The Arkansas People’s History Project (APHP) is proud to present The Women’s Project. This multimedia web exhibit journeys through the early history of a multiracial network of women* tackling racism, sexism, homophobia, and economic injustice across rural and urban Arkansas starting in 1980.

APHP works to research, document, and share formative moments of repression and resistance across Arkansas in collaboration with the people who lived the history. We facilitate political education by making resistance narratives accessible to a wider audience and inspiring future generations to propel the work forward.

About the process

This exhibit was produced by a working group that facilitated a multi-tiered process of archival research, oral histories, story circles, and intergenerational dialogue to document and interpret the history. APHP is deeply grateful to the cultural workers and organizations who came before us and informed our participatory methods, particularly Junebug Productions, the Highlander Center, and Groundswell.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the project to reimagine many aspects of the work. The working group facilitated technology access to move the oral histories and story circles online—so you’ll sometimes hear internet glitches, grandkids playing, and other noises of life in recordings throughout the exhibit.

After several years of collecting oral histories, the working group hosted a virtual gathering of former Women’s Project members in September 2020 to engage in story circles with each other and dialogue with younger generations of women and non-binary organizers. Then, with the support of an advisory group made up of former Women’s Project staff and board members, the working group produced this multimedia web exhibit with the goal of making the history and its takeaways accessible to current organizers, social service workers, students, and the wider public. The production team prioritized accessibility by ensuring screen reader compatibility for all visual elements and including transcripts and captions for audio and video elements.

The production of the web exhibit required the working group to balance different and sometimes conflicting recollections and perspectives of the Women’s Project’s history and reckon with generational divides on language usage and which aspects of the history to highlight.

The process has generated renewed energy among many former Women’s Project members to reconnect with each other and share their experiences and wisdom with younger generations and current movements.

Access to research materials

Please reach out to ar.peopleshistory@gmail.com if we can be helpful in facilitating your access to oral histories, research materials, web exhibit media, and related sources.

*The Women’s Project included in their framework all who identified as women. More nuanced language around gender identity was not in common use at the time. The APHP chose to use “women” instead of more contemporary language to align with the historical context, but we encourage visitors to think expansively about gender and how language has shifted over time.