The Whole World
IN HER HANDS
What is 'In Her Hands'?
In Her Hands is a non-profit project that aims to dismantle the inaccessible nature of building and create an empowering space for women and all other marginalised gender identities to learn and explore the fundamentals of construction.
We're doing this by teaching basic building skills at our workshop space in West Sussex, plus we're creating an inspirational online platform for story sharing and creative representation of women, non-binary and trans folk working with tools. This will begin with a podcast series set to release early 2023.
What are the goals of the project?
We're aiming to create a space where whether it's being able to mend your own cupboard doors, put up shelves, build a shed or construct your own home, the limits will be your determination, not your gender. We want to reform the outdated and immobilising narrative that women are physically not as capable as men to build, and are mentally not as capable to engineer their own build plans.
Our core values are empowerment, inclusivity and sustainability. We're reclaiming and re-using all of the timber in our workshop so that nothing goes to waste.
How does the workshop operate?
We finished an initial renovation process of an old stable building just outside of Steyning, West Sussex (14 miles from Brighton). We offer weekly open access workshop days. These are running on a pay-as-you-can basis because we think your financial situation shouldn’t be a barrier to learning new skills and feeling empowered! Taught and facilitated by women, we aspire to create a fun, un-pressured environment where we approach fundamental building skills with access to tools (hand and power), bench space and supportive guidance from skilled builders and makers.
There's an outdoor fire pit, communal hangout space and garden kitchen, where we'll make plentiful tea/coffee and basic rice and dhal lunches. We have a tiny veggie garden where we're growing salads for our lunches and herbs for teas.
We're also offering on-going support and workshop sessions for community groups and individuals who could benefit from our project, so please reach out if you feel this is appropriate to you or a group you work with.
How will the online platform address the topic?
Through educational and inspirational content online in the form of podcasts, short films, photo-stories and blog posts. These will share the stories of women in building, construction, trade and craft, show-casing inspiring build projects and simply normalising the imagery of women with tools! There will also be informative content on the basics and fundamentals of building, with the intent of forming a forum/community advice element. Watch this space.
We are looking for women, non-binary and trans builders, makers, architects, engineers and labourers who want to be involved or share their story! Whether you have an on-going build project, have finished a piece of work and would kindly share some content, or simply have advice/information/experience to donate then we'd love to hear from you!
This project is trans and non-binary inclusive and will endeavour to support any identifying woman or non-binary folk! If you have any concerns or ideas on how to be most supportive please pass on your thoughts!
My name is Georjie (she/her), and have built my own 'tiny home'. I started off with almost zero experience in building, I could barely use a drill and had no practical understanding of engineering or architecture. On starting the project - and throughout the majority of the building process - I had no access to internet at my workshop space or home. Therefore, no youtube! Working in an old barn on an isolated hill, I also had no teacher or consistent physical help. I relied entirely on intuition - something we all have - which I was excited to learn is enough of a groundwork to use basic tools and materials. Then, accompanied with determination and a dose of perseverance, I trialled-and-errored my way into gaining a deeper understanding of woodwork and construction principals. It was nothing short of an enlightenment to learn that building, at least in fundamentals and everyday basics, was really simple! How had I been lead to believe (through direct/indirect comments and more problematically, deeply challenging ideology) that this hugely approachable and crucial life-skill was so far from reach? That it was not just physically out of my potential, but that I couldn't really trust my hands to do as 'good' of a job as a man. My mind started unpicking years worth of comments, social examples, media/imagery and prominently my educational experiences. All of it had enforced a narrative that it is not a woman's place, it's just not the way of things. Developing my building skills has been the most empowering and important experience of my entire life. Nothing has brought me the same sense of confidence, excitement and independence as such a simple set of skills. I am no master, but I'm determined that this is something all women should get the fair and equal chance to explore and learn should they want to, for both their own ability to live independently without reliance on others for basic tasks, and for creative/artistic pursuits that require basic understandings of tools.
IN HER HANDS PROJECT CIC
Community Interest Company no: 14574164