Pupils in Warwick create 'inspirational' gallery of women who have made a difference

The project celebrates scientists and writers, poets and lawyers, actors, activists and athletes

Official opening of the changemaker gallery, with the Head Girl teams of King’s High and Warwick Preparatory School and (behind left to right) Hellen Dodsworth, Head of Warwick Prep School; Lady Willoughby de Broke, the High Sheriff of Warwickshire; Richard Nicholson, Principal of the Warwick Independent Schools Foundation and Dr Stephen Burley, Head Master of King’s High. Photo supplied

Pupils at a school in Warwick have created a project to celebrate women who make a difference.

'The changemaker gallery' is a collection of photographic portraits, that was officially opened at King's High by the High Sheriff of Warwickshire, Lady Willoughby de Broke.

The High Sheriff described the gallery as ‘inspirational’. She added: "The choices span the centuries, but it is so good to see the girls include women who are still alive – they are such positive acts to follow."

Pupils examine the mirror in the new changemaker gallery at King’s High. Photo supplied

The changemaker gallery celebrates scientists and writers, poets and lawyers, actors, activists, and athletes.

The portraits run across the centuries, from Jane Austen to Tarana Burke, founder of the MeToo movement.

Pioneering aviator, Amelia Earhart and athletes Jessica Ennis-Hill and Ellie Symonds also feature, alongside Maya Angelou, Rosalind Franklin, American Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Amanda Gorman, who delivered her poem The Hill We Climb at the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

Some of the changemakers are well-known – Greta Thunberg, Mary Seacole, Malala Yousafzai – but other are less well known, such as Li Tingting, a young Chinese campaigner and activist for gender equality, who led a protest to draw attention to domestic violence in China.

High Sheriff of Warwickshire, Lady Willoughby de Broke, unveils the changemaker gallery. Photo supplied

Other could also be surprising, such as the 1930s Hollywood film star Hedy Lamarr, who pioneered technology that became vital in security for cellular phones.

Headmaster, Dr Stephen Burley said: "A changemaker is someone who takes action to inspire and lead positive change in their community, or in society at large, and at King’s High we pride ourselves on being a community of changemakers who are committed to creating a better world.

"Changemaking is a core value for us."

Pupils and staff together launched the ‘Big Changemaker Conversation’ to encourage a whole-school debate about public figures, past and present, who have successfully forged significant and lasting change in the world.

After much lively debate, the list was whittled down to 19 women.

At the students’ suggestion, the 20th space is a mirror to allow them to stand in the gallery within the context of a powerful and inspirational network of global changemakers.

King’s High’s Head Girl team - Pirasha Ramesh, Jemma Zimmermann and Jenny Nwosu - said: "The changemaker gallery is a place where we hope everyone can look up to and see someone who inspires them, someone who shares the same values as them, or even simply someone who looks like them.

"This gallery is extremely important as it shows pupils that anything is possible, and it only takes one person to make a great change.

"We hope that people will take a look in the mirror and see themselves as a future changemaker."