News & Achievements

First Women founder helps celebrate 138 years of putting ‘girls first’ at Cornwall’s top school

Truro High School for Girls celebrated nearly a century and a half of putting ‘girls first’ as it welcomed award-winning photographer and founder of the First Women Project, Anita Corbin, as guest of honour at the school’s annual Founder's Day service in Truro Cathedral.

First Women comprises a unique collection of 100 portraits capturing women in the UK who were “first” in their field of achievement.

Anita inspired the school community with a fascinating insight into this ground-breaking project which is set to be unveiled this year to mark the centenary of women’s suffrage.

She said: “I gave these trailblazers and pioneers the opportunity to have a carte blanche of how they wanted to be remembered as 100 women and 100 firsts. It was a journey which took me from one extreme to another – one day I would be photographing the first female bishop and the next the first woman snooker referee at the world championships. Extraordinary women are everywhere and the project is a real celebration of what we have achieved, how far we have come and how much further there still is to go.”

‘First Women UK’ will be exhibiting the full 100 portraits in an immersive exhibition at the Dyson Gallery, Royal College of Art in London from 20 July to the 22 August 2018. Entry is free.

The exhibition includes portraits from celebrities such as Suzi Quatro, Angela Rippon, Jenny Éclair and Victoria Coren-Mitchell, well-known leaders such as Nicola Sturgeon and Dame Inga Beale and high profile sports stars such as explorer Felicity Aston and Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams. Ages range from 18 to 102 years and fields of expertise from beatboxing to bomb detection.

The National Portrait Gallery has purchased eight of the portraits for the nation’s archive and a book of the entire First Women UK collection launches later in 2018.

The School’s pupils also marked themselves out as the next generation of inspiring women with a showcase of their own talents during the service.

Year 8 Nia welcomed guests to the ceremony with an impressive display on the harp – the latest addition to music lessons at the School. Performances also included the School’s Prep and Chamber choirs as well as its String Ensemble, which counts players from Prep 6 – Year 11 amongst its ranks.

Headmaster Dr Glenn Moodie said: “When the School was founded in 1880, Bishop Benson had a vision to provide a place where girls would be put first in everything that they did and, 138 years later, that ethos is more important than ever. The First Women Project is a wonderful celebration of the leaps made in gender equality over the last century and a reminder to us all of just how many more firsts there still are to make. It is an exciting time for the next generation of female ambassadors and I wouldn’t be surprised if more than a few of our pupils find themselves standing in front of Anita’s camera as they make their mark on history too.”  

One of the most important dates in the school diary, Founder’s Day is marked every year with a special service in Truro Cathedral including music, readings, prayers and speeches. This year marks the 138th anniversary of the school’s founding.

Published by: Grace Kennard

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