Celebrating Women in the Creative Industries celebration at Futureworks
On the morning of the 8th March we welcomed two lively groups of students from two local High Schools into our Student Lounge for some refreshments. After a great introduction from Anna Whitehead, Programme Leader for our School of Art & Design, our Women in the Creative Industries event was underway!
We had a number of fantastic professional guest speakers and panels lined up. This allowed our visitors to speak to experts and ask them questions about working in the creative industry.
The students were first treated to an amazing presentation from lovely guest speaker Louise Andrew. Louise is the Head of Art at D3t Ltd who are an award-winning video game development studio. They’re credited on titles such as Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Alan Wake Remastered and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, to name just a few. Louise’s talk was so insightful and interesting. She went into detail about her role at D3t, and provided great advice about stepping into the dream creative career.
The pupils were afforded a real chance to get stuck in and experience a taste of what they might be doing day-to-day in the creative sector. We arranged some exciting workshops with specialists in fields like Games Design, Animation & Illustration, and Sound Design.
We also wanted them to be able to get to grips with professional equipment and practices to get an idea of what’s involved in each discipline.
The two schools took turns participating in the workshops that we had arranged: Character Design, a Mini Game Jam, and a Sound Design workshop.
They were able to have hands-on experience engaging with Futureworks staff and students. The sessions were really fun and energetic, and the students themselves played a massive part in that.
Both groups were genuinely enthusiastic and engrossed. They chatted together and with our tutors and students whilst designing characters, working on games and designing sounds for a short horror scene in our Foley studio. They weren’t afraid to ask questions, which contributed to a very entertaining, relaxed and inclusive experience.
Kirsten McDowell is one of our brilliant Games Design graduates. She returned to Futureworks to take part in inspiring and offering advice to young aspiring creatives.
She spoke about her current career at CG HERO, where she works as Hero Success Assistant, managing and recruiting artists. We were taken through her school and university life, with Kirsten talking us through the journey she took to arrive where she is now. She gave some tips on overcoming specific challenges that the students might face when embarking upon a creative career path.
It was a very useful and inspiring presentation. The pupils were very immersed in animated discussion with Kirsten, and asked plenty of questions. It was great to see them so engaged and interested.
Women are considerably under-represented in the creative industries. 70% of people working in the games industry are male, compared to 28% female and 2% non-binary workers. Approximately 90% of music students are currently white males. Across the creative sector as a whole, the same is reflected. Women currently make up just 36% of the total workforce.
This under-representation results in the creative landscape becoming dominated by men. Male artists, male musicians, male authors, male directors. Thus, young women don’t have many role models. They don’t feel represented in the creative industries, can’t see a place for them within it – so the pattern repeats itself time and time again.
At Futureworks, we feel it’s vital that we play our part in making creative higher education and careers as accessible to female students as possible. We hoped this event would help female students to envision a place for themselves in the creative industries. Additionally, we wanted to show them the wide variety of roles and professions involved in creative projects. Our goal was to show them that Higher Education is a viable gateway to the career that they dream of.
Where possible the event was staffed by female students and staff. This was done so our visitors could feel ownership of the space. We wanted to provide an inclusive space to meet female role models and picture themselves studying and working in these exciting and rewarding fields.
We got some wonderful feedback after the event. A teacher from one of the visiting schools said:
“All my students really enjoyed themselves. They were all buzzing on the way back. One student in particular didn’t know what she wanted to do, but now knows that she wants to be involved in Sound Design after the experience in the Foley studio. Three of the girl’s parents have also spoken to me about the event to say how much their daughters loved it.”
We are so happy and proud to have had such a positive effect on the students. That they felt inspired and motivated to pursue a creative career because of the Women in the Creative Industries event is fantastic. We can’t wait to see them progress.
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