European Project: EU 1979: A People’s Parliament – Democracy, Human Rights and Women’s Political Participation

Using creative processes of film, a feminist framework, and online digital resources to remember the 1979 European elections

EU 1979: A People’s Parliament is a European art-based project using creative processes of film, a feminist framework, and online digital resources to remember the 1979 European elections through a celebration of stories of 67 powerful women MEPs elected at that time. Out of the 410 MEP’s elected in the 1979 EU elections, 67 were women.

By remembering and celebrating the contribution of the 67 women MEPs, this project highlights the important role of the EU in promoting democracy, human rights and equality for all, as well as recognising the significant role the EU has played in the promotion of women in political life at national and EU levels. The project remembers the 1979 European elections by collecting and celebrating the stories and names of 67 powerful women MEP’s elected. The stories explore the women’s involvement in the 1979 elections, how women became political actors, and the significant role they played in promoting democratic values that underpin the EU.

The partners of the project, which is funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union, are Smashing Times, Ireland (Dublin); Dona Daria, Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universitaet Hannover, Germany; and Francais Pour L’Insertion Sociale et Professionnelle en Europe, France.

As a historical context, data is collected by researchers from the partner countries and formatted into a virtual ‘map’ showing how and why the EU was founded with its roots in WWII and the Holocaust, the importance of the 1979 first European parliamentary elections, and the role of the EU today to promote co-operation, democracy, human rights and equality for all. Each of the four partner countries (Ireland, Germany, France and the Netherlands) also interview two MEPs from today (men and women) to talk about their work in the EU and role models that inspired them.

The materials gathered are then used to create an online exhibition and short film to inspire and motivate young people and adults particularly those from hard to reach groups to support the EU. The online exhibition and creative art film are used as the basis for a series of EU Inspiration Days (multiplier events) conducted in each partner country with diverse groups. The project culminates in an international conference in Ireland.