An arts and heritage programme celebrating the rich history of women’s football will kick-off across Wigan Borough ahead of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 tournament.
The extensive cultural offering will take place throughout the summer season in celebration of Wigan & Leigh being one of the host cities.
The events, which have been funded with the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England, will get underway on July 5, shortly before Portugal take on Switzerland at Leigh Sports Village on July 9.
Among the launch events will be the UEFA Trailblazers Exhibition at Leigh’s Turnpike Gallery which will showcase a colourful collection of images created by artists from the tournament’s participating nations.
Also at the gallery will be Creating Spaces, a six-week long art project that will invite visitors to work alongside artists to create a EURO-themed exhibition.
On July 8, award-winning artist Emma Smith will head to Leigh Civic Square to create The Supercompensation Cycle, a large-scale visual and participatory art installation, on site for one day only. It will take place alongside a performance by WigLe Dance performers and a series of life-size holographic motion portraits featuring local residents and women footballers.
Other events include the Women’s EUROS Exhibition at Archives: Wigan and Leigh in Leigh Town Hall. This exhibition will give visitors the chance to discover key moments in footballing history, alongside memorabilia from local footballing legends.
Meanwhile at Pennington Flash on July 10 there will be a unique outdoor event designed by, and for, women. Created by Idle Women, the art, environment and social justice collaboration, it will be an acoustic performance created with brass and drums. Women can bring their own drums to join in via warm-up sessions, dance or simply to enjoy the experience of good company, natural surroundings, and live music.
Councillor Chris Ready, portfolio holder for culture at Wigan Council, said: “We have a fun-filled arts and heritage programme that will run throughout the summer for residents of the borough to enjoy, as well as paying tribute to the past and present of women’s football.
“These events will be an inspiration to many women and girls across Wigan Borough and will highlight the importance of women’s football and the exciting history that surrounds it.”
Cultural activities will also be a major part of a series of fan parties that will take place on four match days in July at Leigh Civic Square. Fan Parties will include an array of performances including the brand-new Women’s EURO Local Anthem performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, alongside other special appearances including local talent.
The programme is managed by Wigan Council, linked to delivery of The Fire Within Cultural Manifesto, and is run in conjunction with The Football Association (The FA), the national governing body of football in England. It is the first time The FA has run such a programme alongside a major tournament, and it hopes to establish female role models for both girls and boys through the arts. The cultural programme is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England thanks to National Lottery players. It is supported by UEFA and the Mayor of Greater Manchester (GMCA).
See Wigan Council’s full programme of events at: https://www.visitwigan.com/Events/WEUROS.aspx