A SPOTLIGHT is being shone on famous and underappreciated women of the North-East of Scotland – including through a new “Quinepedia” website.

As part of the recently launched 2022 Being Human Festival, a team from Robert Gordon University’s School of Creative and Cultural Business is hosting a range of “educational and inspiring” events.

Story-teller Jackie Ross will tell tales of the region’s women aimed at five to 12-year-olds at 11am on Saturday in Central Library.

From 2pm, the library will host a cast working with award-winning playwright Alan Bissett for a table reading of his new play A Monstrous Regiment of Women, the story of Caroline Phillips, Aberdonian journalist and suffragette, and how the women of Aberdeen joined in the demand for “Votes for Women!”.

The following Saturday, from 10am, Cowdray Hall will be the site for a “Bring Your Own Heritage” event, encouraging people to share their stories, documents and pictures relating to women in North East Scotland.

This will precede a husting at 2pm which will coincide with the launch of Quinepedia.

This final event will also include a launch of a “Soundscape of North East Women’s Voices” – a collation of female voices talking about women from the area who inspire them.

Quinepedia has been triggered by the lack of memorials to any women other than Queen Victoria in Aberdeen.

The aim of Quinepedia is to contribute to the debate around the topic, and to welcome public engagement and wider questions around the commemoration of women.

Professor Sarah Pederson, who is leading the project at Robert Gordon University (RGU), said: “Quinepedia is an exciting new crowd-sourced collection that aims to celebrate women of North-East Scotland.

“I am very much looking forward to all the events scheduled for this month and debating the question of who deserves civic commemoration in Aberdeen and the shire.”

One of the featured biographers on the website is Jessie Anne Anderson. She was born on Christmas Eve 1861 in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, as one of 11 children.

At just 10 years of age, she slipped and fell on ice on her way to school, leaving her paralysed from the waist down and changing the trajectory of her life forever.

Jessie was then taught at home by her mother, as she was unable to attend school, and began writing poetry which was at first published in local newspapers in, and then national magazines such as the Sunday Magazine, The Queen, and Woman’s Magazine.

Her poetry covered a wide range of themes from standard verse on nature, the seasons, the First World War, mysticism and Scottish nationalism. Jessie then co-founded Aurora magazine in 1903, which was for people with disabilities and was contributed to by people with disabilities. Aurora is deemed as “very likely” to be one of the earliest representations of a magazine created by a non-able-bodied writer in 20th-century literature.

Another featured woman on Quinepedia is Fenella Paton, an Aberdonian philanthropist and pioneer of women’s rights and birth control.

Fenella took particular interest in St Katherine’s Community Centre, which helped girls from working-class backgrounds by organising social and educational activities, and she served as its president for 12 years.

However, the health sphere is where Paton’s legacy lies, having founded the District Nursing Association for the parish of Old Machar, and she was a director of both the Maternity Hospital and of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

In 1926 she opened the first birth control clinic in Aberdeen – The Aberdeen Women’s Welfare Centre – which was funded by Fenella and her mother.

Highlighting the importance of Quinepedia, Professor Pederson said: “The impetus for Quinepedia came from the recognition that there is very little civic commemoration of women in Aberdeen or the shire.

“There are lots of statues of men, but a very limited amount of commemoration of women-mostly statues of Queen Victoria.

“This means there is little public acknowledgment of the contribution of women to the culture, heritage and history of North-East Scotland.

“Quinepedia is therefore an attempt to recognise this contribution in the form of a digital biographical dictionary – quine of course being Doric for woman.”

Funding from the Being Human Festival and RGU has kickstarted the development of Quinepedia and will also allow the team to put on a series of events mid- November, during the festival dates, raising awareness of women’s contributions to the North- East of Scotland.

The festival will take place between November 10 to 19. Tickets for this Saturday’s events are free and can be reserved via the Aberdeen City Library website.