Arts project inspired by fisherwomen’s traditional clothing focus of talk

An arts project inspired by the traditional clothing of fisherwomen will be the focus of a talk later this month.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 7:00 am
Penny Payne with banners on display at an exhibition at MIMA.

North Tyneside artist Penny Payne will explain her project about the role of women in the fishing industry on the North East coast in conversation with Helen Welford, assistant curator at MIMA on Saturday, October 23, at 11am at the Old Low Light Heritage Centre on North Shields fish quay.

Horizons includes the creation of banners symbolising the pleated skirts worn by Cullercoats fisherwomen in the late 1800s. Some of the banners will be available to view.

Tickets for Penny’s talk are £4pp (Old Low Light members free) and can be booked online at

Through the conversation with Helen, Penny will explain the inspiration behind Horizons, how the project has unfolded and evolved over the past two years, including how the banners have been pleated and stitched by 30 individual women from all over the country.

Penny said: “My interest in women involved in the fishing industry on the North East coast was sparked when I came across pictures of the women wearing traditional dress, particularly those from Cullercoats.

"They wore a “uniform” which included a heavy blue or black woollen skirt which was heavily pleated, but these pleats varied in quantity which gave a sense of individuality and autonomy within this close-knit collective.

“As in many industries, the role of women in fishing was a powerful one.

"They were the backbone of the community and the family home while working long hours in harsh working environments.

"The project highlights the marginalisation of these women and considers their collective strength.”