Art as defiance. Music as an untold narrative. Love as an act of belief. The stories in this issue represent the work of mothers and painters, poets and prostitutes, suffragettes and the High Priestess of Soul. It's an issue about complex women, women whose stories have, with irreducible individuality, reinvented tradition, championed diversity and contributed to a difficult but essential legacy. In honour of International Women's Day, here in Scotland we celebrate the stories of women around the world.

In 1885 Sir William Fettes Douglas, President of the Royal Scottish Academy, declared that the work of a woman artist was ‘like a man’s only weaker and poorer’. Yet between 1885, when Fra Newbery was appointed Director of Glasgow School of Art and did much in terms of gender equality amongst his staff and students, and 1965, when Anne Redpath, the doyenne of post-Second World War Scottish painting died, an unprecedented number of Scottish women trained and worked as artists. This book focuses on forty-five Scottish female painters and sculptors and explores the conditions that they negotiated as students and practitioners due to their gender.

Extract from Modern Scottish Women: Painters & Sculptors 1885-1965 Edited by Alice Strang Published by National Galleries of Scotland

PAT DOUTHWAITE 1934–2002 Born Glasgow 1934; died Dundee 2002

Pat Douthwaite was born in Glasgow in 1934, although throughout her life she gave 1939 as her birth year. Douthwaite was brought up in Paisley and began taking dance classes with Margaret Morris in 1947 where she met the artist J.D. Fergusson, Morris’s partner. Douthwaite initially pursued dance but by the end of the 1950s she decided to become a painter. Fergusson encouraged her in this but dissuaded her from formal training, declaring ‘Go to art school? If you go to art school, you’ll never be an artist – you are an artist.’

Leaving Scotland in 1958, Douthwaite spent time in Essex, Suffolk and London’s Soho, mixing in wide, bohemian circles which include...


Inspired by the Oscar-nominated Netflix documentary, this is the story of the real Miss Simone. What Happened, Miss Simone? tells the story of incandescent soul singer and Black Power icon Nina Simone, one of the most influential, provocative, and least-understood artists of our time. Drawn from a trove of rare archival footage, audio recordings and interviews (including Simone’s remarkable private diaries), this nuanced examination of Nina Simone’s life highlights her musical inventiveness and unwavering quest for equality, while laying bare the personal demons that plagued her from the time of her Jim Crow childhood in North Carolina to her self-imposed exile in Liberia and Paris.

Extract from What Happened, Miss Simone? By Alan Light Pu...


Mongol [mong-gohl], noun, 1. a member of a pastoral people now living chiefly in Mongolia. 2. (offensive) a person affected with Down’s Syndrome. Uuganaa is a Mongol living in Britain, far from the world she grew up in: as a nomadic herder she lived in a yurt, eating marmot meat, distilling vodka from goat’s yoghurt and learning about Comrade Lenin. When her new-born son Billy is diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome, she finds herself facing bigotry and taboo as well as heartbreak. In this powerful memoir, Uuganaa skilfully interweaves the extraordinary story of her own childhood in Mongolia with the sadly short life of Billy, who becomes a symbol of union and disunion, cultures and complexity, stigma and superstition – and inspires Uuganaa to challenge prejudice.

Extract from Mongol By Uuganaa Ramsay...



The Mauricewood Devils click

The Mauricewood Devils

‘We didn’t dare sing them in Sunday School’


Phoebe Anna Traquair click

Phoebe Anna Traquair

‘Dexterity in a Difficult Subject’


Where the River Parts click

Where the River Parts

‘With a bit of luck, she would be happy’


Maraiche nan Cuantan click

Maraiche nan Cuantan

‘And she spread the story’


The Scottish Suffragettes click

The Scottish Suffragettes

‘Shock, anger…and publicity’


The Saviour of Lasnamäe click

The Saviour of Lasnamäe

‘It didn’t matter if she broke her fingers’


Fishnet click


‘All that tawdry sort of carnage’