Exhibitions and other projects
Cheryl has produced and managed three major exhibitions:
How the Vote Was Won was an exhibition about the use of the Arts and Media by the Suffragettes to win hearts and minds for the campaign for the vote. It was curated by Susan Croft and V. Irene Cockroft. The exhibition included jewelry by suffrage artist Ernestine Mills , supplied by her great-niece V. Irene Cockroft.
It was exhibited at the Museum of Richmond for 5 months in 2010 to celebrate the centenary of Cicely Hamilton's play How the Vote Was Won performed at Twickenham Town Hall in 1910. An accompanying book was published titled Art, Theatre and Women's Suffrage.
The exhibition attracted over 5000 people and was subsequently shown at Birkbeck University, Rose Bruford College of the Arts and in Stevenage and Camden. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery. See www.the suffragettes.org
Eelpiland: the birth of Rhythm and Blues was a multi-media project in 2013 involving an exhibition at Orleans House in Twickenham which ran for 2 months and attracted over 6000 people. It was curated by Michele Whitby and subsequently was shown at Brentford Musical Museum for a month. An accompanying book was published titled The British Beat Explosion; Rock n roll Island which was voted best book on the Blues in 2014.
The project also involved music gigs with the Eel Pie Club, training and workshops for young people and the making of a music documentary, also titled Rock n Roll Island. This film won 4 awards at film festivals as a 30 minute documentary and then was extended to be a 1 hour documentary which will be shown on BBC4.
Michele Whitby and volunteer Pete Watt went on to establish the Eel Pie Island Museum in Twickenham to house the collected memorabilia and digitized photo portfolios amassed as part of the heritage conservation process.
In 2018, the centenary of some women getting the vote in the UK, Cheryl organised a touring exhibition in the southeast of England to multiple venues, updating the earlier Suffragette Exhibition and reproducing it on several pop up banners. In addition, an accompanying book was published titled The Original Suffrage Cook book, which was a revised edition of a 1915 cookery book by American suffragettes compiled by Mrs L.O. Kleber. This book was featured in The Guardian and launched at an event at The Exchange in Twickenham alongside a talk about 'Vegetarianism and the Suffragettes', given by Louise Quick. A short film was made to promote the tour which you can see here.
Other Major Projects
In 2009, Cheryl launched a biennial competition for women novelists in honour of Virginia Woolf, an important literary figure who lived for a decade in Richmond, near to the office of Aurora Metro. To date there have been over 500 entries to the competition and six new authors have had their novels published. One of them, Glaswegian author Fiona Rintoul, also had her novel The Leipzig Affair, shortlisted for the Saltire Award and it was adapted as a BBC Book at Bedtime.
In 2017, Cheryl launched a project to fundraise and erect a statue to Virginia Woolf in Richmond and commissioned sculptor Laury Dizengremel to make it. The project has received planning permission from the council and a public consultation found that 83% of local residents was in favour of the statue. Cheryl also commissioned a book about the author's life in Richmond titled Virginia Woolf in Richmond which was launched in November 2018 as part of a sold-out event at Richmond Literary festival. The fundraising for £50,000 target is on-going. See more at: www.aurorametro.org