WOMAN UNITED

CHAPTER TWO: LONDON

"Roxy has put her heart, soul, skills, and a  LOT of time into bringing our campaign to life. We absolutely would not be able
to launch Chapter Two without her."

- Stephanie, founder of Woman United

Teamwork makes the dream work

On 29 October 2020, Roxy posted this on her social media channels: "I'm buzzing from the first two days of the Photografemme Summit. A true highlight was to hear Lara Maysa Ingram talk about her documentary work for Woman United, who aim to show women their own resilience, power, and beauty through photography. I'm dreaming of the day I will be part of a powerful project such as this.”

Just five months, a handful of emails, and a video chat later, Roxy became the lead videographer for Chapter Two: London.

Now that is a dream come true!

 

Woman United's first campaign, and the inspiration for the charity, was launched in the middle of the pandemic in Bali, celebrating the strength and beauty of the working women of the island - even in the face of great struggle. This project came about almost by accident. There was no campaign structure or a template to follow. There was no money. Woman United wasn’t even an official charity yet!

But there was plenty of creativity, scrappiness, and a real drive to make a positive impact. 

 

For Chapter Two: London, we turned our focus to the Shadow Pandemic of domestic abuse against women. This campaign, now known as #HearHerRoar, celebrates the brave stories of domestic abuse survivors from across the UK, and uses their collective voices to change the stories that keep abusers in power and victims and survivors silent. 

"The entire experience was completely magical. I felt justified, validated, as if my story mattered. I will forever be grateful that I was fortunate enough to be a part of something so profound."
- Mel, Chapter Two: London storyteller

We dug deep into the science behind storytelling, the healing powers of Narrative Therapy, and Resistance School’s Public Narrative, to inform the structure of the stories in our own campaign. This was not about empathy, but solidarity; this was not about the problems, but the actions we can take as individuals to help ourselves and the women around us and - dare we say - eventually change the system.  

 

We spent weeks preparing for the filming days; with extremely limited funding, there was no money for a studio, for lighting, or a crew. So the wardrobe came from charity shops and we recruited volunteer make-up artists, floral designers, photographers, and editors, who also stepped in as coffee makers and clean-up crew and reflector holders. We used the charity’s home office as a studio space, filming interviews in the bedroom and storing flowers in the bathtub - Roxy even cracked and washed two dozen eggshells for Erica's photoshoot! 

 

But guess what? The storytellers felt safer and more comfortable in a home, rather than a studio. They felt more relaxed without bright lights shining in their faces. And the all-female crew connected on such a deep level, though none of us had met in person before. But we had a shared purpose, a cause to fight for. It made for a truly magical experience that, frankly, money can’t buy.

At the end of the shoot, we sat around the coffee table to celebrate and dream out loud. Could we get our campaign on the London Underground? Get national press coverage? Obtain funding to launch Empowered Storytelling workshops? Yes, we can! We utilised our different skills, our connections, and support networks to actually make it happen. Roxy worked with Stephanie to write out Woman United's own origin story, which then became a heartfelt and vulnerable video message in support of the funding efforts; Your London Florist put together a collection of Woman United flower crowns and a merchandise webshop was opened, to name but a few activities.  

 

You don’t need the best equipment and the biggest budget to create something meaningful. You need people who understand and share your vision. Tell them your story, explain to them your Why, and build the project's foundation on this shared purpose. 

"The impact it's had on me is going to be life-changing. I now feel seen and heard. I felt loved, I felt like people wanted to hear what I had to say, and the biggest feeling that I've taken away is that I feel safe."
- Lejla, Chapter Two: London storyteller