Today, Wednesday 8 March, we celebrate International Women’s Day by highlighting just some of the women doing incredible things in the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland.
While we’re delighted to be able to take part in International Women’s Day’s aim of celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, we recognise there are significant steps to be taken towards achieving true gender parity both at a global and local level. In our comprehensive review of equalities, diversity and inclusion in Scotland’s Screen Sector, Equality Matters, published at the end of January 2017 we underlined our commitment to tackling underrepresentation in the context of gender as well as other protected characteristics. We’ll be publishing an equivalent review of equalities, diversity and inclusion in the arts in Scotland later this year and look forward to sharing further insights into gender parity and identifying opportunities for change.
We know that there are fantastic networks being created by and for women in the arts, screen and creative industries across Scotland, including the newly created Facebook group ‘Women in the Arts in Scotland’ that has already gained more than 13,000 members. These networks are a vital part of continuing progress towards a truly representative cultural sector.
Here we recognise just some of the female practitioners working across the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland today who are creating bold work and leading change.
Wishing there was an alternative Scottish press that published the kind of books they wanted to see, Laura Jones and Heather McDaid founded 404 Ink in summer 2016. Today they publish their first book Nasty Women, described by the Huffington Post as “the intersectional essay collection feminists need”.
Trained in social work for over 13 years, Karen Anderson’s founded Indepen-dance in 1996 on the principles of access, participation and integration. With a focus on how dance, creative movement and music can encourage individuals with learning disabilities to achieve their full artistic potential and create opportunities for social integration, Karen’s role as Artistic Director is pivotal to the continued success and development of Indepen-dance.
A film production company founded by producers Ciara Barry and Rosie Crerar in 2016, Barry Crerar were the only Scottish recipients of a BFI Vision Award in that same year. They are currently in production on Rachel Maclean’s Scotland + Venice commission as well as developing a slate of transformative stories. As producers, Barry Crerar is committed to working with new and under represented voices.
In November 2015, Beth Bate was named as the Director of Dundee Contemporary Arts. Bringing with her a wealth of experience and ambition, Bate’s programming and leadership has ensured DCA continues to maintain its position as world-class cultural centre and plays a central role in cultural Dundee, across Scotland and further afield.
A writer, performer, poet and teacher based in Edinburgh, Jo Clifford is the author of about 80 plays. In 2016 she performed her play The Gospel According to Jesus Queen of Heaven in Edinburgh, following a controversial reaction to performances in 2009, of which she said: “Prejudice, oppression and injustice are suffered by just about every trans person everywhere in the world and the global struggle against oppression of LGBT people is profoundly connected to the wider struggle for women’s rights throughout the world.”
One of the UK’s most acclaimed and internationally renowned disabled artists, Claire Cunningham’s work is often rooted in the study and use/misuse of her crutches and the exploration of her own specific physicality. Her work, including shows Give Me A Reason to Live; Guide Gods and The Way You Look (at me) Tonight, has received critical praise and toured internationally. In 2016 she was the Artist in Residence with Perth International Arts Festival, Australia and Associate Artist at Glasgow’s Tramway.
Award-winning performance company Curious Seed was formed in 2005 by Scottish choreographer Christine Devaney. Committed to producing and presenting compelling dance theatre work that questions the world we live in, Curious Seed’s work has been presented all across the globe. Devaney’s work at Curious Seed aims to deliver performances that reach across ages and art forms and to bring something unique to the dance landscape of Scotland.
A writer and director whose debut feature The Levelling premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2016. Later in the year at the London Film Festival, Hope was awarded the inaugural IWC Filmmaker Bursary Award in Association with the BFI. She is currently developing several features and is a co-founder of Raising Films - a campaign to make raising the film industry more parent-friendly.
In 1992, Angie Dight set up Mischief La-Bas with Ian Smith having been inspired by European Street theatre and its surrealist tendencies. Mischief La-Bas’ company ethos is one of surprise, humour, and imaginative engagement, viewing the public as their collaborators. Following the death of Ian Smith in 2014 after he took his own life, Angie Dight established the Festival of Ian Smith: A Celebration of Death. The festival investigates why we often find it difficult to talk about death in our society, and how arts and artists can help.
The Co-Director of the Scottish Documentary Institute since its inception in 2004, Sonja Henrici has been integral to the organisation’s development ever since. At SDI she is the co-exec producer of Bridging the Gap, alongside various other roles including investigating new business models and outreach campaigns. She is the producer of many international projects including Donkeyote, which premiered at Rotterdam Film Festival 2017.
Artistic Director and CEO of Stellar Quines since May 2016, Jemima Lecick has won and been nominated for a number of awards and directed more than 18 productions during her time at Dundee Rep Theatre. In January 2017 Stellar Quines and Glasgow Women’s Library launched a Play Amnesty to showcase female playwriting talent.
A graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, Rachel Maclean works across film, print and photography to construct fantasy narratives that play with issues of identity, social values and politics. A mix of high art and popular culture, advanced technology and traditional theatre, humour and serious enquiry, her work is exacting and engaging. Maclean has been selected to represent Scotland at the 57th International Art Exhibition, the Venice Biennale, running from 13 May to 26 November 2017.
One of the founders of Stornoway’s HebCelt, Festival Director Caroline Maclennan wanted to created a great event for the local area which would support local talent within an international programme. Having celebrated its 21st year in 2016, with a festival that attracted nearly 18,000 attendees and generated £2.2 million for the local economy it looks like she’s done exactly. HebCelt 2017 takes place 19-22 July.
Composer, producer and performer Anna Meredith’s debut album Varmints received worldwide critical praise following its release in March 2016, and was named the Scottish album of the Year. In July she lead a residency for young and emerging female musicians at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry. Anna Meredith has been described by Pitchfork as “one of the most innovative minds in modern British music.”
Singer and harpist Rachel Newton specialises in interpreting traditional folk songs in both English and Gaelic as well as writing and arranging her own music. Rachel is a founding member of The Shee and The Furrow Collective . Her third solo album Here's My Heart Come Take It was released in April 2016. At this year’s Celtic Connections Rachel Newton convened a debate on gender inequality in festival programming, Exploring Music and Gender.
Following roles with leading cultural institutions in Scotland, England, Ireland and Australia, Emma Nicolson became the Director of Skye’s ATLAS Arts. Emma’s curatorial interests are in social practice and work that brings people together, art in the public realm and in how approaches to artists practice are changing. In her role as a director, Emma Nicolson is leading ATLAS’ ambition to develop relationships with local business and cultural sectors, and within the community.
Over the course of a 12-year career, Adura Onashile has worked as a dancer and actor for National Theatre of Scotland and the RSC. In 2016 her play Expensive Shit was selected as part of the Made in Scotland showcase and went on to win a Fringe First award. Set across two toilets, one in Glasgow in 2013 and the other in Fela Kuti’s Shrine nightclub in 1994 in Lagos. Exploring themes of societal difference, gender inequality and exploitation, Expensive Shit performs tonight at Macrobert Arts Centre to celebrate International Women’s Day.
In their respective roles as Lifelong Learning and Creative Development Manager and Enterprise Development Manager, Adele Patrick and Sue John both play a vital role in delivering Glasgow Women’s Library’s mission to celebrate the lives and achievements of women and be a catalyst to eradicate the gender gap that contributes to widespread inequalities in Scotland. Explore the history of Glasgow Women’s Library in their interactive timeline.
In August 2016, Caithness’ North Lands Creative Glass announced the appointment of Karen Phillips as its Chief Executive. Following on from her experience as Executive Director of Dublin’s Rua Red Arts Centre Company, Karen was appointed to developed North Lands’ internationally recognised programme of master classes, skills classes, international conferences and symposiums, residences and access courses for the next decade alongside Artistic Director Jeffrey Sarmiento.
Vanilla Ink is Scotland’s unique jewellery studio, aimed at developing new talent by providing a supportive incubator ‘pod’. With a degree in jewellery herself, Kate founded Vanilla Ink in 2009 to help bridge the gap from education into industry and to create a space that allowed collaborations, mistakes and time to reflect.
Sita Pieraccini is a performer, theatre artist and singer/musician based in Scotland, with a background in visual art and music. Works have included solo show, Bird, presented as part of Made In Scotland at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016 and latest piece Make A HOO presented at Manipulate 2017 at Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh to much acclaim.
An award-winning freelance journalist based in Edinburgh, her first book Expecting was published by Saraband in April 2016 and won the Saltire First Book of the Year Award. A refreshingly different take on pregnancy based on the author’s own experience, Expecting garnered widespread critical praise. Ramaswamy is a contributor to 404 Ink’s Nasty Women.
Current Clore Leadership Fellow Jackie Wylie was appointed as the Artistic Director of National Theatre of Scotland in October 2016 and will take up the post in Spring 2017. Earlier in 2017, she led on new celebratory festival of contemporary performance Take Me Somewhere. On her appointment at NTS she commented: "Our national theatre is in a confident position, able to explore future definitions of what theatre can be and who it should be for."
Playwright, actress and musician Morna Young was appointed the 2017 Dr. Gavin Wallace Fellow at the start of this year. Focusing on a theme ever present in her work, ‘The Folk, Language and Landscape of the Northeast, Morna Young will use the opportunity to examine the under-representation of female voices.This article was published on 08 Mar 2017