Locating Sylvia Pankhurst

by Joan Ashworth


Methods of research

Exploratory experimental animation
  • Cotton mill worker
  • Prison sketch
  • Skirt and shoes
  • Books
Experiential activism





Prison Sketch

Apart from animating the drawings themselves, and experimenting with inserting a voice into a painting of a different period, I also attempted to write a letter to Sylvia as a means of navigating the rich material I was gathering on a complex life. As I wrote the letter, I found myself being transported into a cell, and encountering Sylvia. I could feel her gaze as she sketched me, as I continued to write,. After completing the letter, I found one of Sylvia’s prison sketches and animated this to my reading of my letter. This form of making the film held promise.

Sylvia Pankhurst Prison Sketch animation.

Prison sketch of inmate of Holloway prison by Sylvia Pankhurst, reproduced in the suffragette newspaper Votes For Women, 1909.