The Young Feminist Collective

The Young Feminist Collective

Evolved from Project Catalyst, the Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Crisis Service’s youth activist offshoot, and led by Gemma Summers-Green, the Young Feminist Collective formed as part of the PARCS Grows Everybody Oral History project.

Meet some of the members

Lilliah Butcher

Being part of this Oral History Project has been such an inspiring and worthwhile time and I have loved seeing it progress from an idea, into the training stage, then onto the interviews and all of the amazing aspects that have come since. I have learnt so much at each of these stages that I take forward into my life away from PARCS. 

I first took part in a project with PARCS in 2018, and since then have been involved in numerous projects and campaigns that have each had a profound impact on me. Now that I am back in Portsmouth, I am currently training to be a primary school teacher and my time with this project and previous PARCS projects have had an immense impact on the way that I teach. 

It was a privilege to be a part of the recording of PARCS, and the amazing and vital work that was carried out over the last 40 years.

Rosina (Rosie) Lucas

BSc (Hons) Psychology, PG Cert Psychological Therapies Practice (Low Intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) 

I have a background in Older Persons Mental Health and now work within an NHS Talking Therapies service in the South West, supporting people with common mental health problems like anxiety and depression.

I am a part of the Young Feminist Collective (YFC) for the Oral History Project “PARCS Grows Everybody” which aims to document the history of the Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service, between 1981-2021. In addition to this, I am part of the Social Media Team for this project, which has involved story-telling using photographs from the 4 decades, as well as newspaper clippings collected over the years. These images that we title as “throwbacks” hope to provoke questions to those looking at the Project, to see if the landscape has changed at all in the Violence against Women and Girls sector. Through our social media, we have also been able to document the processes that have taken place throughout the Project and create energy and interest for the final exhibition of the Project in March.

Denesha Rocastle

I am one of the young feminist collective consultants involved in the PARCS grows everybody project. The reason I decided to get involved in this exciting project was to be a part of the PARCS’ history. I started out volunteering for PARCS as a project catalyst consultant. which aimed to support and empower young women to become leaders in ending violence and abuse against women and girls, including those from minority groups and marginalised backgrounds. Therefore, my main reason for getting involved in this project was to be able to witness how much has changed from when PARCS was first established compared to today as well as to be able to connect with those who were a part of that history. 

I am currently a teaching assistant working with children as well as volunteering for a mental health helpline. In my spare time I go to the gym and play competitive netball.

Catherine Rowland

Design Lead and interviewer. I applied to be a part of this project as I had previously volunteered with PARCS for Project Catalyst. I found my time volunteering to be so inspirational and really enjoyed being a part of the important work that PARCS did for the city. I thought that it was so important to preserve the history of PARCS and the impact that their work has had.

I now live in Cornwall and work in an FE college, supporting students during independent study time. I studied Graphic Design at university, which is why I stepped into the design lead role for the project. Alongside my activism with the PARCS: Everybody Grows projects, I am also very passionate about the environment, completing beach cleans and attending Right to Roam events. This year I am also crocheting a temperature blanket to visually document the daily temperatures where I live.

Alexandra Ruddock

My background is in EDI and project management. Race equality is my focus area although when it comes to equality I know these are all interlinked and there is work to be done in all areas. 

I lead Portsmouth Black Lives Matter, co-found a women’s network in Portsmouth, a parent governor of my daughters primary school and I am head of programme delivery for a charity that’s supports young people from a low socioeconomic background into leadership and mentoring programmes. 

During this project I have been involved with the young feminist collective and lead the coding and charity element of the research findings. I have also been involved in organising and facilitating workshops at Aspex Portsmouth aimed at children to ensure we can reach as many audiences as possible. 

I have found this project so important to be a part of, particularly as it is based on history in Portsmouth and focuses on key areas that don’t often get the coverage they need for society to address. 

Marianna Smitheram

Reason for applying to be part of project: Having witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of the PARCS team, I applied to join the project as the chance to contribute in a small way to their history was very inspiring to me.

Currently studying towards my Policy Research MSc at the University of Bristol, I bring an academic perspective to my advocacy. There is no opportunity more fulfilling than shedding light on the invaluable work of grassroots organizations like PARCS.

Arianna Vignali

I was drawn to the ‘PARCS Grows Everybody’ project because of my deep conviction in contributing to a cause that aids survivors of abuse and assault. Having witnessed the impactful services provided by PARCS, I was eager to lend my support to this project, amplifying the voices of people who have been involved with this organisation. Participating in this project will not only deepen my understanding of PARCS but also allow me to promote activism in the area of domestic violence and violence against girls and women. I see this project as an opportunity to amplify these voices, raise awareness, and contribute to a meaningful piece of history.

Having finished my Master’s of Research at the University of Portsmouth, I contributed to this project by bringing my extensive research background, as I conducted oral history interviews, coding, and analysing transcripts. I am extremely grateful and enthusiastic to have been part of this project, and to have contributed to the preservation of PARCS’ history and to have contributed to the creation of a platform for the stories of those who have worked and volunteered at PARCS. I firmly believe in the need to amplify the voices of survivors and advocate for the services provided by organisations like PARCS. Thus, my involvement in this project has been a stepping stone towards my aspirations as a researcher and activist, but also a personal journey of growth and contribution to a cause I deeply believe in.

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