The Clothesline Project

The Clothesline Project at UNH

History of The Clothesline Project

Bearing Witness to Violence Against Women for over 20 years.

The Clothesline Project is a national awareness initiative that was started by a group of women in the 1990s who wanted to give survivors and their friends and family members a voice about their abuse. 

The idea of the Clothesline came from old practices. Years ago, when women were often at home and handling the laundry, going outside to hang up clothes on the clothesline became a social gathering of sorts.  Women in neighboring yards used this time and space to talk to one another about their lives. It was sometimes the only space where women could disclose things that were happening to them to other women.

Survivors and their family and friends are encouraged to design a t-shirt in any way they choose. Some survivors choose to tell their stories on the shirts. Others use pictures and symbols attached to their abuse or their healing. Some offer encouragement and hope to other survivors. 

Since its early beginnings, the Clothesline Project has become a national campaign. Across the country, many crisis centers, college campuses, and other organizations have taken part in bringing awareness around the issues of sexual and relationship violence. 

The Clothesline Project at UNH

In New Hampshire, the Clothesline Project is an annual statewide event put on by the AmeriCorps Victim Assistance Program. The project displays shirts from crisis centers across the state on the statehouse lawn in Concord every April. Following the statehouse display, the shirts are then move to Colby-Sawyer College where all shirts from years prior are displayed. At the latter event, the shirts number into the thousands.

Twice a year, SHARPP hosts the Traveling Clothesline Project. During the month of October (Relationship Abuse Awareness Month) and April (Sexual Assault Awareness Month), the Clothesline is brought to different halls across campus for display. There is also an opportunity for students to make their own t-shirts once or twice during those months (see below). T-shirts displayed at UNH are all made by students, faculty and staff members of years past dating back to 2002.

T-Shirt Making Workshops

All members of the UNH community are invited to attend a t-shirt making workshop. No registration required. SHARPP provides all materials. We will also have a t-shirt display for your viewing at our workshops. Contact us here if you would like to schedule a workshop for your classroom or organization through our request a program page.