International Women’s Day at Artifax: Creating the Space

Written by our Marketing Assistant, Grace Sansom

March is Women’s History Month, with International Women’s Day being celebrated today. Here at Artifax, we thought there was no better time than to chat to women in the industries we work with and hear their stories. Throughout this wonderful month, we will be posting spotlights on their work. 

Thank you to: 

Sandra Parr and Hilary Browning – Liverpool Philharmonic Hall 

Pam Chowhan – Southbank Centre 

Fiona Goh – British Arts Festivals Association 

From our conversations, it became clear just how driven and passionate these women are about the work of their organisations. This is central to the work at Artifax too. 

In both past and present, women have been shunned and banned from creative outlets. In the UK, we are fortunate enough that International Women’s Day can exist as a day of celebration and remembrance, as we look back on just how far women’s rights movements have come and that things are moving in the right direction. It is important to acknowledge that this is not the case globally and to stand in solidarity.  

At Artifax, we feel so fortunate to work with so many inspiring venues, institutions and organisations that are, in many ways, women led. Breaking into arts management has been known to be an intimidating feat and it’s hard to know how to get a foot in the door. In these conversations, I wanted to learn about different starts in the industry, what a typical working day looks like, and what challenges are being faced currently.  

We discussed how women are not facing the same amount of barriers to work that they have faced in generations before. It is thanks to their determination and passion for art that has created the space for women working now. Whilst this hard work is inspiring, it is because of inequality that women in the arts have had to work so hard to get to this point. This can be through taking mass workloads in underpaid positions and striving to overachieve in your pay grade. This type of work is not massively the norm today, but is still the case for women starting out. 

It was interesting to discuss the current streams of adversity faced in the industry for these women - childcare, positive action, funding and class. Whilst progress has been made in the past thirty years, there are barriers to inclusivity in arts organisations. Let’s use International Women’s Day as a starting point for these conversations. 

These conversations were a great source of inspiration for me, and I hope they will be for you too. The four women are embedded heart, soul and mind into their work and it bled through into my own attitude. The voices and stories of women need to be shared, read and listened to keep our industry turning. Arts management is no longer the industry it once was, there are women running things and they have worked so hard to do so. As a young woman just starting her career, these spotlighted conversations filled me with passion, drive, excitement and hope, which I will carry through Women’s History Month and beyond.  

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