#DeedsNotWords was a series of GrrrlGames workshops across Bristol funded by Bristol Women’s Voices’ as part of their Deeds Not Words programme celebrating 100 years since the first women were able to vote in the UK, with a grant from the UK Government Equalities Office.

From July 2018 to January 2019 we ran free workshops for young women and girls aged 13+ to design and make their own digital games inspired by stories of Suffragettes & Suffragists in Bristol.

Through the project we all learnt about the history of the suffrage movement in Bristol were inspired, amused and outraged by the exploits of our foremothers, what they got up to and what was done to them. They didn’t teach us these stories in school. But we did enjoy reading these books to get our research started:

The Women Who Built Bristol 1184-2018 by Jane Duffus

Women and the City: Bristol 1373-2000 by Madge Dresser

The Bristol Suffragettes by Lucienne Boyce

Go Home and Do the Washing! Three Centuries of Pioneering Bristol Women by Lorna Brierley and Helen Reid

As well as reading books we encouraged online research with the girls and spent a lot of talking about what we would have felt like being young women in the Women’s Suffrage Movement as we used the stories to inspire game designs. We ended up with lots of drawings and ideas, and even a few playable first drafts of games, with a lot of support from Grrrl Games professionals.

You can find out more about the #deedsnotwords games HERE. Please appreciate these are very much works in progress and they don’t show the amount of thought and effort and conversation that has gone into making them.

We still have a bunch of designs that could be turned into playable games – but most of what came out of the project is still on paper. We know that the process of thinking about games design and turning stories into ideas is the tricky bit, and we were really blown away by the budding game designers.

As a legacy to the project we ran an ongoing monthly session for a year or so for 13- 18 year olds, where they got to meet women working in games and carry on developing ideas. We talked about all sorts of ideas around games, creative techiniques, making art, trials and tribulations of being a grrrl at school, what we would like to make, experimenting with different software, drawing techniques, etc… But mostly it was great for younger people in the group to see that working in games was actually a real possibility.

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