Lass War began as an action outside the Northern Powerhouse Conference in Manchester on 21st February, 2017.
We gathered in man-suits and hi-vis, hard hats and smug faces to point at things importantly. We were inspired by the fact that the conference had 98 speakers on its line up- only 13 of them women. Many delegates and other people turned out to agreed with us that efforts to tackle the socio-economic inequality of the North of England require much greater diversity of voices than this. Guardian Article
Future actions will find more ways of demonstrating this.
Lass War comes out of The Campaign for Northern Voices. This is a campaign started by stand-up poet Kate Fox to see greater representation of Northern English Voices in the public sphere and to highlight stigma (often connected to class) which attaches to Northern accents. This might just involve pointing out that when audiences complained there was mumbling on ITV’s Police drama Happy Valley they actually meant “Northernness”. Since she has been told that she was too Northern for Northern stations, that listeners would “get confused” about two female voices on breakfast radio news so she couldn’t read her own bulletins when she was a radio journalist, and that she doesn’t sound like a Radio 4 poet, she has become quite sensitive to issues of voice and representation. They do however, always connect to wider issues of structural inequality. She has decided to move beyond tutting and create performances which highlight these things.