REID GALLERY, GLASGOW – OBSERVING WOMEN AT WORK: FRANKI RAFFLES

Reid Gallery, The Glasgow School of Art, 4 March-27 April 2017  An exhibition of work by the feminist social documentary photographer

Franki Raffles (1955-94) was a feminist social documentary photographer. This exhibition Observing Women at Work presents a selection of photographs and material by Franki Raffles [1955-94] from three bodies of work, namely ‘Women Workers in the USSR’ (1984/1989)’, ‘To Let You Understand’ (1987-88) and material from  the first ‘Zero Tolerance’ campaign (1992), entitled  ‘Prevalence’.  Zero Tolerance was a charity established by Franki Raffles and Evelyn Gillan, together with a small group of women who came together through working on Edinburgh District Council Women’s Committee projects in the late 1980s. Zero Tolerance was developed as a groundbreaking campaign to raise awareness of the issue of men’s violence against women and children. Raffles’ work will also be contextualised in this exhibition with works of key photographers including Margaret Fay Shaw [1903-2004], Helen Muspratt [1907-2001] and The Hackney Flashers Collective.  This feminist and socialist collective was set up in 1974 and included members Sally Greenhill, Elizabeth Heron, Michael Ann Mullen, Maggie Murray, Christine Roche, Julia Vellacott, Jo Spence and Ann Dekker.

Franki Raffles was born in Salford and studied at University of St Andrews. Following graduation she moved to Lewis, then to Edinburgh. She documented the lives of women and their work during travels with her family in the 1980s across Russia, China, Tibet, Nepal, India, Hong Kong and the Philippines. In 1992-93 she secured a Wingate Trust Scholarship to travel to Israel. In Edinburgh she also worked as a freelance photographer with schools and women’s groups. She exhibited in Stills Gallery, Edinburgh; Mercury Gallery, London; The Corridor Gallery, Fife; Pearce Institute, Glasgow; and First of May Gallery, Edinburgh.

Women Workers, Russia, Franki Raffles. All images courtesy Franki Raffles estate