Londoners Reni Eddo-Lodge and Emma Watson are collaborating with author Rebecca Solnit and geographer Joshua Jelly-Schapiro to reimagine London’s classic Tube map. The new public history project ‘City of London Women’ will redraw the classic London Underground map by naming each stop after a woman, non-binary person or a group.
The project is inspired by Solnit and Jelly-Schapiro’s acclaimed book Nonstop Metropolis, in which they reworked the New York City subway map to celebrate women who had made their mark on the city. The map then became an iconic poster and sparked numerous conversations about public space, history, gender, feminism, and memory. In 2019, the independent publisher Haymarket Books released a new version of the map with a revised list of station stops. Writing about the second edition of the map, Solnit said:
‘How does it impact our imaginations that so many places in so many cities are named after men and so few after women? What kind of landscape do we move through when streets and parks and statues and bridges are gendered … and it’s usually one gender, and not another? What kind of silence arises in places that so seldom speak of and to women? This map was made to sing the praises of the extraordinary women who have, since the beginning, been shapers and heroes of this city that has always been, secretly, a City of Women. And why not the subway? This is a history still emerging from underground, a reminder that it’s all connected, and that we get around.’
Now Solnit and Schapiro are partnering with London residents award-winning writer Reni Eddo-Lodge (author of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race) and actor and activist Emma Watson to create the City of Women London, using Transport for London’s iconic Tube map.
This offering is inspired by all the women and non-binary people who have shaped London's history, as well as other projects that have already done much to re-imagine the city from a similar perspective. The contributors would particularly like to acknowledge previous reworkings of the London Underground map, such as We Apologise for the Delay to Your Journey by Thick/er Black Lines, the Literary Tube Map by In the Book, and other similar projects. The City of Women map hopes to further contribute to the way London is imagined, navigated, and lived.
The project is being launched in partnership with The WOW Foundation, which was founded by Jude Kelly CBE in 2010, when the first WOW - Women of the World Festival took place at London’s Southbank Centre. In 2018 Kelly founded The WOW Foundation to run the global movement as an independent charity. Through WOW festivals, events, schools programmes and more, WOW challenges the belief that gender equality has already been achieved – and hopes to join the dots between people, movements and ideas to change the world.
The creators of City of Women London will work with the WOW community, historians, writers, curators, community organisers, museums, and librarians, as well as crowdsourcing ideas from the public, to create the final map.
Haymarket Books will publish the project on International Women's Day 2021, 8 March.
So many remarkable women and non-binary people have made their mark in the greater London area, the list of possible station names is dizzying: Ada Lovelace, April Ashley, Altheia Jones-LeCointe, Amy Winehouse, Bushra Nasir, Claudia Jones, Hannah Dadds, Jackie Forster, Jayaben Desai, Jenny Sealey, Jung Chang, the Match Girls, Mary Prince, Mary Seacole, Mary Wollstonecraft, Noor Inayat Khan, Paris Lees, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Sophia Duleep Singh, Tessa Sanderson, Virginia Woolf, Yvette Williams, Zadie Smith, and beyond.
We will never think of the Tube — or public space — the same way again.
Contact Duncan Thomas at [email protected] for further information.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
The project aims to identify remarkable female or non-binary Londoners who have had an impact on the city’s history in some way. It will allocate them to each of the stations depicted on the London Tube map according to their connections to a local area. Some of these people might be household names, others might be unsung heroes or figures from London’s hidden histories. The names might be drawn from arts, civil society, business, politics, sport and so on.
Suggestions will be gathered by consulting with historians, writers, curators, community organisers, women’s rights organisations, museums, and librarians and through an open call to the public to submit ideas. Ideas can be sent to [email protected] or submitted via a form here [https://tinyurl.com/y7m46xg9]. Any ideas shared on social media should use the hashtag #cityofwomenlondon. All suggestions will be fed into a final decision-making process led by the project team.
The final names will then be artworked into a bespoke version of London’s Tube map. The final design will be published by Haymarket Books and made available as a poster for sale through bookshops, museums, and specialty stores, and as a free downloadable image. As with the original NYC initiative, the project hopes that schools and other educational groups will use the map as a learning resource to discover more about the women of London.
London Underground, better known as the Tube, has 11 lines covering 402km and serving 270 stations. The Tube handles up to five million passenger journeys a day.
The standard Tube map is here: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/standard-tube-map.pdf.
More information about the network is available here: https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/what-we-do?intcmp=2582#on-this-page-1.
ABOUT THE TEAM
Rebecca Solnit is the author of more than twenty books on feminism, western and indigenous history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering and walking, hope and disaster, including Call Them By Their True Names (Winner of the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction), Cinderella Liberator, Men Explain Things to Me, The Mother of All Questions, and Hope in the Dark, and co-creator of the City of Women map, all published by Haymarket Books; a trilogy of atlases of American cities, The Faraway Nearby, A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Wanderlust: A History of Walking, and River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (for which she received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, a Lannan Literary Award). Her forthcoming memoir, Recollections of My Nonexistence, is scheduled to release in March 2020. A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a columnist at the Guardian and a regular contributor to Literary Hub.
Reni Eddo-Lodge is a journalist, author, and podcaster. Her debut nonfiction book, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, was published in June 2017 to critical acclaim. In 2020, she made history by becoming the first Black British author to have written the number one selling book in the British book charts.
A Sunday Times, New York Times and Der Spiegel bestseller, Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race won the 2018 Jhalak Prize, the 2018 Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing, and a 2018 British Book Award for Narrative Non Fiction. A 2018 public poll by Academic Book Week named it the most influential book written by a woman. Her podcast, About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge, premiered in March 2018. It was chosen as one of the best podcasts of the year by Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Harper’s Bazaar UK, The Guardian, British GQ, and Wired UK.
Emma Watson is a British actor and activist. She first came to the public’s attention playing Hermione Granger in the film adaptations of the Harry Potter book series, which enjoyed immense success worldwide. Emma Watson’s filmography includes The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Bling Ring, Noah and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. She most recently starred in Greta Gerwig’s Little Women. In May 2014, she earned a degree in English Literature from Brown University. Also in 2014, she was appointed a UN WOMEN Global Goodwill Ambassador and launched the HeForShe initiative aimed at involving men in the promotion of gender equality. Her work on the HeForShe campaign earned her a place on Time Magazine’s TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people in 2015. In 2016, she created Our Shared Shelf, a feminist book club. Emma Watson is part of the TIME'S UP Entertainment Steering Committee and brought the movement to the UK, coordinating its launch at the UK Film BAFTAs in 2018 and building a network of hundreds of women from across the industry. Her consultation with the women’s movement led to the establishment of a new UK Justice and Equality Fund, hosted by Rosa and launched by Ms. Watson with a £1million donation. The fund aims to end cultures of harassment, abuse and impunity by resourcing expert organisations in this field. She also helped launch UK industry-wide guidelines on harassment and bullying with the British Film Institute (BFI), the British Academy of Film and TV Arts (BAFTA), the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) and other leading bodies. In 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron invited her to sit on the G7’s advisory Gender Equality Council. Emma Watson is also a pioneer in advocating for sustainable fashion and is a supporter of Good On You, a mobile app which allows consumers to check the sustainability credentials of clothing brands. In 2018, she was invited to guest edit an edition of Vogue Australia on sustainable development and responsible consumption. Emma was recently appointed Kering's Chair of the Sustainability Committee of the Board of Directors.
Joshua Jelly-Schapiro is a geographer and writer. He is the author of Island People: The Caribbean and the World and the co-editor, with Rebecca Solnit, of Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas. He is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, and he has also written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper's, The Believer, The Nation, Artforum, American Quarterly, and Transition, among many other publications. His work, which often focuses on place, race, and how human difference is thought about and acted on in the world, has been supported by fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Social Science Research Council. Since 2014 he has been a visiting scholar at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, where he also teaches.
Molly Roy is a cartographer and artist creating works that encourage people to delve into the dynamic stories of place. Recent projects include lead cartography for Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro's Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas, editing Guerrilla Cartography's Water: An Atlas, and conducting research for an atlas on Sacramento, CA. Previous projects include map making and/or editing for Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas, Mission Possible: A Neighborhood Atlas, and Food: An Atlas. Molly is also a co-founder and former board member of Guerrilla Cartography.
Lia Tjandra is the Art Director of University of California Press and Head Designer for Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro's Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas. She also designed, among other books, Solnit’s Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas.
The WOW Foundation - WOW - Women of the World was founded by Jude Kelly in 2010, when the first WOW Festival took place at Southbank Centre. Since then, WOW Festivals celebrating women and girls, and taking a frank look at the obstacles they face, have taken place across the globe, reaching more than two million people. Through festivals, events, schools programmes and more, WOW challenges the belief that gender equality has already been achieved – and hopes to join the dots between people, movements and ideas to change the world. In 2018 Jude Kelly left her role as Artistic Director of Southbank Centre to focus solely on the development of WOW as an independent charity. The WOW Foundation exists to build, convene and sustain a global movement that believes a gender equal world is desirable, possible and urgently required. To date, WOW has staged over 65 festivals and events across six continents, reaching more than two million people. In June, WOW held its first ever worldwide online festival focused on women and girls — WOW Global 24. The festival travelled around the world everywhere from the UK to Nigeria, and Pakistan to Australia exploring the intersectional impact of COVID-19 on gender inequality, and responding to Black Lives Matter. Speakers and performers included Angela Davis; Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard; former President of Ireland Mary Robinson; singer and activist Annie Lennox; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women; Patrick Stewart and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall; Indian disability and gender rights activist Nidhi Goyal and many more. See more at thewowfoundation.com