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Southbank Centre announces shortlist for WOW Women in Creative Industries Awards

Southbank Centre today announces the shortlist for its WOW Women in Creative Industries Awards, including Imogen Heap, Lubaina Himid, FKA Twigs, Glenda Jackson, Reni Eddo-Lodge and Rachel Whiteread, nominated by a panel of power-house judges and awarded on Wednesday 7 March.

Women in Creative Industries Awards judges (L-R) Dame Julia Peyton-Jones DBE, Nikesh Shukla, Deborah Williams, Jude Kelly, Sarah Crompton, Jenny Sealey MBE, Martin Green and John McGrath. Not pictured: Amy Lamé, Anne-Marie Curtis and Maria Balshaw CBE.

Set up in 2016 by Jude Kelly CBE, Artistic Director, Southbank Centre, and founder of WOW – Women of the World, the WOW Women in Creative Industries Awards recognise significant achievements made by women in the arts, tech, music, film, games, media, fashion and advertising, and celebrate the women and men progressing equality in the arts and creative industries. They were the first ever cross-sector awards to honour women and genderqueer and non-binary people, who are leading the way in the creative industries.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall, from 12pm on Wednesday 7 March 2018 as part of the Women in Creative Industries Day, the first day of Southbank Centre’s WOW London 2018 festival, supported by Bloomberg.

The impressive panel of judges includes: Tate Director Maria Balshaw CBE; Anne-Marie Curtis, Editor-in-Chief of ELLE Magazine; Martin Green, CEO & Director, Hull City of Culture 2017; Amy Lamé, London’s first Night Czar and co-founder of Duckie; John McGrath, CEO & Artistic Director of Manchester International Festival; Dame Julia Peyton-Jones DBE, Senior Global Director of Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac; Jenny Sealey MBE, CEO & Artistic Director of Graeae; Nikesh Shukla, author, and editor of The Good Immigrant; and Deborah Williams, CEO at Creative Diversity Network. The judging will be convened by Jude Kelly and arts editor, broadcaster and critic, Sarah Crompton.

Previous winners include Dame Julia Peyton‐Jones​ and Director and Playwright Paulette Randall​, both honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award​s, and Bryony Kimmings​, Live Artist, Playwright and Director who received a Bold Moves Award​. This year there are five new categories including the Gender Equality Champion and Inspiring Change awards.

Founder of the Women in Creative Industries Awards and the WOW – Women of the World festival, Southbank Centre Artistic Director, Jude Kelly CBE said: “Last year we heard women’s voices loud and strong. However, we are often still shy about claiming the recognition for ourselves that we deserve. I created these awards to help us reflect not only on the brilliance of female artists and creatives, but also on the risks individual women have taken to push their sectors towards equality. I hope that by holding these incredible people up and celebrating their achievements, we can inspire those who are in the industry both now and in the future to make it a more representative one.”

Judging co-convener, writer and broadcaster Sarah Crompton said: “Drawing up the nominations for the WOW awards has been fascinating and inspiring. There are so many women doing such great things and it is thrilling to celebrate what they are all up to in this way. The only pity is that we can’t nominate every single bold, brilliant and committed woman out there.”

The Women in Creative Industries Day is part of Southbank Centre’s eighth WOW – Women of the World festival, and offers an opportunity for men and women working across the creative industries to discuss how to achieve gender equality in the sector and a chance to celebrate the important improvements that have taken place over the last year. Programmed in partnership with the Creative Industries Federation, the talks include Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director of Royal Court Theatre, on her initiative No Grey Area, which aimed to shine a light on the systemic nature of sexual harassment in the theatre industry; and Tea Uglow, Creative Director of Google’s Creative Lab in Sydney speaking about The Genius Gap: Women and Creative Confidence. Other talks include Intersectionality in the Creative Industries with author Juno Dawson and Understanding and Using Power with Hilary Carty, Director of the Clore Leadership Programme. Rosie Millard OBE, Chair of Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and Deputy CEO of the Creative Industries Federation, Ella d’Amato, Chief Commercial and Partner Officer for notonthehighstreet.com and Otegha Uwagba, author of Little Black Book: A Toolkit for Working Women will be speaking on Womenomics: finance and funding.

Full day tickets, including the award ceremony, are on sale for £25 at southbankcentre.co.uk / 0203 879 9555

For the complete WOW London 2018 programme, visit ​southbankcentre.co.uk/wow

WOW Women in Creative Industries 2018 Awards and Nominees:

Bold Moves Award

These awards celebrate a woman who has taken daring, bold and ambitious actions (either personally or in their work) which have positively impacted creative form and forged new ways of working. Nominees are:

  • Author and journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge for her debut book, Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race, a nuanced and balanced conversation around race, which shifted the discourse towards the voices of people of colour.
  • Maria Oshodi, for founding Extant, Britain’s leading professional performing arts company for visually impaired performers and for her continued innovation in expanding opportunities and possibilities in this field.
  • Theatre director Katie Mitchell, for her boundary-pushing direction and her commitment to putting the voices of women centre-stage and giving them agency and power.
  • Multi award-winning trans author Juno Dawson for her young adult fiction and non-fiction boldly addressing LGBT issues.
  • Linder Sterling, for continually pushing the boundaries of aesthetics and for her radical refusal to compromise her feminist vision, from punk and post-punk to the present day.
  • Glenda Jackson, for deciding that she would only return to the theatre after a 25 year absence if she could play King Lear – and playing the part with such power and passion.

Fighting the Good Fight

This award is in recognition of a woman who has demonstrated great tenacity and on-going commitment to excellence within the creative industries. Nominees are:

  • Novelist Kate Mosse, for her international acclaim and continued work supporting women writers, including co-founding the the annual Women’s Prize for Fiction in 1996.
  • Artist Rachel Whiteread, the first woman to win the annual Turner Prize, for continuing to maintain her place at the forefront of contemporary sculpture, working in a way that astounds and inspires others.
  • Mira Kaushik, Director of Akademi, for her inspiring work nurturing the UK’s South Asian dancers and choreographers whilst building and expanding the audience for classical, contemporary and participatory South Asian dance.
  • Lois Weaver, artist, activist, writer and director, for four decades of commitment to work engaging the widest possible public in feminism and human rights through performance
  • Sarah Frankcom, for her bold work in transforming Manchester Royal Exchange into a globally-recognised centre for excellence, with work by, for and about women at its heart.
  • Gilly Adams, for supporting the next generation of media talent as BBC’s Writer Development Director and for being a founding member of the international network of women in theatre, the Magdalena Project.

Inspiring Change Award

This award recognises women who have been instrumental in effecting positive social change and who have given a platform to important stories and unheard voices through their work. Nominees are:

  • Cilla Baynes, founder of Community Arts North West, for her development of the Exodus Greater Manchester Refugee Arts Programme, one of the most significant arts programmes that is working with refugees.
  • Sharmaine Lovegrove, who set up her own imprint, Dialogue Books, at Hachette, the country’s biggest publisher, to publish marginalised voices traditionally kept out of publishing. Her voyage from literary scout to publishing director of her own imprint is in itself inspiring.
  • Jackie Hagen, a multi-award winning writer and performer, for campaigning to make working class voices heard and for enabling people who have been silenced to find a space to speak.
  • Tamara Rojo, as Artistic Director of English National Ballet she has made commissioning and performing the work of women choreographers part of the company’s work, and part of its on-going excellence.
  • Sabrina Mahfouz, playwright, poet and screenwriter, for her ceaseless commitment to drawing attention to other women’s lives, both through her own work and through editing The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write.
  • Dawn Walton, founder and Artistic Director of Eclipse Theatre Company, the UK’s foremost Black-led national production company which for 20 years has delivered diverse programming in theatres around the country thus becoming a beacon for Black artists and theatre-makers.

Gender Equality Champion Award

This award is for a person who has been instrumental in championing equality for women within the creative industries, and whose actions have contributed to improving gender equality. Nominees are:

  • Phyllida Lloyd and her team at the Donmar theatre for Shakespeare Trilogy, a transatlantic project presenting an all-female cast in three productions set in a women’s prison which exploded once and for all the notion that Shakespeare has to be played by men.
  • Nadine Davis and Tia Simon-Campbell for BBZ (or Babes), an exhibition and club night centering femme identity and eradicating misogyny for queer woman, trans folk and non-binary people of colour
  • Vicky Featherstone for her urgent call to action to the theatre-world in the wake of #MeToo with her initiative No Grey Area, that both shed light on sexual misconduct in the UK theatre industry and suggested a way forward for stopping it.
  • Rachel Long for setting up Octavia, a poetry collective for women of colour, and so giving a group whose voices are rarely heard and who can seem invisible a powerful platform for their creativity.
  • Alice Farnham, one of Britain’s leading female conductors, for her relentless campaign as a co-founder and artistic director of Women Conductors, to encourage women to take up conducting, an area of classical music entirely dominated by men.

Breaking New Ground Award

An award for women who are innovating new technologies and digital projects, or breaking new ground with cutting edge thinking within their fields. Nominees are:

  • Liv Little, for founding Gal-Dem: a magazine (online and in print) and creative collective of women and non-binary people of colour to open up their take on the world to a wider audience.
  • Clare Reddington, Creative Director of Watershed and leader of its Pervasive Media Studio, for the way she has championed the use of digital platforms as a creative, inclusive vibrant force, transforming Bristol’s cultural scene.
  • Musician, producer, dancer and director FKA Twigs, for playing joyfully with genre and form and using social media to counter racism and entrenched attitudes, including her new Instagram magazine, AVANTgarden
  • Imogen Heap, the only music artist to win a Grammy for engineering with her creation of Mi.Mu ‘musical gloves’, which have changed the way people make music.
  • Jude Ower, CEO and Founder of Playmob, which explores the potential for charities to raise money through games and gaming.
  • Roshni Goyate and Leyya Sattar for founding The Other Box – Award winning platform celebrating people of colour and other minorities in the creative industries.

Outstanding Achievement Award 2016-17

This is awarded to the creative powerhouses and bright sparks who have reshaped the arts and inspired peers with visionary work and an outstanding creative contribution in the last year. Nominees are:

  • Artist Lubaina Himid, for the beauty and power of her 2017 exhibition Navigation Charts at Spike Island and for her 2017 Turner Prize-winning exhibition, The Place is Here. Both revealed the way that her consistent commitment to making art for black women has opened up a conversation with a much wider community.
  • Artist Phyllida Barlow, for representing Britain at the Venice Biennale this year with an ambitious large-scale installation in the UK Pavilion. She has also maintained her artistic practice for more than four decades, and exhibited constantly, in tandem with her wide-ranging personal and professional commitments.
  • Alice Birch, feminist playwright, for a remarkable year in which her screenplay for Lady Macbeth, winner of the best screenplay at the British Independent Film Awards 2017, and her play Anatomy of a Suicide at the Royal Court, gave agency and voice to the lives and thoughts of women.
  • Josette Bushell-Mingo, theatre actress and director, for her performance piece Nina – a story about me and Nina Simone, in which she turned a revealing tribute to the pioneering singer into a profound meditation about whether you can use your voice to start a revolution, and the need for resistance.
  • Ambreen Razia, playwright, for her award-winning debut play, Diary of a Hounslow Girl which brought the hidden lives of young Muslim women to a wide audience around the country by telling the story of a 16-year-old growing up in West London with humour and insight.
  • Filmmaker, writer and director Hope Dickson-Leach for her astounding directorial debut The Levelling, a devastating domestic drama which announced her as an original and important creative voice and for which she was awarded the IWC Filmmaker Bursary Award in Association with the BFI.

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