Essex Community Foundation

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Challenging the Essex Girl Stereotype

1st March 2016

Primary school children in Colchester are to produce a film that aims to turn the Essex Girl stereotype on its head, thanks to a grant of £2,500 from the EWAG Charitable Fund.

The grant has been awarded to the Essex Girls - Junior project, run by Signals Media Arts based in Colchester.  The film project will enable children from the Iceni Academy and Stanway Primary School to chart the successes of women from Essex over the years.

The EWAG Charitable Fund was established in 2010 by the Essex Women’s Advisory Group to combat negative stereotypes and promote self-esteem in women.  The Fund is managed by the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF) which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.  Additional funding of £1,500 was awarded to the project from the Colchester Fund, which is also managed by ECF.

Caroline Taylor, chief executive of ECF, is thrilled the Foundation is able to help make the Essex Girls - Junior project come to fruition.

She said: “Signals Media Arts has a proven track record of delivering creative projects and working with young people. This new project was born out of the success of Signals’ year-long Essex Girls Youth Film Club project, which explored the negative stereotyping of girls from the county and the impact on girls’ lives today.”

Rachel Hipkiss, chief executive at Signals Media Arts explains: “We discovered young women had been ridiculed at job interviews or in the first day of college and that many women had not admitted to coming from Essex.

“The young people who took part in the Essex Girls project said that although they felt it did not apply to their own families, they were influenced by the stereotype and felt it generally was true.”

Using materials created through the original project, primary school children will add their own ideas to develop work that can be seen and understood by youngsters in that age group.

They will take part in six workshops during school time and create short films suitable for young children through animation, graphics, sound recording and editing.

The short films created will then be made available online and used as learning resources for schools, clubs and individuals.

Rachel from Signals Media Arts adds: “The children taking part will gain a better understanding of their local heritage and the project will help them to have an increased sense of pride in their county which is often portrayed in a negative way.”