These fun, approachable and concise videos give instructions on basic DIY tasks like changing a lightbulb, smashing a window, painting a wall and using a drill.
“What we want to communicate above all else is that women can ‘have a go’ we don’t have to be professionals to put up a curtain rail and if we make a mess of it there is always Polyfilla. We want women to find themselves in these films, unpolished, working it out as they go along, sharing concerns or hesitations as part of a learning process that encourages others.”Rachel and Cis – idle women caretakers
In 2016, Idle Women were awarded the Arts Council Ambition For Excellence award with partners Heart of Glass & Anu Productions.
Through working with local women & within a women’s refuge Idle Women realised a need for a dedicated women’s space in St Helens, a place to ‘tear the house apart’. Together we deconstructed a town centre building and re imagined ourselves and the possibilities. All work, from demolition through to bricklaying, electrics, and plumbing was to be done by professional tradeswomen alongside local women learning these new skills through workshops and demonstrations.
Power Tools emerged as an online legacy of this liberating three-year programme of arts and construction activities; all the videos were shot at the Idle Women Institute at Haydock Street in St Helens, UK.
“Women in St Helens and at Humraaz started to come forward with things they wanted to learn like how to ride a bike, how to change a light bulb, how to lay a laminate floor, how to hang a chandelier. As we were working these things out, we would discuss the barriers we face. Older women said that they didn’t get a chance to learn practical skills in school, other than cooking and sewing, and were elated to get to grips with a drill. There were discussions about how these jobs were for men but also the reality that being dependent on those men can lock women into cycles of violence.”Cis interviewed by Emma Yates-Badley, Northern Soul
The Power Tools video series was produced by Idle Women, LUCA, and Charmian Griffin, more information here. Power Tools was developed with women local to St Helens, campaigners, activists as well as women in trade.