Denman Masthead

A rich insight into the Women of Canberra

Laura Peppas

A new exhibition inspired by the phenomenal Humans of New York will delve into the joys, hopes and fears of women who call Canberra home.

‘Women of Canberra,’ to run at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre this month, features the images and stories of 24 women and is part of a community project by the Women’s Centre for Health Matters (WCHM), a not-for-profit organisation which works in the ACT and the surrounding region to improve women’s health and wellbeing.

WCHM Health Promotion Officer Jenni Gough says the project was a way to not only meet a broad range of women, but also give the community a rich insight into how women think about health and wellbeing.

“We thought it would be great for the Centre to do something creative that connected us to a broader group of women than we would typically come into contact with,” she says.

“Our Executive Director Marcia Williams had the idea that we should use it as a way to commemorate the women we serve for the Centre’s 25th birthday on November 21. It was helped along by the generous support—financially and creatively—of the You Are Here Arts Festival.”

Photo by:

Photo by Liz Thompson at ACT Playgroups.

The Centre worked with three emerging photographers for the project: Liz Thompson, Josey Carnovale and Nicole Zimmermann, who volunteered their time. One hundred women were photographed and interviewed this year at different locations around Canberra, with all photos and stories currently featured on the centre’s website and catalogue.

The exhibition is described as “the project through the artists’ eyes,” with each photographer asked to choose a selection of photos that best reflected their work.

“The exhibition will be presented according to the seasons: summer, autumn, winter, spring,” says Jenni.

“We chose to present them this way as we noticed there was beautiful and harmonious movement in the photos and stories as we went through the seasons. In the warmer months you’ll see lots of vibrant colours—greens and reds—and there’ll be lots of talk of walking and picnicking by the lake. As we move into winter there are more greys and women reflect more on the harder parts of life and living.”


Photo by Josey Carnovale at the National Museum of Australia.

Jenni says the exhibition aims to confront existing stereotypes of Canberra women.

“The stories told by policy, statistics and media give the impression that women in Canberra are a homogenous group—highly educated, economically empowered and out-performing their comparators in other states and territories on many indicators,” Jenni says.

“However, we know from our community engagement work that women in Canberra are actually a culturally and socioeconomically diverse group, with struggles and aspirations that aren’t captured by mainstream narratives.”

Jenni hopes ‘Women of Canberra’ will remind people not to judge a book by its cover.  

“The way we present ourselves to the world may or may not convey who we are and what we have experienced,” she says.

“Through this project WCHM has seen that women from all works of life are out and about in our community and they have shared the highs and lows of their life with us. All you have to do is delve in and take a closer look.”


The essentials: 

What: Women of Canberra exhibition

When: 17 November – 5 December

Where: Tuggeranong Arts Centre

How much: Free


Feature image by Liz Thompson at National Multicultural Festival. 


Laura Peppas

Laura Peppas is HerCanberra's senior journalist and communications manager and is the Editor of Unveiled, HerCanberra's wedding magazine. She is enjoying uncovering all that Canberra has to offer, meeting some intriguing locals and working with a pretty awesome bunch of women. Laura has lived in Canberra for most of her life and when she's not writing fervently she enjoys pursuing her passion for travel, reading, online shopping and chai tea. More about the Author

  • Sue Salthouse

    This exhibition is both exciting and challenging on many levels. Showcasing the diversity of the women of Canberra enables ys to.cwlebrate our Multicultural community and to recognise that many of our sisters can grow in strength from tapping into strong community organisations like the WCHM so that we all find a pathway to live decent healthy safe respectful and respected lives for ourselves.and our children. Happy 25 years WCHM. Sue

Thursday Architecture Leaderboard