About Sapphormation

The theme for this year’s Sapphormation is “Defiance”.  We want to recognise the defiance of women-loving-women in a range of ways and to celebrate the contributions that these women have made, and continue to make, in modern times. 

In 1918 some women were given the right to vote for their MP, in the UK, for the first time.  This right was hard-won and many women suffered greatly in the struggle for the vote.  The suffragettes that we generally remember are the most famous, but there were hundreds of others, who are less well-known.  All of these can be understood as women-loving-women, as they were giving up their freedom for the rights of all women.  At the General Election in December of 1918 women also stood for election for the first time.  In Manchester, Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence stood unsuccessfully in the Rusholme constituency and polled 2,985 votes, for Labour. 

In 2018 Sapphormation aims to celebrate the defiance of the suffragettes and the women who stood as candidates.  We will come together to remember these women but also to celebrate with workshops, art, crafts and poetry that honours defiant women who love women. 

Info@sapphormation.com // twitter.com/sapphormation // www.sapphormation.com // www.facebook.com/groups/154043768067003/

Our Partners and Funders

Our organisers

Sally Carr

Sally Carr MBE has been working as a youth and community worker with LGBT young people for over 30 years. She is dedicated to ensuring lesbian, bisexual and pansexual young women’s voices and ideas are constantly informing the direction of her work as these are so often seldom heard voices.

Ali Hanbury

Ali is a youth and community worker and has been organising community events for several years including Queer Boots, Feminist Movie Mondays, Sapphormation Festival, Feed Your Head and Levenshulme Pride. She works for The Proud Trust and manages the LGBT+ Centre in Manchester. As a working-class, Welsh lesbian she is proud to have gained a PhD in women’s studies from Lancaster University and uses her charity work and academic insight to get stuff done.

Hebe Phillips

Hebe is an lesbian artist + feminist youth worker from Manchester and co-founder/volunteer zlibrarian at Manchester LGBT Zine Library. Interested in how art brings people, women in particular together and allowed them to tell stories.  Lover of cats, bumbags and being in the green. Collects purple flowers in her spare time.

Ali Ronan

Ali has re-invented herself from youth worker to feminist historian. She has a background in arts based community work and conflict resolution. She is currently Chair of the Proud Trust and a founder member of Feminist Webs. Her motto at the moment is ‘No need to hurry’.

Claudia Carvell

Claudia runs the lesbian and bi women’s programme at LGBT Foundation in Manchester and organises events for LGBTQ+ women and queer folk with the HER social app. This is Claudia’s second year working on Sapphormation and she is all about creating spaces for queer women in Manchester!

Kate Cook

Kate is a lecturer in law at Manchester Metropolitan University, she is also Head of the Sylvia Pankhurst Gender Research Centre.  Kate has been a feminist activist, working on violence against women and girls for over 25 years.  She lives in Sale with her partner, Annie, and two dogs.

Kate O Brien

Kate O’Brien is an artist, activist and general queirdo living in Manchester, England. She is currently working on a PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University, where she studies mathematical creativity and textile practices. Ask her about: American takes on weird British food, being an athlete and a mathlete (go nerd culture in all forms!) or dancing with cats.

Linda Marsh

Linda has been a part-time trainer, community development / information / project worker for the last 20 odd years and an active member of Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People. Linda has a passion for chocolate, sharing information and making sure it is as accessible as possible, a growing (no pun intended) interest in gardening and a liking for doing ‘wobbly’ sewing. Linda attended a couple of Sapphormations before deciding to come along and get involved in the planning last year.

Hannah Morrow

“I’m Hannah, and I’ve been the manager of ‘WomenMATTA, a ‘women’s centre’ for women involved in, or at risk of involvement in the criminal justice system for nearly 5 years. I’ve been lucky enough to spent my whole career working with women in various fields including housing/homelessness, sexual and domestic abuse and criminal justice. Both in and out of work I really value women-only spaces – being a member of She Choir, a fabulous all female choir is a great example of this – so I’m really excited to be a part of Sapphormation this year

Amelia lee

Amelia has helped with fundraising for the Festival and has been a supporter of the festival since it began. She lives in Manchester with her partner, two dogs and a cat, and is a big fan of lesbian and bisexual women’s fiction in TV, film and in print


We are proud to welcome our partners Kwik Fit who will be running the car maintenance session. Established in 1971, Kwik Fit is one of the largest independent automotive parts, repair and replacement specialists in the world. Kwik Fit has over 600 service centres across the UK and more than 200 mobile tyre fitting vehicles, making it the UK’s leading tyre, exhaust, brake and MOT specialist. Kwik Fit, the UK’s leading automotive servicing and repair company, hosts a number of women’s  evening events across the country, primarily aimed at women who want to learn a bit more about their car, and as a result feel more comfortable if they ever need to go to a garage. 

Click here to read about why we need sapphormation.
In 2012 our colleagues at The Proud Trust were having lots of conversations about lesbian and bisexual women’s visibility. It was felt that there are few places and spaces where women who are lesbian or bisexual can get together. So we planned to do something about this.

The ‘Gay Scene’ (in urban areas only) is still male-dominated, ‘body beautiful’, anti-intellectual and commercially driven – excluding many women. Those who ‘find each other’, (e.g. online), remain largely in homogenous groups who inhabit domestic spaces to socialise. They are often depoliticised and lacking the connectedness of a ‘community’.

Rarely is there the space and context in the lives of lesbian and bisexual women to explore and reflect on their own lives, and to talk with a wide range of other lesbian and bisexual women. This lack will be addressed in our event the Sapphormation Festival. Women will meet, discuss, debate and participate in fun activities – drawing both strength and action from this. We will have experts and thinkers from communities and Universities – to run lively interactive workshops plus activities, music, discussion and craft from local LGBT and women’s groups to provide a fun range of events, including an interactive panel debate, lampost climbing, drumming, engaging workshops, great food, Rapture (Women’s centered club night) and more.

Why we need sapphormation.

• To combat negative stereotyping
• To raise visibility so lesbian and bisexual women get the chance to see one another across the city
• A chance to get together, come back together or connect –  this event gives us the chance to think and talk outside of the village/ pubs and clubs
• The event is for free, but we can take donations/ do some fundraising to help fund our lesbian and bisexual women’s services
• We can raise the profile of the services we offer
• The things we want to explore are Lesbian Lives, Spaces and Places, Bisexuality and Bi visibility, Multiple Identities (Disability/ Working Class/ Race/ Motherhood in Lesbian and Bisexual Women’s Lives- and how these intersect)