Kick Off - a new contemporary art and sports project

A collage based around Kick Off, including a scarf, female footballers and a pie

Kick Off is a social practice artwork, with football, feminism and craft at its core, by artist duo YARA+DAVINA. In July 2020, two National Trust sites will become venues for the beautiful game: Souter Lighthouse and The Leas in South Shields and Osterley Park and House in London.

Kick Off has the community and collectivity at its heart. Through a series of workshops, local women from South Shields and west London (Deaf Women Ealing) will collaborate with artists and craftspeople to compose supporters' chants, design football scarves and create a unique football, to reflect what matters to them. Souter’s own Food & Beverage Manager will even help groups develop regional recipes for half-time pies.

Two friendly football matches will be played at home and away by local teams Boldon Girls FC and Brentford Women’s FC, at Souter on Saturday 11 July and Osterley on Saturday 18 July. Free and open to the public, fans and members of the community can wave their free scarves, join in the chants and eat the pies!

" We’re really hoping as many people as possible will come along to the matches. They’re free events, intended to bring communities together as sports should. Supporters can join in with new chants, wave scarves and try the special Kick Off pies. Women’s football is gaining fans; last year’s world cup proved that when the Lionesses won so many hearts. We want everyone to get behind it at a local vel as well. Not just the women and girls taking part and their families and friends, but the wider public too. "
- Louise Thain, Cultural Programming Officer – Souter Lighthouse & the Leas and Durham Coast

Souter and Kick Off

Souter is based in a community with strong ties to female football. South Shields Ladies FC continues the tradition of a successful women’s football team linked to the town. At the start of the twentieth century, the original team regularly attracted crowds of over 10,000. 

During the First World War (1914-18), women’s football continued its rise in popularity, often drawing larger crowds than most men’s games in today’s Premier League. With male workers away fighting, women stepped into their shoes in the workplace and on the football field. Many factories established their own teams, including R. & W. Hawthorn Leslie and Company Limited, a shipbuilder and locomotive manufacturer based on Tyneside. 

R.W. Hawthorn Leslie and Company Ltd ladies' football team
Black and white image of a ladies football team posing for a formal photo
R.W. Hawthorn Leslie and Company Ltd ladies' football team

The end of the war saw a ban on women's football that wasn’t lifted until 1971.

Osterley and Kick Off

Drawing on its connection to contemporary art, Osterley Park will host a number of women’s football games on the parkland, which the 9th Earl Jersey gave to the National Trust in 1949 under the condition that it would always remain free for the public to enjoy. Earl Jersey was also an avid art collector and organised a series of art exhibitions by living artists and sculptors which were held in the top-floor rooms of Osterley House.

Visitors explore Osterley Park
Visitors stroll across grassy open parkland towards the grand red brick facade of Osterley House
Visitors explore Osterley Park


British arts duo YARA+DAVINA have worked collaboratively creating social engaged art for over 15 years. Their practice puts people at the heart of their work.

Artists Yara and Davina stand outside Souter Lighthouse