Empowering Women of all Backgrounds to be Leaders in the Arts
Addressing the gender imbalance in the south west arts and cultural sector
Women Leaders South West (WLSW) chose 16 incredible Associates from over 350 applications for a training opportunity at eight arts organisations in South West England:
- The Point, Hampshire, Diverse City, Dorset
- Pavilion Dance South West, Bournemouth
- Strike a Light, Gloucestershire
- Activate Performing Arts, Dorset
- Kaleider, Devon
- The Arts Development Company, Dorset
- Art Asia Trust Ltd, Southampton
- Southampton Business School at The University of Southampton
The organisations hosted two Associates each over the course of eighteen months, supported by social entrepreneurship and business training from Southampton Business School and mentoring from Jude Kelly and The WOW (Women of the World) Foundation. The programme was funded by Arts Council England’s Transforming Leadership scheme.
Following the Women Leaders South West programme, Activate’s Associates, Ruth and Natasha, have created Grace the Space. The project aims to encourage diverse groups of women to grace outdoor spaces, and explore their creativity through walking and workshops.
The successful candidates came from a variety of backgrounds and live across the South West. Selected for their ambition to make change, to innovate and to inspire, they started working with the eight arts organisations, with a residential of intensive learning in April 2022.
The 16 selected women Associates were:
Adrienne Dove Armstrong, Shenice Ellis, Fee Hudson Francis, Vrushali Harihar, Daisy Higman, Zahra Hoccom, Halima Malek, Anjali Mavi, Vandna Mehta, Natasha Nixon, Ruth Pitter, Rosanne Robertson, Lorna Rose, Romana Syed, Abby Young and Amber Weyman.
Natasha is an international Theatre Director and Practitioner based in Bridport. Her work is cross-disciplinary with previous projects including an experimental dance theatre show exploring trauma, a queer adaptation of Macbeth, circus, new writing and mask projects, as well as a broad range of outreach work including an immersive clown dance show for children with special educational needs and disabilities. Her experience in the theatre industry includes work as a Staff Director at the National Theatre and as an Associate for the National Youth Theatre.
Ruth is based in Bristol and co-founder of Black Women Let Loose Theatre Company, Breathing Fire Black Women’s Playback Theatre Company, and ‘Our Stories Make Waves’ collective for artists of African Diaspora heritage. She has performed, written, produced, taught and directed productions locally, nationally and internationally. Ruth has also worked in the voluntary sector for many years in the field of equality, diversity and inclusion.
Wrapping Up Women Leaders South West
Our WLSW Associates Ruth and Tash take stock of the past year
Women Leaders South West Residency
Ruth Pitter and Natasha Nixon share their thoughts from the inaugural Women Leaders South West residency.