extraORDINARYwomen: Supporting Communities (1965-today) is an innovative digital resource exploring roles and attitudes of women in Northern Ireland during a momentous period of recent history and political and socioeconomic change – from the civil rights movement of the 1960s, through the second wave of feminism, formation of the Northern Ireland Women’s Rights Movement, campaigns for equal pay and sex discrimination legislation of the 1970s, the expansion of women’s organisations and centres in the 1980s, the increase of women’s participation in ‘mainstream’ politics with the formation of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition in the 1990s, and ongoing campaigns for equality and inclusivity, with the current equal marriage and debate around abortion rights reform – all against the backdrop of the ‘troubles’ and peacetime.
Fully searchable culturally and historically significant collections of the Linen Hall have been digitised to elucidate and celebrate the lived experience of women. Fascinating online exhibitions, insightful creative responses, and inspiring oral histories capture contemporary issues affecting women of all generations in Northern Ireland.
A wealth of archival materials, posters, artefacts, and objects from the Linen Hall Library’s Political, Theatre and Performing Arts, and Literary collections which document women’s movements for social change, trailblazing grassroots activism, and momentous engagement with politics have been selected, indexed, and preserved through digitisation. Numerous community archives are discoverable, along with inspirational women’s literary and theatrical outputs, and unique and enlightening oral histories from a wide range of women across Northern Ireland.