Empowering women from all backgrounds to be leaders in the Arts

Inaugural women leaders set to inspire

The first group of trailblazing women have been selected for a pioneering arts leadership programme. Women Leaders South West (WLSW), which aims to address the gender imbalance in the arts and cultural sector, has chosen 16 incredible Associates from over 350 applications for a training opportunity at eight arts organisations in South West England: The Point, Activate Performing Arts, Art Asia, Diverse City, Kaleider, Pavilion Dance South West, Strike a Light and The Arts Development Company.
The organisations will host two Associates each over the next 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 is funded by Arts Council England’s Transforming Leadership scheme.

The two Associates who will be working with Art Asia are Anjali Mavi and Romana Syed.

Anjali is an active member in the cultural landscape of Southampton and Eastleigh. She is a voluntary radio presenter with Southampton’s Unity 101 and Hot Radio Dorset. She is also the co-founder member of three cultural organisations in the South West region Eastleigh & Southampton Asian community (ESAC) Bournemouth Poole & Christchurch (BPC) Asian Community Music Lovers of Bollywood (MLB) As an active member of these organisations her aim is ensure that art and culture thrive in all communities and that they are accessible to all.

Romana Syed is based in Southampton and is the founder of Women’s Integration Group in Southampton.The aim of the group is to reduce isolation of women in the community and help them to engage in activities with their young children through various arts and crafts activities. She is deeply passionate about community engagement and aims to make significant changes for all by using creativity as a tool. She has worked with various arts organisation in Southampton like the John Hansard Gallery, Southampton Solent University Showcase Gallery and the NST Theatre.

Maricka Oglesby, Director of the Women’s Leadership Institute of Baltimore at Notre Dame of Maryland University, an Advisor for the programme, said: “Women Leaders South West is doing very intentional work to bring thoughtful leaders to the arts. It is a great privilege to interact with the applicants and the organisations who will undoubtedly have an incredible impact going forward.”

Jude Kelly CBE, Founder and Director of The WOW Foundation, said: “This is an impressive, ambitious and ethically driven project that understands the need for home grown talent to develop commitment and loyalty to place. The South West region dreams big and The WOW Foundation is excited to be bringing the international dimension to the table.”

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “We are proud to have invested £585,284 in Women Leaders South West, a consortium of eight successful female-led cultural organisations from all corners of the south west, through our National Lottery funded Transforming Leadership programme. This fund was set up to ensure leaders in the sector are appropriately skilled and represent a range of backgrounds, and Women Leaders South West helps to create fairness and career development opportunities. We welcome today’s news and send our congratulations to the sixteen new women associates selected, we wish them well in this opportunity and look forward to watching the next generation of female leaders in the south west develop.


For More Information About the Programme:

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Please see the attached press release for further information

WLSW_Press_Pack_Release Art Asia