#PressForProgress Inspiring Women

Imagine it. A room full of leading women in the arts and creative industries, spread out across different tables with the sole purpose of divulging all of their own personal tips and tricks to succeeding in the arts industry as a woman. Too good to be true, right? Wrong. On Thursday 8th March, I was lucky enough to attend a free mentoring session with some of these women at Bristol’s Arnolfini Centre for Contemporary Arts.

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, Arnolfini hosted a #PressForProgress Inspiring Women mentoring afternoon with some of Bristol’s own leading women in the arts and creative industries. The event was devised for women aged 16 to 25, affording them the time and space to talk about their own ambitions, establish new networks and gain advice from women involved in Bristol’s art community. The session lasted 45 minutes with the opportunity to spend 15 minutes with three different mentors along with up to three other event participants. Some of the influential mentors included the Executive Director of Watershed, Director and CEO of In Between Time, Director of RWA, Centre Director of Trinity Arts Centre and an Architectural Choreographer for Hellion Trace.

The Arnolfini centre is an inspiring space in itself and so to speak with Adri Bof (Founder and Director of Social Skills Agency and Neurodiversity Advocate), Lhosa Daly (Deputy Director of Spike Island) and Laura Pye (Head of Culture for Bristol City Council) in such a creative space was all the more special.

Sitting in front of each leading woman, I was struck by the wealth of knowledge and advice they offered me. It was clear that each of them was doing what all of us hope for in our careers – exactly what they love. The path to success, however, was certainly not easy for any of them. Many hours were spent volunteering at local museums, keeping an ear to the ground and waiting for job openings. The women were eager to hear our own creative aspirations and reasons for participating in the event. I told them honestly: I’m a third year English Literature student, I don’t know what to do with my life (typical) and I don’t know where to start! Their unique advice to me was invaluable

  1. When working in the creative industry, don’t be afraid of conflicting ideas. Express those ideas creatively and spark discussion.
  2. Let your passionate attitude and creative sensibility shine through. This is something that employers can’t teach you and what they look for in ideal candidates.
  3. Remember to network, but network with purpose. The best type of networking is working creatively together – connections should always have meaning.

The event was spectacular and a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day. I think it is so important to continue giving girls and women the tools, opportunity and freedom to both express themselves creatively and thrive within the arts industry. When women come together to teach and to learn, the possibilities are endless.


Laura Ferris


Featured image source: https://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/pressforprogress-inspiring-women#986724ac9b59462b8cb76a2ef5b322f1

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