Photos: The exhibition Inspire, The Women’s Portrait presented at Venture North for the Spark Photo Festival in Peterborough


Project Inspire: The Women’s Portrait exhibit titled #sheINSPIRESme opened Friday at the Venture North Building on George and King Streets in downtown Peterborough as part of the month-long Spark Photo Festival.

The exhibition features 49 images of inspiring women from around the world, including Germany, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. QR codes are attached to each portrait so visitors can read the inspiring story that accompanies each photo.

The exhibition will remain on view until June 25.

The #sheINSPIRESme exhibition was launched on International Women’s Day 2021 and allowed women around the world to be celebrated as part of the special photo essay project.

“The world was and still is a very dark place and Inspire has always been a source of positive energy. My dream was to take Inspire around the world and the #sheINSPIRESme campaign made that happen,” said Heather Doughty, founder of Inspire and local photographer.

“COVID regulations put the traditional in-person photo nomination process on hold, but I didn’t want to see Inspire go away. I thought of the photos of inspirational women lurking on my phone and laptop and I was sure I wasn’t the only one. I was wondering if there was a way to reach Canadians through social media and ask them to submit their photos. I wanted to put the camera back on and see what was going on.

“The response was greater than I or the Inspire board could have imagined. We had hoped to reach all of Canada; instead, we received applications from all over the world.

After nominations for the exhibit opened, a posthumous nomination was received for Jessica Dalliday, the founder of Pilates on Demand, who died last year at the age of 32.

“When I read Jessica Dalliday’s nomination, I cried,” Doughty said.

“Jessica was nominated for INSPIRE via the original format, but busy schedules and then the onset of COVID had prompted a pause in her nomination; so, receiving a nomination for her for the #sheINSPIRESme campaign filled my heart. Her nomination came from a group of other women who loved her and were inspired by her; she touched everyone she met in a positive and uplifting way. I realized that Jessica Dalliday embodied all the attributes of what it means to be inspirational, so I reached out to Jessica’s husband, Mike, to ask if INSPIRE’s #sheINSPIRESme campaign could be run in her memory. I was so honored when he said yes. “

The opening of the exhibition coincides with the launch of the 2022 nomination period. People can visit the Inspire: The Women’s Portrait Project website at to submit a photo and nomination of a girl, woman or non-binary person who inspires them.

The ongoing photo essay project Inspire: The Women’s Portrait Project was created in 2018 by Doughty. To date, the project has shared the photo and story of over 400 women.

The #sheINSPRESme campaign is one of many projects led by Inspire. Other campaigns include Day of The Girl, a photo essay project that shares the photo and stories of young women and non-binary people under the age of 19.

— Examination staff


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