In the Observer yesterday, Vanessa Thorpe highlighted the apparent sexism in the arts, stating that is it “the norm” in the UK for men to fill the top positions in artistic and cultural institutions. The original article cites a few influential and inspirational women, including Director of the British Film Institute, Amanda Neville, and Random House’s Chief Executive Gail Rebuck, but we wanted to share a few of our female inspirations, and ask you to tell us yours!
Jude Kelly – Artistic Director, Southbank Centre
Jude Kelly is one of the few women in a top position in her field, and encourages and advises other women to get involved and persevere in arts through initiatives such as the Women of the World Festival, She also strives, and succeeds, in introducing and welcoming new audiences to experience classical music through extensive series events, whilst keeping the regular crowds interested and pleasantly surprised.
Sarah Derbyshire – Managing Director, National Children’s Orchestra
Sarah, who has previously spearheaded projects like Live Music Now, is kind, funny, creative and ambitious, all at the same time. Liked and admired by colleagues and industry, she is a real inspiration to other women.
Margaret Atwood – Poet, Novellist, Literary Critic, Essayist and Environmental Activist
Margaret Atwood writes with an amazingly wide perspective, which resists the traditional view of women. She is also an exquisite satirist and wit.
Maria João Pires – Pianist
Maria has a phenomenal talent and her performances are always timeless. Not only was she performing Mozart publicly at the age of 7, but she is still in demand for performances and recordings sixty years later. Off the concert stage, Maria’s focus on charity is worth celebrating – she runs outreach programmes around the world.
Clara Schumann – Pianist and Composer
Clara Schumann is perhaps an obvious choice for an iconic, influential women in music, but her work – which spanned more than six decades – changed the public’s tastes and appreciation of music. She was also one of the first pianists to perform from memory, something which her reviewers noted as being particularly extraordinary!
Doon Mackichan – Comedienne and Actor
Doon Mackichan is a brilliant comic performer and writer. She is darkly witty and has worked on some of the most popular comedy of recent times, which are often male-dominated: Alan Partridge, The Day Today, Nathan Barley and Brass Eye, as well as one third of the triumvirate performing in the female sketch show Smack the Pony.
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa – Opera Singer and Mentor
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is an inspiration and highly successful musician, who in 2004 founded the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation and is committed to mentoring young singers through mentoring, financial aid and advice.