Sophia Kustatscher is the Student & Staff Engagement Promoter for GUEST (Glasgow University Environmental Sustainability Team).
On the 29th of November, the Queen Margaret Union (QMU) at the University of Glasgow hosted the ‘She works hard for the money listening party’, an evening of song and lyrical storytelling. The event was based around the current exhibition of Ruth Ewan’s art piece ‘A Jukebox of People Trying to Change the World’. The jukebox contains over 2,000 tracks focused on social and political issues in 70 categories spanning from feminism and civil rights to lands rights and ecology. It had previously been exhibited in London, New York and Venice and will be installed at the University of Glasgow until January.
Ruth was joined by trad musician Debbie Armour, who presented a range of songs from the jukebox focusing on Work, Unions and Feminism. Ruth introduced each song and Debbie then sung excerpts from each one. The event explored a female worker’s day starting before sunrise and finishing well into the night. The event explored the life of women throughout history jumping back and forth over the past four centuries with a focus on various jobs from spinning, bleaching, weaving, stitching and shipbuilding to union organising, cleaning, nursing, sex work and lulling a baby to sleep.
The evening was attended by a variety of individuals and sparked conversations on how the attitude towards female labour has changed in the last centuries. We heard a range of music from pop culture (some of which the audience couldn’t resist humming along to) to traditional folk songs. The evening encouraged me to reflect on the lives of the women who came before me and who fought for a better world. Overall, the unique evening served as the perfect reminder for why the arts are vital for keeping social issue topics alive.
I would urge everyone to make their way to the QMU before January to see the jukebox themselves before it is whisked off to its new location!