was Jamaican. For me, my mother was Irish heritage, and my father was Nigerian. 

I didn't find out about her until I had been qualified as a nurse for over 15 years. So I was a bit angry that I hadn't been taught about her in my nurse training, because I felt that she was comparable to Florence Nightingale, who obviously is a very important historical nurse. So the more I learned about Mary Seacole, the more I was very impressed with who she was as a woman as a mixed-race nurse and a feisty Victorian woman. Yeah. So Mary Seacole’s the answer.

MS: What was the environment in the NHS like at the time of your training to become a nurse?

EA: I find this really lovely question actually, because I'm really talking about when I was a student, and I actually found there was a lot of fun. It was very challenging. But the humour made the hard work easier to cope with. And I made a lot of friends and some, a couple of them are still friends to this date, many decades later. So on the whole, it was very positive.

MS: What would you advise young women and girls who wish to follow in your footsteps.

EA: So if they wanted to do nursing or work in the health service, the first thing is to, for them to make sure that this is really what they want to do, and maybe to get work experience. We didn't do that when I was at school. But I think now you can organise a placement in a work environment for the career that you think you'd like to do. So you have an idea. Is this really what you want to do? Because I think it's, it's very sad to drop out of a course halfway, because maybe you didn't realise some of the challenges that you might face. 

But also the opportunities that are open to somebody in nursing, I would hope a student would find out about that, before they embarked on nursing, and certainly, as a student, find out more about that. So be prepared to study really hard. Try to have mentors who can help you when there's challenging times. And also a very good friendship group. And look after yourself. Really, you know, and I think that applies to any career that you go into, but particularly something like nursing because it, you know, you can be doing night duty, can be working with very vulnerable patients, you have to cope with patients dying. I mean, there's also the uplifting aspects of caring for individuals and seeing them get better. So it's a mixed bunch of emotions that you might experience.

MS: Thank you for your time. It has been a pleasure talking to you and we hope to speak with you again in the future.

EA: Thank you for inviting me and I am very impressed with the questions that you've asked. Thank you.

MS: Thank you so much.

EA: Thank you, bye bye.

Voiceover: Thank you for listening to these amazing interviews to educate yourself on pioneering women of London.

Christine Burns

Voiceover: Welcome to the City of Women interview series, a collaboration between Mulberry School for Girls and University College London. We are honoured to be able to ask you a few questions we created to learn more about inspirational women.

Mulberry School: I've read that you don't give interviews. So we feel very privileged to be in a conversation with you. We want to ask you some questions which will feature in the City of Women map. What do you think of transgender representation in the media? And how would you improve it?

Christine Burns: Oh, goodness, the first thing that comes to mind is I don’t think there’s enough of it. And the difficulty is you only have one or two examples, like for instance, when everybody thought that the big thing was Laverne Cox in Orange is the New Black, then everything becomes centred on that one person. And there are so many different aspects of trans lives. That you have just one characterization in the media. Yeah, it just isn't enough. 

Obviously, there's also I mean, Annie Wallace in Hollyoaks who lives just down the road from me, actually. And all of that back in the 1990s helped to bring about character in Coronation Street, who you may have seen, called Hayley Cropper, played by Julie Hesmondhalgh, I don’t know how many years it’s been, maybe about 13 or 14, so it's a really long, long running character. And we were very lucky that able to affect some scriptwriting for that, so that her life was able to touch on a number of things that affect trans people. And of course, it's not only trans people playing fictional characters in soap operas and films, obviously, I'd love to see trans people being experts on programmes that have experts on, I'd like to see a trans political correspondent, real parts of society, bearing in mind the relative proportion because we're 1% of the population. It would be nice to see it every day.

MS: How did your coming out affect your work? Did it change any political ideas you used to have or did you end up making new ones?

CB: So I've come out a number of times, but the time that matters most is concerning the transition in the 1980s. But then when all that, I got all that behind me, I settled down to having a life, just getting on with what I did, which was being a computer consultant. And gradually over the course of a few years, people just forgot or didn't know I have a trans history. 

But I think the one you're actually getting at, was it in 1995? Because I was also working as an activist for a campaign called Press for Change. I took the decision to come out very publicly, as a trans woman to represent trans people. Yes, that did actually change a great deal. It didn't actually change my work. But it did change my politics. Because at the time I came out, I had actually become a local Party activist for the Conservative Party in Cheshire. I was contributing to the local branch and I went to party conferences, to talk to party grandees at the annual conferences. 

But actually, as I became more involved in politics, when I was representing, talking to other people, I began to realise that, contrary to what I thought, I wasn't a natural conservative, and in fact, my beliefs are probably belong to, were more comfortable in the left rather than the right of the political spectrum. 
So although I left the Conservative Party in 1997, it wasn't because people were shocked when I told them I was a trans woman. It was because I myself had changed and realised that that wasn't a place where I would feel comfortable anymore. I needed to find a new political home. 

And I've never really had a political home. I spent a lot of time dealing with people in the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats, but I've never really sort of felt at home enough to really get involved in, in their politics. My politics now is more concerned with climate change, transportation that is greener, safer, less damaging to the environment. So that you don't, you don't necessarily have to be a member of a conventional party to do things that are political.

MS: Um, what advice would you give to young people who are struggling with their own identity?

CB: Oh, goodness. I'm gonna be careful here, because I sort of want to say, to spend as much time as possible thinking about it at all costs. By the time you are asking this question, you would have been thinking about it already. I would say read, a lot of what we are talking about is gender identity, there's an awful lot of literature that is available to read. And the great thing with books is that as an author, you have a chance to have somebody's full attention for a week to 10 days, when they're really thoroughly immersed in what's on the page, and obviously, is a reader. 

If you read a lot of books, you spend a lot of time getting into the thoughts of trans people, lesbian people, whoever, wherever your identity leads. Um, the other thing I would say probably I didn't really think about this enough, I think, when I was a teenager, this afternoon, I was suddenly moved by the fact it’s been 50 years since I left school and finished my A-levels. It’s really important to try and visualise the future, all the various possibilities in the future. Yeah. I mean, that's a general piece of advice in terms of picking a career as well. 

The thing is that at school you spend years upon years of your formative life, really having things fed to you, and in a structured environment, where, your teachers may disagree with me on this, in some respects, you don't have to think. In terms of trying to work out where you pick to your life to be, in terms of identity, that's what you’re actually deciding about is, what am I going  to do, what things will make me happy, what things will make me want to leap out of bed in the morning and get on with it.

If you can think through all those things and consistently come back to one thing, I think that is actually nine tenths of the way to figuring out what you're going to be. And then it’s relatively simple to work out how you're going to get there. So I think the first thing is to be really, really sure about where you picture yourself being in for five years or 10, 30 years’ time.

MS: Your eBook Pressing Matters was monumental in the government passing the Gender Recognition Act 2004. Was this the outcome that you expected? What more can the government do to support the transgender community?

CB: Let me think about that. And obviously, we were very clear from the point where we started campaigning, which was back in 99, what we wanted to achieve. I've always said to people, that that's vitally important if you're going to employ any sort of activism, that you have a clear thought. Because as an activist, lots of things will come along. And it goes on, events happen. Often I see people struggling about whether to chase after that latest debate, and make a big thing about it and put their energy to it, or to get back and think, does this actually get us where we want to get. 

And so we were very fortunate as a campaign in the early 1990s, that we started out with a very clear view that our objective was to secure a way for trans people to be recognised by the state in the identity we had acquired. And that in practice meant, because you can easily change your passport, you can easily change your driving licence, you can easily change your bank details, you could easily change almost everything except your birth certificate in those days. And that was a serious problem for trans people, because it meant however successful or otherwise your transition was, you could always be outed at any time by somebody having asked to see your birth certificate. 

Not many people actually asked to see it. But when you, if you want to have a job, for instance, with the civil service or a number of related jobs, if you've got a job where you're going to where the company is going to offer a pension scheme, then you'll be asked to show your birth certificate as a proof of what your age is and, sadly, what your entitlement to British citizenship is. But, of course, a trans persons’ birth certificate written within days of your birth, can also reveal that you don't match the identity that you're carrying. Our objective, which was clear all along, that no matter what else, we needed to arrive at this thing, which ultimately became called the Gender Recognition Act. 

We had a bigger problem afterwards, because we've been so focused from 1992 until 2005 on getting that achieved, on the books and in action, that we hadn’t really thought about what came afterwards. So when you ask what was the outcome, the outcome that we didn't expect was to actually have to think about what do we do now? Or do we just wrap up and do something else? Or do we change, adding other things? 

So those things actually took a lot of time to think about and recognise what are the problems that are still outstanding, because the Gender Recognition Act meant a lot to a lot of people, but there were still forms of discrimination, the call for people to get help on the National Health Service, we had a problem with the way the press represented us, and my legal colleague who wanted to still do a lot of work in terms of interpreting the law. So there were things to do but we just had to decide well, okay, now we've got three or four objectives. And those are the things we're going to do, so they were selected to orientate us. But it's not easy. It's an unusual experience. If you're political activists, you wake up one day and realise that the thing you've been working on 15 years has been achieved, and you think, oh goodness, what do I do now? It’s an interesting experience

MS: How can cisgender people become better allies to the transgender community.

CB: Oh goodness, how long have you got? That so often is the question that people need to know. It takes up as trans people, many years, decades even at times, to understand about all the ins and outs of being. We're held back by the fact that we're not very well described by the media. The only thing that people think they know, is  things they read in the press, which is mostly lies and misrepresentation. So actually, a good period of having the humility to shut up and listen, is vital. And obviously, along with that is learning. 

The reason why I decided to produce the books and I produced Trans Britain, was because I felt that even trans people didn’t know their own history, and certainly cisgender people will probably not know about our history. And you could begin thinking that suddenly, because now we're all over the press with people fretting about us, that we are a new thing. It would appear that we're a here today and gone tomorrow phenomenon and we’re a product of the demise of Western civilization or any number of theories. 

But to actually to learn trans history, even at the sort of superficial level I grabbed it down to in a book, is really important. If you’re going to be an ally, then I think part of  it is being too prepared to just stand up and be counted, to defend the people you’re being allies to. And so if you know nothing about trans people, you're in no position to do that. So it doesn't need a lot more. It's not hard work, there isn't an exam and you can't get an A-level in in transness.

That is a vital part of actually how to be a better ally. And also to imagine it. We can all use our imagination, put ourselves in other people's shoes. That a vital part of being a good human being, I think, to develop empathy. And empathy is in large part about being able to put yourself in somebody else's vision, and understand how they are there and also what it feels like to be there. And then probably an understanding of what that person would most likely do, that comes naturally. This is what actors do all the time, they train how to pretend to be someone else, but to do that, they have to spend a lot of time thinking themselves into that role. So to be a good ally is a degree of that. 

When you've got all that, there are things that cisgender people [inaudible]. Can be extremely hurtful, can knock you off your feet. It’s difficult to deal with. It’s picking at scars which people have been through already. So I think cisgender people probably don’t fully appreciate that they're actually in a much stronger position. Because they don't have that degree of vulnerability that makes it difficult for trans people to put on their armour and go out and fight. 

If we’re intemperate, we snap back, if we put anybody down, if we appear to be impatient, then that is held against us, as it is held against all minorities. The role of an minority is sometimes is to be a punchbag for people who don’t realise their own privilege and merely saying, wait, stop, this hurts, can actually be taken as being aggression, any form of pushback. A cisgendered person is in a position to be able say hold on, I've got you, to talk – that’s unity and strength. 

MS: How do you feel about working with City of Women to create this wonderful map.

CB: It’s wonderful, I’m very flattered. I can picture the station that my name’s on, because I grew up in that area, I was born in Redbridge, then we lived in Ilford, before we moved away when I was nine. I knew that part of east London as well as you can. So yeah, it's it's flattering, I think to be asked to take part in something like that.

MS: What are some of your longer term goals in your career?

CB: Well, of course I've been retired, in principle at least, for 10 years. So my, my career ought to be gardening and shuffling around. But actually, I spend my time, a lot of time in retirement thinking how to be a good elder. I don't want to walk away, it’s extremely difficult. And I will feel tremendously guilty to walk away from people who are younger, and are now fighting a fight that’s far harder than in the nineties and noughties. But I've always been clear that I don't want to be that kind of older person who constantly says oh, we couldn't do it that way or whatever. So I think being a good elder consists of working out where people’s strengths are to provide support. And to encourage people who are following you, to offer insights when they're valid and useful, and sometimes to know when to shut up. 

MS: Thank you so much for taking the time to support us in this project. We appreciate having an open and honest conversation with you. And we enjoyed hearing your opinions on our questions. Have a lovely day.

CB: Oh, thank you very much.

Voiceover: Thank you for listening to these amazing interviews to educate yourself on pioneering women of London.

Phoebe Dimacali

Voiceover: Welcome to the City of Women interview series, a collaboration between Mulberry School for Girls and University College London. We are honoured to be able to ask you a few questions we created to learn more about inspirational women.

Mulberry School: Hello Phoebe, it’s lovely to meet you. How's your day been?

Phoebe Dimacali: fine! I’m very happy

MS: We're very excited to be interviewing you, we would like to ask you a few questions which will be featured on the City of Women London map project

PD: How is everybody

MS: We’re doing good. 

So, the first question is: what inspired you to fight domestic workers abuse?

PD: Because I myself am a domestic worker, and I suffered abuse. I just wanted other domestic workers to be free from any forms of abuse. And I believe that if you won’t say anything, if you won’t campaign, if you won’t speak out, the system won’t change. I know that is our rights. It is everybody's right to fight for their rights.

MS: Thank you. The second question I would like to ask is whether you faced any obstacles while starting off your association

PD: Any obstacles? Well, yeah. Because we called ourself a self-help group. So, one of our problems is the funding. Us domestic workers, we do not know how to apply for funding with other funders. So, we just rely on the efforts of members of the organisation. 

The other obstacle is using technology. Because most of us did not finish our studies, we are not very good with technology. We have members that do not know how to join Zoom meetings, who are not very active on social media for campaigning, which is really important. I myself, I don't have IG or Twitter accounts. If you have IG and Twitter, then you can post on your social media, to help your calls, your campaigns, to reach other people. So that's one of our problems and we have to educate our members. We have workshops to help them be knowledgeable in social media and technology. 

And one of our obstacles is most of us are working full time, so the time that we give for the community for helping other people, for helping other domestic workers [is on top of that].

MS: Who inspires you? 

PD: Who inspires me is my family. My children inspire me to be involved in campaigns. And domestic workers, my fellow Filipina domestic workers, because they give me the strength to carry on fighting. My family, my children, give me the strength to keep on helping other Filipinos and even other nationalities that need help, because I've been there been in that situation. I would like them to be freed from any forms of abuse. My family, my kids and my friends, other Filipina domestic workers,

MS: Were you surprised to be featured on the City of Women map? And what does this mean to you?

PD: Actually when I received an email asking permission, from Leah, asking was it okay if I was featured in that map, I didn't get it straight away, what will be the impact, what will happen? But I read through the email, and I had to send it to my daughter in the Philippines. I forwarded the email, and I asked her what was it all about? Because it was a very long email, there was an example of what had been done in New York, or somewhere in America, there was an example of the map. So and then my daughter explained to me, now, this will happen, you will be featured in the map, blah, blah, blah. 

So at first, it wasn't a big deal for me, because I didn't pay attention. I didn't get it straight away. And then I told other friends I received an email and that they're going to put my name to this, blah, blah, blah. And they said, oh, that's great, but I still didn't reply straightaway to Leah. And then I asked my other daughter, I have because I have two children here, so I forwarded the email. And she was like, oh, that's a grand thing. Oh, really? So what makes it grand? She said, imagine that your name would be put in the Underground map, blah, blah, blah. So just answer yes, And you should be very proud. 

No, I read it again, the email, and they said, Oh, yeah, I mean, it's a grand thing and you know, not, not everybody gets the opportunity to be on the Underground map. So, I got excited and happy and proud. 

MS: What changes should be made to aid those seeking to leave abusive environments in the UK?

There's a lot of changes to be made. First, the UK government should ratify ILO Convention 189. This convention recognises domestic work as work, because the moment domestic work is not categorised as work. So we domestic workers, our visa is not for work. The government don’t give visas to domestic workers here in the UK. So when we apply for the visa, we take others, so we're not categorised as skilled workers. 

That's why we are calling for this government to ratify the ILO Convention 189. And also we want the government to reinstate the concession. The concession allows domestic workers in the UK to leave the employers and extend their visa, and after five years, then be allowed to apply for indefinite leave to remain. And after a year of the indefinite, they should be allowed to apply for British citizenship. 

Because at the moment, domestic workers are allowed to leave their employers, but only if they still have the visa, because the domestic workers who arrived in this country are brought by their employers. This time of the year, summer, there are a lot of Arab people who come to this country with their domestic workers. They are given visit visas, which means that they're only given six months. And if these domestic workers are being abused, and exploited, you know, different kinds of appeals, then, if their visa is already finished, then they are not allowed to leave their employers. They will be subject for deportation. 

So, that's why we wanted to launch the campaign, to allow all domestic worker to leave their employers, and allow them to work legally. If visas won't be extended, then domestic workers will find it hard to find somewhere to live, like to rent a room. They couldn't register for a GP. They couldn't open an account for their wages. They are not entitled to use the National Health Service. 
Just very recently, we had a member who had a problem with her health. I think she has a cyst in her ovary and it needs to be removed. But the doctors don't want to remove it, don't want to undergo the procedure, because she is undocumented. And is getting worse. It's almost every day that she has pain. So we told her to go to the hospital to A&E. And the people in the A&E said she needs attention. And they said they would do the operation if she paid £3000. 

She has no money because she's not allowed to work. She ran away from her abusive employer. So she just endures the pain. What we do is we accompany her to the hospital, and tell the staff in the hospital that she might be a victim of or she's a potential victim of human trafficking. And then they said, oh no, we checked the list of the victims of human trafficking and her name wasn't on the list. So again, she was turned away. 

And so what we did was we set up funding for her to be able to afford to pay the operation because they really won't do the procedure without the money. So that’s one of the problems of being undocumented. Even if it's life threatening, they won't do the procedure because you can’t avail yourself of the National Health Service. Are people human beings? They shouldn’t be accepted? Or assisted? 

We're really pushing the government to allow the domestic workers who are already here in the UK to, to legally reinstate the concession given, give them the chance to work. And so they could be reunited with their family; they could open a bank account; it would be easier for them to find a place to live; it'd be easy for them to register for a GP and health problems; then they can avail themselves of the National Health Service. 

So, Convention 189 and reinstatement of the concession. 

MS: Thank you for sharing the story with us. I just like to ask, What three attributes do you think are important in achieving our goals?

PD: The willingness of domestic workers to campaign, carry on campaigning. The empowering of giving workshops, the empowering of domestic workers with rights. If they know their rights, then they will carry on campaigning, so they'll be confident to fight for their rights and to end slavery and trafficking. Have I answered your question?

MS: You answered it very well. I just want to say thank you for taking part in this interview. We really enjoyed your honest input, and we hope that you have an amazing evening. Thank you.

PD: Thank you so much.

Voiceover: Thank you for listening to these amazing interviews to educate yourself on pioneering women of London.

Mei Sim Lai

Voiceover: Welcome to the City of Women interview series, a collaboration between Mulberry School for Girls and University College London. We are honoured to be able to ask you a few questions we created to learn more about inspirational women.

Mulberry School: Hello, Mei Sim Lai, it is a pleasure to be in this conversation with you.

We would like to ask you a few questions which will be featured on the City of Women interactive map. What does your identity mean to you?

Mei Sim Lai: I think it's very important to be me, to be Mei Sim Lai. I have been building up my own personal brand for many, many, many years now. So people know me, or know what it stands for. So it's very, very key for everyone.

MS: You were the first East Asian woman to hold the office of Master of a Livery Company. How did that make you feel?

MSL: I think at the time it didn't dawn on me. I was thrilled. I was greatly honoured. And I was Master of the Livery Company in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Year, as well as Olympics. Yeah, so it was extremely special. And I think in looking back to know that I'm the first Chinese person to be a Master of the Livery Company, which goes back like 1000 years, the history of The Livery Companies in the City. So it was quite an achievement. But at the time, I didn't think much.

MS: Carrying out our research, we noticed there wasn't much information about your childhood. So we wanted to ask what were your passions when you were younger? Have they changed since then?

MSL: They have changed. So, I was born into Seremban, which is about 40 miles from the capital of Malaysia. I was born into a family of 10 children. So I can remember, even before I started reading or learning how to read or write, I was drawing in the sand behind where we lived. So I was very good at drawing, I spent a lot of time drawing in my younger days. And then when I was at school, I was very sporty. So I was involved with netball and all sorts of different games. And then also, I come from a musical family. So there was a lot of music and singing and dancing. Yeah, so it was wonderful.

MS: Would you say that drawing and singing and music is still something that you take your time for?

MSL: No, but it's something I'd like to go back to. But I think coming over here to study, and now I'm very busy with other things. So I haven't really got time to go back to do it properly. I’d like to do that one of these days. So I've always enjoyed doing that.

MS: Were you surprised to be featured on the City of Women map? What does this mean to you?

MSL: It was a total, total surprise. I hadn't heard about the project. I think it's a wonderful creative project. Then I was greatly honoured to have Kingsbury station named after me. Then also, I was so excited because they talked to me. When you look at all the other names of people with stations named after them, they were people a lot more famous than me, Twiggy, lots of historical ladies. So it was a great honour. And as far as I know, in my group and my friends, I'm the only lady that had a tube station named after them. And part of it is because I've been the Queen's representative in Brent since 2007. 

MS:  What do you think led you to have an interest in diversity issues?

MSL: Okay, so coming from a family of 10, I have a very well developed sense of fair play. And also being brought up in Malaysia, we have all the different races in the clubs, and so on. So I believe in equal treatment, and I also have friends from all sorts of different backgrounds. And I think it is important to appreciate other cultures, what they can bring to, to appreciate the differences. So, I've been concentrating on diversity for many, many years now. I was appointed OBE, Officer of the British Empire, in recognition of my services to equal opportunities.

MS: We've read that you enjoy collecting artificial antiques, oh, sorry! [laughter] We read that you enjoy collecting oriental antiques. Looking back at your collection, which would be the most significant to you?

MSL: Okay. Because I'm of Chinese origin, my mother was born in China, I was brought up in a Chinese family, I'm always fascinated by Chinese things. So my husband and I used to go to a lot of antique fairs, where we would look for Chinese antiques. They were, sort of, antiques that people went out and brought back here. So I have lots and lots of different pieces. For instance, I have a collection of rice paper paintings of children celebrating the Spring Festival. Nine of them. I'm delighted with them. I've got lots of embroidery as well. And then lots of snuff bottles, porcelain snuff bottles.

MS: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer questions. It was lovely having an open and honest conversation with you. Have a good evening.

MSL: No, thank you very much. Thank you for doing this project. I wish you good luck in your studies and all that you do. And I think my coming over here and achieving, you know, having a tube station named after me, that anything is possible. So for anyone, my advice is just try, just go for it. And then enjoy the journey on the way.

MS: Thank you so much. Thank you. 

Voiceover: Thank you for listening to these amazing interviews to educate yourself on pioneering women of London.

Gail Lewis

Voiceover: Welcome to the City of Women interview series, a collaboration between Mulberry School for Girls and University College London. We are honoured to be able to ask you a few questions we created to learn more about inspirational women.

Mulberry School: Hello Gail, it’s a pleasure to meet you. We will be interviewing you for the City of Women project. Our first question is, what does your role as a psychotherapist involve?

Gail Lewis: Oh, well, that's actually a very huge question, really. In short, it just involves working with somebody. I do one-to-one adults, not adolescents or not couples. And it means working with people up to three times a week for me; one, two or three times a week at a particular time. And just really trying to help them to think about and come to understand things that seem to be causing them distress. 

People come to psychotherapy, usually, because there's something causing them distress or confusion, and they don't really understand why. And they're trying to figure it out. So our role is to kind of sit with them and let them talk. And then from what they tell you, you try to pick up, you pick up things that are communicated that are not quite spoken, you know. 

There's the words, what's being said, but then, you know, when you talk, sometimes you have this, you think, oh, there was a vibe going on there? Or don't you think such and such was happening? So then I might then say, that's interesting. I was feeling as though you were feeling really sad at that moment, or really angry. But you weren't saying, you know, so then they might say yes or no, we tried to pursue that. 

And gradually over the weeks, and sometimes years, we begin to see some of the patterns, ways in which we all work in terms of patterns, and get a sense of why, what seems to be troubling them. And how they might try to get out of it being trouble for them, you know, either stop doing things or being able to see things or just sometimes just understanding where someone comes from can kind of stop the pain of it. 

You know, it's like, I understand that the pain is because I'm being pricked by some needle, some emotional needle. And now I understand that, so I'm going to stop that needle keeping on coming into me in some way. So really, it's just about that. It's about trying to work with people to help them resolve or feel less distressed by things and understand what's causing that distress. Does that help explain?

MS: What would you say that, to you, about the role of being a psychotherapist, like what is your favourite aspects?

GL: My favourite aspect of it is actually just being in the room with somebody. Think about it. It's a real honour. Someone comes and they said, well, listen, I'm feeling bad about things, you know. And I need some help. But you know how hard it can be to say, I need help, you know. Sometimes you feel a bit scared to say you need help. Because you feel like it makes you vulnerable and it exposes you and then you could be a target of something. 

So somebody is coming and saying to you, I'm going to take a leap of faith, to trust you enough that we can sit together, literally it can be literally over years, and sit together and I will tell you about myself my ideas. Because we try to get people to just say whatever comes into their mind, literally whatever. Not rehearsed, whatever comes into their mind. And then we think about it together. And that's a real honour and I feel that's what I like about it. I like the exploration, that going on the journey with someone with them. What you're trying to do is help them feel better about the world and about their place in the world. 

MS: What are some the challenges that you have to go through with psychotherapy, and being a psychotherapist? 

GL: Well, the big challenge that you have to be in, you're in therapy yourself. So you have to do therapy yourself. Usually they want you to, if you go into a training programme, they quite like that you've been in psychotherapy beforehand. And then while you're training, you have to be in psychotherapy for the whole amount of time as well. 

If you're training to be what I am, an analytic psychotherapist, where I can see people up to three times a week. It's like in the films, like a Freudian thing, they might lay on the couch, and I sit behind them and all that. Have you seen that in films and stuff? So I sit behind them, and they don't see me. And the idea, you see, is that people can go off into a bit of a kind of daydream world and not be concerned about what they see in my face; although, of course, they do feel concerned sometimes like, what am I seeing that they're not seeing, you can imagine it you're like, and I'm behind you. And I'm saying talk, just talk. 

So one of the challenges is doing that yourself, as the client, or the patient, depending on the scope; the model you do yourself, and being open to being vulnerable. So that's the first challenge. Although for me, it was very, very important that I did psychotherapy. Because even before I trained as a psychotherapist, when I went into psychotherapy, I'll tell you, I went, my mother had died seven years before, seven, or maybe even nine. And then my grandmother died. And they basically brought me up, I did have a dad, but they brought me up. Then when my grandmother died, I kind of had a little collapse, I was so different, I didn’t know what I was doing. 
So then I went into psychotherapy myself. I did that psychotherapy for eight weeks, going three times a week. And what really came out was, the way all the racism I’d experienced, as much as anything, from within my family, because it was a mixed race family. Although I don't define myself as mixed race. And it was lodged in me, it was hurting me. And I hadn't done anything about it really, I've been a political activist, I've done lots of stuff, as you know, like setting up our ad and all that. But I hadn't dealt with how it had affected me and caused me pain. And for a long time I did that with that therapist. And that really helped me to kind of get rid of it. Not to say that I wasn't formed by it, but not to let it sit in me like an absence. 

That was good. And then the other challenge is that you have to be, in the room, as it were, like literally sitting with someone, you have to kind of not be shy. You know, you have to say, I trained for that. I have some skills. I'm really wanting to do this work with someone, I feel it's an important aspect of healthcare. And okay, so just go with what you feel, because sometimes you might, somebody might be speaking, and they're saying something and you think in your mind, it raises a question or a point that you want to say. But it can feel as though that could be very difficult for the person to hear. And yet you know that you need to say it, you need to say, like, in my own case, when I was a patient, somebody needed to say to me, my therapist needed to say to me, you will not be able to deal with the racism that lodged in you until you can accept that there was racism from the white part of your family. And we have to talk about, and not just the people, not just like my granddad or my uncle, who I would say it was always them. But from my beloved mother, who I loved. And even from my beloved grandmother. To talk about how, even though they loved me, there was still some racism there.

And it was really hard. But my therapist had to say, we have to talk about this, because otherwise you can't get rid of the pain. So those, when you know, I'm in that position myself, say with wanting to talk to somebody about something, especially to do with talking about things to do with their family or siblings, friends, things that make them feel embarrassed, kind of, what's the word I'm looking for, kind of unfaithful, you know. Like kind of letting down the family or the mum, and they shouldn't be saying things like that. But they have to say it and we have to think about it together. Not because we're going to condemn people, but because we're trying to understand what psychological meaning it has that a person; a kind of inner feeling in their mind, in their heart, unspoken. So that can be quite hard as well. But it's really, really, really, really helpful. It can be very rewarding, you know?

MS: So from what I have, psychotherapy can be a difficult job because of the emotional toll that it may have on you from taking on other people's problems. Do you have any interests outside or psychotherapy that helps like balance?

GL: Yeah, well, the first thing to say is, is that when you when you, you work as a psychotherapist, you also have supervision. So you have somebody who you see certain times a month, you know. There's a minimum amount that you have to do, where you can take out, you can offload. You don't say all the details, because you don't share all the details about anybody. But you say, I've been doing this, and I'm feeling this. I'm feeling frustrated. I'm feeling angry, I'm feeling impotent, I'm feeling, and then your supervisor helps you to offload it. 

So that's important. But of course, I'm also an academic. And I'm also you know, I've got my partner and my friends and I watch the TV and we go out so life goes on as well. You know, you learn to, you learn to kind of, it's like you go to school, you do your homework. Hopefully you can put school away for a while part of the time and do other parts. Yeah, it's like that, but you have supervision as well. Are you thinking of training then, is that what you want to do? Become a psychologist or psychotherapist?

MS: I do actually have an interest in psychology. I'd like to go down the clinical side.

GL: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So you see, so you will have supervision as well, that helps you. Because you're right, it can, you know, people come in with very, very distinct situations. Yeah, it can be very hard.

MS: So our next question is, what does feminism mean to you?

GL: Well, that’s another huge question. But I suppose feminism on one level means everything because, for me feminism is like, linked to all the projects around social justice and liberation. And that, unless we can really get to grips with gender positions… 

Do you do sociology and stuff? Do you do stuff about making of gender?

MS: We have PSHE lessons where we learn about like, gender and equality.

GL: Okay, okay. So but from where I sit, I think about gender as not as a natural thing. But as it's socially-produced thing. And that social production of gender, it gives us the inequalities between people designated as women and people designated as men. Okay? So that's one thing. 

But that whole process of gendering the world, you know, putting up these categories of gender, has produced a whole system historically, and in the current world, of inequality. So feminism, at one level is about trying to address that inequality, to know how it works. Understand how it works. To see how it patterns people's lives. In terms of opportunities for some, not opportunities for others, or pushing you in particular directions. Or valuing you differently, because you’re not as important because you're a woman. Or not even sometimes seeing things, you know, not even noticing that there are certain things that go missing from the social, political and cultural agenda. Because they're to do with women, they're made invisible. 

But for me, all of that, to do with the division of people into women and men; all of that is linked to histories of colonialism. And we can't understand processes that make people women and men, without understanding that women or men, are also subdivided into Black and white, African and Asian, Nigerian and Indian, you know. All of that. That is part of how colonialism works. 

So there's this Nigerian psychologist, for example, who's written this book. I'm gonna forget the title. I think it's called Making of Gender. I'm going to send the title in an email to you, because I always forget titles. But it's a whole book about the ways in which British colonialism went into, particularly into Yoruba land, and unsettled all the ways in which Yoruba people understood the world and thought about people, mostly in age categories, she says they were the important division. 
But then colonialism imposed on that and said, age isn't the most important. What's important is that you'd be proper men and women. And proper men and women meant you act as though you were English men and women. But we know, colonialists said you can't be white and English, because you're Black, African, and Black African, you don't have as much intelligent civilization, culture as everyone else. 

So what we're going to do is, I'm going to try and improve you by showing you how gender should be done, should work, and also putting your labour into building railways and all that kind of stuff. So for me, feminism must also be an anti-imperialist project. It's about how gender works in the inequalities, but it's tied also to the ways in which race and ethnicity works, and the inequalities. And then of course, how class works and its inequalities. So I know there was a question about do I see race and racism and sexism is intertwined? Yes, that's what intersectionality means. What we have to attend is a project of social justice. But social justice can't proceed as though all women are one or all men are white, but actually how do race and class also change the way gender operates. And then that's our project of social justice, and sexuality.

MS: Thank you. So, was the book you were talking about, did that influence you to write your own book, Race, Gender, Social Welfare: Encounters in a Postcolonial Society?

GL: Yeah. You know what, although they came out, the book that I was talking about, and I will find it on my shelf and get the title. But, although that, because that came out just before my book, about three years. I can't lie, at the time, I didn't know of it. It's terrible, why didn't I know of it? Because even in university, we weren't taught about the sociology that African women were producing. It was only what European, Asian, American women will produce. 

So I didn't know about this book at the time, even though I should have  because it would have really helped me. So I wrote that book, it was actually my PhD. And the reason why I get that, it was at the time of Thatcher.  Well it was late, it was in the 90s after Thatcher had been in for so many years, and they were making all the changes to the welfare state. And at the same time, there were also more, not more, but different kinds of policing. And categorising Black, Asian, other minority populations. 

So they were really starting to do that. So they were, they were calling us ethnic minorities, dividing us along ethnic lines, rather than the time when we all organised together, you know. And they were talking, one of the things that they did in relation to social welfare, into social work, was they said, what we now need is professionally-qualified social workers, rather than not-qualified social workers, who did all the night work or the last days of jobs in social work. 

But suddenly the state seem to be saying, we now need professionally-qualified social workers. And I thought why, why are they doing that? Because they wouldn't normally want to give us something that improved our status. So what's behind that agenda? That was my question. Why are you doing this? Don't trust that it's just for our good. So it was under the Equal Opportunities, you know, policy. So I wanted to find out. So I went off and I interviewed 14 Black women who were working as qualified-social workers. And I interviewed some of their managers who were Black, white, male, female. And I asked them all, why do you think this is happening? And it was like three oceans of difference, you know, between what the Black women social worker said, and what the managers said. 

The managers said, oh, yeah, we've got to produce, you know, sensitive, culturally-sensitive social workers that meet the needs of multicultural populations, multicultural service users. But they were still policing service users, the policy framework, the government. And the social workers were saying, we've become qualified to do this, because we agree we need to be able to give good service delivery to Black and Asian populations. But we need to do it in a way that really is directed towards their needs, rather than a way of disciplining them, which the government is trying to do. That's what the social workers said. 

So the book was trying to raise an argument about, it’s called governmentality. When you go on to university, or you may have done, you'll hear about this, Michel, Michel Foucault. And he had this idea of governmentality. And basically, what that means is, how do governments produce subjects, us, me you, whose sense of ourselves is dictated by the needs of those in power. So we start to experience understand the world in terms of the logics of domination, rather than logics of justice. 

And then, because that never works entirely, because we always have a feeling for justice, even if we don't know how to get that, we feel for justice. So then it's how do we organise it. But that's the idea of governmentality. And I was saying, This so-called equal opportunity. And getting Black women qualified as social workers is really a practice of governmentality. And the social workers know what they're in. And they try to have room for manoeuvre, to contest that and deliver services to Black and Asian populations that are more directed to the people they come from. So does that makes sense to you? 

MS: Yes! Did you have a lot of backlash from writing the truth about different minorities in your book?

GL: Maybe in some, some way. You know, being an academic writing these books, it's a strange thing, because really, where it engages with the world, is not so much, because you tend to write in a language that people think, I can't be doing with that, just talk straight to me. Talk a language that's intelligible. 

So more the place where you get maybe some backlash, sometimes some support, would be if you go and give a talk somewhere. You know, you give a talk and you think, I'm going to try and break this down. And especially if it's with, say, social workers or with service users. There, service users are telling you you've only gone so far and you need to do more. And the social workers are saying, yeah, that's good, but it’s changing all the time. So you have to try and keep up with it. 

I don't think I've personally got a lot of backlash. But I think that's because of where I was giving the talks and things. It was more to try and help people do more work. It's giving some background information, rather than, at the head of the line, really at the frontline.

MS: As a Black woman, how did you feel having the honour to work on such an impactful case regarding the tragic murder of Stephen Lawrence? 

GL: Oh my god. Well, that was a real. Obviously that's really…and you see then you think, okay, all the ways that you've learned to think about policy, like, say social workers. Now it's coming down through, this is coming into real use, because it was the solicitors who were working with Duwayne Brooks, you know, because Duwayne had a different set of solicitors than Stephen and Stephen’s family. And Duwayne Brooks’ treatment wasn't really being taken up. As bad as it was around Stephen, and all the years and years it took to get at least recognition that he'd been murdered by those five guys, Duwayne’s situation and how he was treated by the police wasn't being taken seriously. 

At first he was blamed maybe for the murder. But then he was being blamed for how he was treated. Duwayne was treated, because the psychological toll on him at first was huge, really huge as a young man. He lost his best friend. He was being treated like he wasn't a victim. And so the solicitors were trying to get his part of the case built into the whole case. So then they approached me. The solicitors were called Deighton and Guedalla,. 

Okay. They approached me and Stuart Hall. Have you heard of Stuart Hall? Very famous Jamaican sociologist. He was in Britain all the time, he’s really really famous. He's passed now but yeah. And we recruited another guy, who did work on policing. The solicitors approached us to do some work, to build their case around racial stereotypes, stereotyping. 

So that's what we did. We did a report on what is stereotyping. And how does it work in policing, its actual work in education. And then how did those stereotypes get into the minds of people like the police, that then they treat, in this case, Black men in a particular way, according to the stereotype. He couldn't be a victim, he could only be aggressive. He couldn't be unwell, he could only be mad, psychotic. And stuff like that. 

So we did this report on stereotyping. The solicitors took it to the McPherson inquiry. And it was used for some of the background work of how they were thinking. And that was just like one of the most important pieces of work I've ever done. Because it was crucial. It led to the whole thing about institutional racism. It really informed all that. So it was just like, the most important thing, and when Duwayne mentioned this in his book, I was like, oh, yeah, I got a real honour here as well. Yeah, it was really important work.

MS: What led you or inspired you to become a co-founder of the OWAAD?

GL: All right, yeah. The Organisation of Women of African and Asian descent. So I got involved, I was in Brixton Women’s Group. There was this other, a student organisation called African Red Family. There was people in the Harringay Sisters Group. And there were people in Awaaz, which was the Asian Women's Group. And we all came together and said, we need to get a group together that can be national. Because we've got all these local groups attending to questions of racism and sexism. Okay, trying to bring the understanding of gender and our understanding of racing, how they lead to particular kinds of inequality and injustice for us. We need to be able to kind of coordinate our other activities so we've got more of a sense of what's happening on the national stage, and we can support each other in our struggle. 

So that's why we did it. The group got together with the Harringay group, got together with African Red Family, others, and we said let's set this up. Let's do this. And it took a while. And we had to work out how to name it, because at first we were going to be just called the National Black Women's Organisation. But African Red  Family, some of the sisters there, because this was in, when, the late 70s, there were independent struggles like Zimbabwe, South Africa, Angola, you know, all of that Eritrea stuff. So we had those women students here from African Red Family. We said, let's call it the National Black Women’s Organisation, but for some of those sisters, Black don't mean nothing to us, we're not Black, we're Eritrean, we’re Ethiopian, we’re Oromo, we're Nigerian. 

But those of us from this country [it did],  Black and Asian in a white-dominated society. And in South Africa, and Zimbabwe, Black countries kind of dominated by white races. So they understood the notion of Black. But the opposite is to say, what’s Black? That's what white people do. We're not, you know, why would we be in it? 

So it was a real lesson. It was a real lesson, because here now, we were thinking, we’re Black, we’re Asian, but that was a colonial language. You see, so we learned that, so don't count me. Although it's meaningful, we live in a white-dominated society. But that isn't how we should cast ourselves generally around the world, necessarily. So then we said, okay, so we were going to be the Organisation of Women of Africa and African descent, because this was a little bit before Awaaz came in. And then the Asian women said, well, hang on, where are we? 

So they said okay, African and Asian, that covered us all. And it was really important, it didn't last for a massive amount of time, but maybe for five, six years. But it was really, really important, the work that we did collectively and individually was in our local areas, but knowing we had the support of similar action, you know. What we were doing in London, they were doing in Manchester or Leeds, or wherever. We were working in south London, they were doing it in east London, you know, that kind of stuff.

MS: Thank you. And finally, were you surprised to be featured on the City of Women map? And what does it mean for you?

GL: Oh, let me tell you, I can't even believe it. I could not believe it. So I've been working for a year in the States. And I suddenly get this email saying, oh, we're just letting you know that tomorrow we're launching a new City of Women Tube map thing. You're named as one of the stations, as Kilburn Park. I literally went [happy exclamation, laughter]. It was like crazy. Are you kidding me, this is something else. This is really something else. So I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it to be quite honest. 

And I liked who I'm near, so many other names. I was surprised. I was really surprised. And it means the world. It means the world. Kilburn Park, I mean, it really made me proud, at the same time I mustn’t get flash, you know, don’t get too big…for myself. The important stuff is doing work that relates to people. So talking to you, is really good, because it grounds me, you know, it grounds me again. It's really important.

MS (supervisor): Thank you so much, it's been such a joy. I mean, I'm not part of this, it’s student led, but it has been such a joy just to sit in and to listen.

GL: Before you go, just tell me a bit about yourself. 

MS (supervisor): So, about me? [laughter] Yeah, so I work as a women's education officer here. And I do a lot of the enrichment activities. So, after school club, conferences, events, and amazing projects like this, and enjoy, like, this has been  the highlight of my time here. Just being able to, you know, to work with young people, to have partnerships with UCL and to be part of something that's bigger than ourselves and to really think about what you know, what do we want our legacy to be? What do we want to do in the future? Who do we want to, you know, how can we feel others and so on.

GL: Yeah, it's really important.

MS (supervisor): And I'm a south Londoner, I was so excited to be interviewing you, and to listen to the conversations and I know that Olive Morris is on is on the map as well. 

Yeah, because we’re in the Brixton group together. She’s phenomenal.

MS (supervisor): I had to do my history as well. I'm really understanding of the amazing women who shaped the Black British experience in Brixton. Pioneered us to be accepted and to build something in that community. 

GL: Well now it’s over to you guys, the project still continues. You young ones have got to pick this up. Young and younger. [laughter]

MS (supervisor): They think I’m old!

MS (student 1): The subjects I study are English literature, drama and history. And I'd like to further pursue like psychology. I mean, I don't do psychology right now, but I think it'd be like an interesting subject, from what you've told me about being a psychotherapist, like it just seems very interesting to me. 

GL: It's very real. 

MS (student 1): Yeah, exactly. I like the idea of being there with people and just like communicating and just like knowing a bit more about them. I think I'm more people interested. Also, like outside of school. I like doing like extracurricular activities. So I like, I like spending my time doing opportunities like this, to meet amazing woman like you.

GL: Fantastic, and…?
MS (student 2): I'm also excited when I found out you were a person that we could interview, because we had a PSHE lesson about Stephen Lawrence. And I was so interested, like, they're now so engaged and like finding out that you helped with the legal team for doing that interested me, because I'm very interested in law and how that works.

GL: You're gonna go into law are you? Good. Yeah. It's good to hear. Challenging, but great! [laughter]

MS (student 3): When I researched about you, I found a lot of amazing facts and knowing about your work, it really surprised me that you've come a huge, like, way to, where you are now. And it must have been, like, very challenging going through, like, different barriers and stuff. But you know, you've got, you're still here. [laughter] So it taught me that anything is possible. And knowing the words you've said to us today, I think it would resonate within us. And I think I'll think about it for my future and different jobs that I can apply for and thinking about life in general.

GL:Great, great, brilliant. And remember, you all need to own on your own self, but you also need to do stuff in community, collectively, because it’s collective work that helps us be able to do individual work, and own ourselves in different ways. So whichever way you find, those two things are really important.

MS: Thank you for that.

GL: Thank you, I’m so pleased to have met you all. 

MS: We are so happy that you even gave time for this. 

GL: My pleasure. Thank you.

Voiceover: Thank you for listening to these amazing interviews to educate yourself on pioneering women of London.

Valerie Mason-John

Voiceover: Welcome to the City of Women interview series, a collaboration between Mulberry School for Girls and University College London. We are honoured to be able to ask you a few questions we created to learn more about inspirational women.

Mulberry School: So first, hello Valerie, how are you today?

Valerie Mason John: I'm fine. It is 25 past 7 in the morning and the sun is shining. And yeah, fine.

MS: We are overjoyed to be having this opportunity to discuss your challenges, opinions and achievements. Our first question is, what is mental health and mindfulness in a nutshell?

VMJ: Oh, what is mental health and mindfulness? In a nutshell? A fantastic question. Let's start with mindfulness. I say mindfulness is, if we break the word down, mind full of everything that we do, okay? And what we say about mindfulness, it's really important to be aware of your body, aware of your feelings, because the body produces feelings; and aware of your thoughts, because feelings produce thoughts and emotions. 
And when we can be aware of thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and especially our body, which can become uncomfortable, then we can more be with our experience, and then hopefully make better choices. 

Now, what is mental health? I think I like to talk about emotional health, because it's on a on a spectrum. Mental health is really looking at how dysregulated we can be or how regulated. Hopefully, what mindfulness does is, it's great that you put the two together, mindfulness is a modality that can help regulate our mental health, or help regulate our emotional health, because we can become quite dysregulated. And when we become dysregulated, we can become distressed, we can become angry, we can become depressed, and we can begin to act out with what would be considered antisocial behaviour. 

And so in a way, mental health is on a spectrum. We've all got mental health, and that there are times we can get dysregulated. And there are some people who are dysregulated 24/7, because they have come from such extreme trauma. You know, people who are refugees often can be quite dysregulated, because of the traumatic experience they've had; if you've come from an abusive family; or if a parent has died or something, and you've not been able to speak to somebody, then it will impact your mental and emotional health. So really, mental health is how we navigate the world with our emotions.

MS: Thank you. And next question is, do you think mindfulness has been disregarded recently?

VMJ: I don't think mindfulness has been disregarded. I think that in a way, mindfulness has become far more acceptable, because as we know, we're not allowed to bring religions into education institutions, into medical institutions. And mindfulness has been very much associated with Buddhism. And what I want to say of course, mindfulness is really important to Buddhism, but actually mindfulness, if we look at the Buddha, the Buddha rediscovered the way, so even before the Buddha there was mindfulness. 

Okay. So what's really happened is that we have CBT, cognitive behaviour therapy, which has helped bring mindfulness into the mainstream. We have mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, which has brought mindfulness into the mainstream. And now we see compassionate inquiry, we see kindness behaviour therapy. 

So, in a way, I would say that mindfulness has become popular. And I think I know where that question comes from. Because I know that there was a report actually saying, there was studies in schools, and mindfulness had not had much impact in schools. And when I read that, I just thought, that is the way mindfulness hasn’t been taught. Because I used to come into your school, and I used to teach mindfulness through the lens of conflict resolution, and we helped transform many children's lives. So yeah, if you're gonna get mindfulness, it isn't just about sitting there and being still and being quiet again, mindfulness is about everything that we do

MS: Do you think physical health connects to mental health?

VMJ: Oh, definitely. You cannot split physical health from mental health, as I was saying earlier. We have this body, we have this body 24/7, okay. And you know, the body will have certain sensations, the body will have unpleasant sensations, it will have pleasant sensations and it will have neutral sensations. 

And often if we look at something like addiction, what happens is, is that we can have pleasant sensations and we want more and more and more, we want to keep on craving, craving, craving. So therefore, if we get on that vicious cycle of addiction, that's going to impact our mental health, then again, we can have unpleasant sensations, and we don't want unpleasant sensations in the body, and we want to move away. And when we constantly move away, that's going to impact our mental health; depression, maybe psychosis. 

And then there is this neutral sensation. And actually, that can be the most activated because for some people, especially if you grew up in such a chaotic childhood. You think nothing much going on, I've got to do something, you know, I've got to do something to make myself feel alive. And often, the behaviours that we do to make ourselves feel alive can impact our mental health. But it's not dualistic. Physical health, mental health, spiritual health, emotional health are interconnected.

MS: Our next question is, have you struggled with the prominent issues of society, such as gender barriers, or racial discrimination as a such an inspirational figure? And do you think linking to philosophy that these issues will cease to exist?

VMJ: Yeah. What I want to say is, is that I'm very fortunate, I'm in a position where it's like, what's the legacy I can leave because I'm a future ancestor. And the reason why I say that is, is that I benefit from my ancestors, the fact that I can live in this world, be black, African descent, and have certain freedoms. I don't have all my freedoms, you don't have all your freedoms, you are free, young people to say, young people of colour, we don't have all our freedoms, but we definitely had certain freedoms. 

The fact that I can be, I see myself as a woman, but I say non-binary woman, you know, gender fluid, because what society says a woman is, has never allowed black women to fit into that. When I think of what the media did to Michelle Obama, she couldn't be a woman because she was big, she was strong. Yeah. So that whole kind of reclaiming what womanhood is, and actually for me, part of reclaiming that is, is that non-binary spectrum. 

So yes, of course, you know, I Iive in Canada now. I grew up in in the UK, and I experienced a lot of racism. So let's say on trigger response. I remember being on an Anti-Nazi League march, and being one of the few black people, and the police picking on me and the police taking me into the police cell and actually ramming their hand up me to see if I had dangerous weapons, okay. And I was selected, if I had dangerous weapons inside me, I was selected because I was black. 

I spent many times of buses not stopping for me. I spent many times of taxis not stopping for me. It's been many times of insults and you know, many times have been too scared to go out on bank holidays, because the National Front or the skinheads or whatever would be out there and they would be out to kill us. 

Yes, most definitely, being, you know, being queer. So, you know, I have the privilege that I can live with my wife. And still, of course, I've struggled, but as I've got older, you know, you talk about can philosophy help this and I do see mindfulness as part of philosophy. I would say that mindfulness and Buddhism, and also kind of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity are some of the oldest philosophies that we know. 

And, you know, I know that if we turn towards a spiritual, if we if we turn towards a spiritual practice, it allows us to like and love ourselves more. So for me, the philosophy is learning to love ourselves, when we when we can learn to love whoever we are, no matter what we look like, if we're differently abled, with different races, no matter. If we can learn to love who we are, then that struggle gets less. 

It doesn't mean to say that the issues of racism, sexism, gender, and homophobia go away. What it means is, is that we can navigate the world much better, because we love ourselves. There's a famous quote, which says, before enlightenment is chopping the wood and holding the water. And after enlightenment is chopping the wood and holding the water. And what that means is, is that when we feel so much better about ourselves, we're still going to have to deal with chopping the wood and hauling water, but it's going to be so much more easier.

MS: Next question is, do you think society is better with or without journalism?

VMJ: Do I think society is better with or without journalism? You've done your research, I used to be a journalist, you know. I stopped being a journalist because I realised I could not tell the truth. Okay. I'll actually tell you my claim to fame. I was a journalist. And actually, I had an interview with Margaret Thatcher. I still have the letter. I was going to interview Margaret Thatcher. And then I got a letter with her declining, and I think they may have done a bit of research on me, because if you've done a bit of research, you'll see that I've got a bit of a chequered past. 

I didn't actually end up interviewing her. And I, you know, I worked out in Australia covering Aboriginal deaths in custody and land rights. And, you know, when I came back, especially spending time out in Palestine and Israel, I realised that you can't tell the truth because governments control the media. And it's really interesting that actually, I think one of the great things about Facebook, that's my generation, one of the great things about TikTok, one of the great things about Instagram, is that, actually the general public have become journalists and will tell us what's happening. So we're not so dependent on the media. I think it's important to have journalism and to have journalists, but we must be aware that actually journalists are controlled by the government.

MS: Thank you. We appreciate your inspirational answers.

Voiceover: Thank you for listening to these amazing interviews to educate yourself on pioneering women of London.

Consuelo Moreno Yusti

Voiceover: Welcome to the City of Women interview series, a collaboration between Mulberry School for Girls and University College London. We are honoured to be able to ask you a few questions we created to learn more about inspirational women.

Mulberry School:  It is an honour to meet you in person and we would like to interview about your career challenges and achievements in life. We are also so delighted to be talking to someone so inspiring.

[Question is translated into Spanish, Consuela Moreno answers in Spanish, interpreter translates – same for all following questions]

CM/Interpreter: She is saying she’s very proud and honoured to speak to you.

MS: Our first question is what was your lightbulb moment that led to your fight of activism?

CM: What she was saying was she was working at the university and she was working through an agency. And for a couple of months there was a problem with their payment. For a couple of months the workers they were not getting paid, and they couldn't pay their homes, they couldn't pay for food, you know, a couple of months for these workers that work for a small salary. For two months, it was a big problem. So that's where it started.

MS: The second question is what is something in your career that felt special to you, whether it's an achievement or a stepping stone to your goal? 

CM: She say that the challenges that she had were that she is from a Latin country, she's an immigrant, her language is not…her English is not there and the fight they had has improved working conditions. Nobody is contracted by the agency anymore, but by the university and they have inspired other universities to follow the same pattern, so rather than getting contracted cleaners, going through an agency to contract their cleaners, the university contracts their own cleaners.

MS: Role models are significant, has your role model changed from when you were younger?

CM: Yes. She believes leaders are really important, because they are the ones in charge of a group of people, to understand what is the objective. They can inspire them, tell them there is a problem here, let's analyse how can we solve this problem. They are the ones that motivate the people to get together and that's why leaders are important. 

CM: She's saying that, yes it has changed, because initially the situation, it was very, you know…it was that they were treated with injustice, that they were suffering, they were immigrants and they were scared and worried that they will have problems. I mean people did not believe that the cleaners could get such you know, could be employed by the university, some people will not believe that. So it has changed, because they have achieved that. But they still feel a bit of concern every time that there is something to present, another problem to present to the union. They are still concerned about it but they are much more stronger, because they have achieved a lot. They are now employed by the university and that's the major achievement

CM: She would like to add also that, 90% them weren't cleaners. During the 12 years of this fight, not only cleaners, other parts of the universities have also been added to the union and now they are employed as well by the university. So, let's say the maintenance people, the kitchen staff, they were employed by an agency and now they are employed by the university and that's a great achievement.

MS: Thank you. Have the challenges you have experienced changed your perspective on things, has it affected you in any way?

CM: The perspective that she has now is the security, the insurance that she has now that, she feels really secure now, when a group gets organised, when people get together to solve a problem – a social problem or a labour problem or a working conditions problem or payment problems. When they got together initially it was tough because some of their colleagues were deported back to their country and that was very, very tough for her. But now her perspective is that she feels much more secure. And that yes, if you want it, you can do it. Just come with us. 

MS: What were your thoughts and emotions during your journey to being an activist?

CM: Her thoughts are that when she came from Colombia, she studied to become a lawyer in Colombia. So she was a lawyer in Colombia. And she left when they killed her father for being a syndicalist, a union activist. And when she came here to this country, she came with her daughter of six years of age, and she never imagined that she could achieve professionally what she has achieved, you know the success that she has had with her union.

CM: She would like to add also, that over the 12 years of the campaign, she didn't do it by herself with a couple of colleagues. She did it also with the students, the students at the university were very supportive and worked very closely with them. So in the campaign, I think I read in the website that they locked themselves in the management offices for two weeks to support the union. During 12 years, obviously every year students finish university, they’re now adults, but they always have this, that they looked for good working conditions, they participated in the, in the [struggle], they were really so close together, with so vivid an experience during all of these years at the university, they helped these people have a happy working life basically.

CM: The deportations of these colleagues, and I think there were nine of them that were deported, including a woman that was six months pregnant, the way that they treated them at that moment was so unfair. She felt really, really bad and that really affected her, it was very harmful for the whole union. And then because only two of them were able to come back, the others have to stay in their own countries. Every year on 12 June, which was the day they were deported, 12 June 2009, every year they do a commemoration event. They list their names and they are very respectful about how they were and what happened to them. It’s something commemorative for them because that was very dramatic in the creation of this union.

MS: Do you think there is one specific meaning of activism and if so, what is?

CM: The activism that she understands, that she comprehends, is to organise any type of…activism is to make people aware there is something that needs to be changed. The activist part is to organise, perseverance is the most important because you ask for something, and this year it will not happen, but next year you have to remember to go back to that. You have to be very perseverant, and that's her comprehension of activism.

CM: They’re also very aware that they are not only looking to achieve something personally, they work in a group, in a union, and also they have empathy for other kinds of…

CM: So yeah, to have empathy for other universities to achieve what the SOAS University has achieved. So not working individually, working in a group or a union, and also now that they have achieved what they have achieved, to empathise with other universities to achieve what SOAS has achieved. Yeah, so they help out with methodology, with all that that they have achieved

Thank you so much for answering our questions. We loved to hear your responses,

CM: Anytime, anything that you want to talk to Consuelo, she will be delighted to be here to come again or to help again. Yes. Yes, thank you so much.

voiceover: Thank you for listening to these amazing interviews to educate yourself on pioneering women of London.

Angela Saini

Voiceover: Welcome to the City of Women interview series, a collaboration between Mulberry School for Girls and University College London. We are honoured to be able to ask you a few questions we created to learn more about inspirational women.

Mulberry School: Hello Angela, lovely to meet you. So firstly, we want to start with what influenced you to write your first book Geek Nation: How Indian Science is Taking Over the World?

Angela Saini: Well, first of all, thank you so much for having me here. It is such a pleasure to be in Whitechapel again, I used to live here many, many years ago. And I've never been in the school, but it's beautiful. You're very lucky to go here. 

So my very first book I wrote in around 2008, 2009. I had just gotten married. And my husband and I had moved to India for a while because he had got an attachment there with his work. I'd done a story earlier that year for Wired Magazine about lie detectors, which were being used in Indian courts at the time to figure out whether criminals you know, suspects are telling the truth or not. And this is a very controversial technology. I know you're interested in criminology, so you'll be interested in this. But in many countries in the world lie detectors are not admissible evidence because they can be fooled, and you know that the technology isn't perfect. 

And this one was particularly strange, because he was using brain scans. So he was putting an ECG cap on suspects’ heads. And then this inventor, the scientist, was claiming that he had this kind of black box technology, which could tell whether a suspect was telling the truth or not. And on the basis of that, forensic labs across India, were using this evidence in order to put people away. 

I was so fascinated when I'd finished that story, I thought, Is there a bigger story to tell about Indian science and engineering and technology and how that's changing the landscape of India. Especially because historically, a lot of the science and the maths that we use, and the medicine, come from that part of the world, so the numbers that we use originate from that part of the world. But also, there was a big political shift after the Second World War to turn India into a kind of technological superpower, a scientific superpower. So India has had a space programme for a very, very long time. It's been investing in technology and science and maths and the IT industry for a very long time. So that book was a journey through all of that to understand where the country was going. And the ways in which technology was being harnessed by everyday people for good, but sometimes also for bad.

MS: What are some of the challenges you faced during the early stages of your career? 

AS: I studied engineering at university. And while I was there, I got involved in student politics, especially antiracism, so became one of the co-chairs of the antiracism committee of the university. And that's how I started writing for the student papers. First, I was writing about race issues. And then I started writing a few articles on science. 

But I was really, it was the politics of it that really fascinated me, and was really important to me because of where I grew up. So I was born in east London. But when I was about 10 years old, my family moved to southeast London. And it was a very racist area. At the time, the far right were very active, Stephen Lawrence was killed, not very far from where I lived. But there were a lot of racist murders in that area in the 80s and 90s. So I just wanted to be more active around those issues, these political issues. 

So when I left uni, I moved to India to work for Current Affairs magazine. And then I came back and got a traineeship with ITN. It just restarted its trainee scheme. And I was very, very lucky that I, you know, was chosen to be on that. If that hadn't happened, I think life would have been much harder for me. So I was fortunate. I think I was just very lucky that things panned out for me at that time. But that's not to say, just going back to the question, that things weren't tricky. It was tricky. There was a lot of kind of implicit sexism and racism in TV news. And there still is. I think women are judged differently. Ethnic minorities, we have to prove ourselves in different ways. What I found particularly, and it's only as I reflect on my career, is how much harder I needed to prove myself before I was trusted. I hope things are different now. But that really frustrated me, I would see other people for whom doors would open so easily. Whereas I had to keep proving myself at every step. And I think that's still true now.

MS: So you have a degree in engineering at Oxford, and you got your second degree in King's in science and security. So what prompted you to pursue your postgraduate degree?

AS: So I didn't do that immediately after I left university, I waited quite a few years, and I didn't do it for professional reasons. So much was just personal interest. I was working full time at the BBC at the time, actually just near here. That's why I was living here, my office was in Bethnal Green on the other side of Brick Lane. And I was living in Whitechapel on New Road. And I was working full time for the BBC as a reporter, but my interest was still science. And my interest was still understanding the world. 

So, what was brilliant at that time was King’s Department of War Studies. They had a degree that was interdisciplinary. So you could have a science background, but learn about international politics and war security. So I did that in my spare time. So I was working full-time. And I did the degree in my spare time, over two years, so I was taking twice as long as everybody else. But I really enjoyed it. And it gave me an understanding, which I didn't get in my first degree, of the social sciences and humanities and how politics affects science and technology, which came in very useful later when I was writing other books.

MS: Were you surprised to be featured in the City of Women map? What does it mean to you?

AS: It means so much, I was really, really surprised. But I was thrilled that they held the session over at Newbury Park, because when I was young, like I said, we grew up in east London and Newbury Park is right next to Valentine's Park, where I used to hang out with my family a lot. And that area is still so precious to me. So I had some of the happiest years of my childhood there. It means a lot.

MS: What advice would you give to young women and girls from ethnic minorities who want to pursue a career in science?

AS: I would say, absolutely go for it. Engineering in particular, is one of those degrees. I mean, I can only speak from my own experience, but it's so bankable, you know. I went to a state school when I was growing up, one of my main concerns was when I leave university, will I get a job that will pay me enough to live independently? And you know, that was my main concern, will I get paid enough? Will I get a job at the end of it? And I know that that's important to so many people. 

But engineering is bankable. There are so many career opportunities when you come out of it, not just in the sciences and engineering, but also in finance or, like me, if you're going into journalism, I think it's useful because you're numerate. So it's great in terms of, you know, for me having that background, it means I understand the world a little bit differently, understand how things are built and made. And I understand numbers. So when I'm doing data and statistics, which is a big part of my job, it's easier for me. So it's just one of the most versatile things you can do. And I would recommend it to absolutely everyone. 

That's not to say that life is easy, these are still male-dominated industries. But there are many more groups now, networking groups, which I recommend you get involved in as quickly as possible. There's a Women's Engineering Society, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Academy of Engineering, they all have programmes, systems and processes to help students who want to progress through these systems where there are fewer women or ethnic minorities, which they didn't have when I was growing up. So I would take advantage of that and build your networks, have somewhere to go to when you need help. Because I think that's the scariest thing when you're entering a career in which you are a minority that you can feel alone. But there are groups out there, networks that can help you.

MS: We know you have a new book coming out called Patriarchs. Can you tell us more about it?

AS: I just finished it actually a couple of weeks ago, and I sent it to the publishers. I spent more than three years on it. It's a long book. And the question I'm essentially trying to answer is, we know anthropologists have known for a long time, scientists have known, that we are not a naturally male-dominated species. We have not been male dominated since the beginning. 

So then the question is how did we get to here? How did the world come to look the way it does now. And that's the question I was trying to answer, by looking at historical evidence. I travelled around the world to understand the roots of male domination, male supremacy and where this started to emerge and how it evolved in different ways, at different points. And what we can say is, it didn't happen in one catastrophic way. It happened very, very gradually and in very patchy ways, wherever you are in the world. 

The one message I'm trying to get across is that patriarchy, how old do you think patriarchy is really, depends on where you are, where you are in the world. For some people, depending on where they live, it's 1000s of years old, for some, it's, you know, 100 or less. So this is a system that we have built, and we have created and we have absolutely the power to demolish it and create something else. And I hope that comes across for readers. It definitely made me feel better, but I hope it feels the same when other people read it.

MS: Thank you for answering our questions.

AS: They were really good questions. I appreciate it. Thank you so much. 

Voiceover: Thank you for listening to these amazing interviews to educate yourself on Pioneer Woman of London.

Lani Parker (Sisters of Frida)

Voiceover: Welcome to the City of Women interview series, a collaboration between Mulberry School for Girls and University College London. We are honoured to be able to ask you a few questions we created to learn more about inspirational women.

Mulberry School: Hello, lovely to meet you. Would you mind introducing us to Sisters of Frida?

Sisters of Frida: Yeah, so Sisters of Frida is a disabled women's collective. So that means that it's run by and for disabled women. That includes anyone who identifies as disabled, and anyone who identifies as a woman, or not as a man, some non-binary people as well. And we are experimental. So we try to do things that serve disabled women. And in a way that takes into account everything about us. 

So we look at not just being disabled, but also about being a woman, about being a woman of colour, or about being gay, or whatever it is, we look at. We talk about it, too. We create spaces a lot of the time to talk about our issues with each other. And we campaign on issues as well.

MS: What inspired you to choose the hummingbird as your logo? And what does it represent?

SF: Yeah, so the hummingbird was chosen because it's a symbol of accomplishing the impossible. So they say that you can't accomplish something until it's done. You have to imagine it, and then do it. And it always feels impossible until it's done. So, it's about that. And for Native Americans, the bird is a symbol of rebirth, and a resurrection. 

And it has special messages for us. It's about it's about capacity for going in any direction. So again, a creative thing. We wanted to be creative and experimental with our work. And it's about travelling at a speed, and it goes up and down and can move around and be very flexible depending on what's needed. So that's what we wanted. That's why we chose the hummingbird. It's very small, but it has a big ability.

MS: What inspired the choice of name Sisters of Frida, for your organisation?

SF: Well, Sisters of Frida, it took a long, long time to decide on the name. But do you know anything about Frida Kahlo? You do, but for those who maybe don't, Frida Kahlo wasa  disabled woman she was Mexican, she was very political. And she was also an artist. She was very creative. And she was also a bisexual woman. So she symbolised a lot of creativity, of power, and difference. We wanted to have all of that, our name is not always associated with disability, because she's not seen as a disabled person necessarily. But she used to work with, if you look at her art, she would do a lot of art around her disability. So we wanted to say that it's not just people who are obviously disabled, who are disabled women.

MS: What are some of the challenges you have faced as a disabled woman? And how can able-bodied people become better allies?

SF: Well, this is an interesting question, because I think disabled women faced many of the things that non-disabled women face. At the moment, you might know, you might feel it in your families, there's a cost of living crisis. Everything's going up. As food prices are going up and things like that, that's having a big impact. 

We face a lot of discrimination around being able to access things, but we also, disabled women tend to have care [responsibilities] in the family, so we care for other people. And we're mothers, we care for other disabled children or adults, those kinds of things. So there's lots of challenges that we face, we actually did a report in Covid, we did a big report on all the different things that people face. A lot of things were around accessing health care, and money and isolation – a lot of disabled women are very isolated. 

So in terms of what non-disabled people can do, I think one of the things is really just to learn for yourself. Learn and listen, I guess, like anything. If I was to be an ally to young people, I would need to learn and listen from you. And I would like to do that as an ally. That's a basic thing for allies to do. And, also, that I think that when you start to understand that actually, discrimination and ableism faced by disabled people and disabled women is a problem for everybody. 

So you kind of can think about it as your issue as well. But you might be in a different position from it. So it's not your own experience. But you can stand alongside and support. Because it's also your struggle, because everybody, everybody's struggling. We're connected to each other. Does that make sense?

MS: Yes, thank you.

SF: If there are things I'm saying that don't make sense, you can just ask me, because I sometimes, I talk a bit funny.

MS: Do you think the Conservative government's replacement of the Human Rights Act with the UK Bill of Rights will help or hinder the lives of disabled people?

SF: This is a question I don't know the answer to. We have not really talked about it as a collective. So I'm not really sure what people think. So I don't really know the answer. To that question, I think it's a good question. Do you have any thoughts?

MS: It will kind of hinder, because it will, because it feels like it's just like the government thinking. And I don't think there's going to be a lot of participation of everyone in the country. And I wish that it was.

SF: Yeah. Yeah. And that's what I think, I think that the Conservative government, I agree with you, the Conservative government are not very good at hearing the voices of everybody.

MS: What was your reason for joining Sisters of Frida?

SF: My reason for joining Sisters of Frida was because I wanted to be in a group of women, where we really think about all the different types of problems that we face. And we really talk and address those problems, in a way that's round, that’s full, that's not just about being disabled, but being about being whoever, your whole self. I wanted to be part of that group. 

And I found that, there's a lot of different groups for disabled people, but sometimes, there isn't the space just for disabled women. And that's important. And so I wanted to be part of that. Because the issues that we face, although they're similar to everybody, they're also very unique. So yeah, I wanted to be part of that and something else, another reason? Yeah, because there's not really the space. People often don't think that disabled women's issues really matter that much. Because maybe they think there aren’t very many of them. There are lots of us actually, lots and lots of us. But I think, you know, but also because women's voices don't get taken as seriously as men's voices. So that's why I wanted to try and change that. 

MS: Were you surprised to be featured on the City of Women map? 

SF: Yeah, really surprised. I was really, really pleased. Notice that there was, there's two other disabled women, I think it was Tanni Grey-Thompson. And I think, is it? Jane Campbell, I think it was, I can't remember. So they're really brilliant, and there's another Paralympian, as well. I think they're really brilliant, influential, disabled women. 

But it was really good for us because we're a collective group of just ordinary disabled women. Yeah. Ordinary, extraordinary, whatever. But like, we were just a group of women who want to get together and change things. So it can be anybody. So that's really, really good. Because the people that you've got, you know, you've got people who have achieved a lot as individuals, but it's really, really good to have a group where we can, where we achieve a lot as a collective. Because that’s something that really doesn't get shown very often, doesn't get spotlighted very much. So, yeah, it's really good.

MS: How much impact did Covid-19 have on Sisters of Frida?

SF: Well, a big impact. We wrote a report about what impact it had on disabled women. In general, kind of using voices of people who are connected to Sisters of Frida. So, a kind of kind of membership sort of. And there were lots of issues around like, yeah, just being more isolated than non-disabled women, not being able to access healthcare. In the same way, issues around how some disabled women had to shield and other disabled women were key workers, you know, in kind of key worker roles. So they were often not seen as disabled, or, you know, those sort of things. So there were lots of impacts, in general. 

In terms of the organisation, I think that, in a way, it didn't have huge amounts of impact. We weren't able to meet face to face, like everybody we had to meet online. And we did carry on, we carried on our work. In terms of our group, we carried on our work, but we did obviously have to make sure, you know, everybody was safe, and stuff like that. 

MS: Thank you. And thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. We really appreciate you having an open and honest conversation with us. Have a lovely day. 

SF: Yeah, thank you. That's great. Thank you for thinking of those questions. I thought they were really, really good questions. And I hope you enjoy the rest of the project. Are you doing more interviews then? Different people?

MS: There's more people doing this project and everyone has a little group, you know, and they're all interviewing amazing, inspirational women.

We've had interviews throughout this week. There’s seven teams. And they've been doing interviews with other amazing women on the map. We had Angela Saini on Monday. And yeah, that was like amazing, just everybody on the team has been absolutely phenomenal and the students have really enjoyed interviewing women and hearing their stories and, you know, and then connecting it to the map and so it's been a real joy. 

SF: I don't know why they chose to put us on Caledonian Road. But I think because the Women's Resource Centre is close to Caledonian Road. And that is, maybe that's why, I don't know why. Yeah, but if you want to ask me anything else, feel free to. 

MS: Thank you, so much. Have an amazing day, thank you. Thank you for your time. 

SF: No problem, bye!

MS: [multiple people speaking]

[Voiceover]: Thank you for listening to these amazing interviews to educate yourself on pioneering women of London.

Return to 'Mapping the impact of women on London' in Bartlett Review 2022

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