Events

AWUK Scotland Papercraft Event – Interview with Lucy Teire

AWUK Scotland Papercraft Event – Interview with Lucy Teire

Earlier this summer, nestled in Club House Animation, the cozy Glasgow studio of award-winning animation filmmaker and paper artist extraordinaire Eleanor Stewart, AWUK members and animation enthusiasts alike gathered to create charming paper treats and talk about the creation of hand-made paper art, the animation industry, and all things desserts.

I spoke with Lucy Teire, Head of Production at Interference Pattern, who organised Papercraft, and asked her the hard questions; gaining insight into the event, Eleanor Stewart’s paper-crafting techniques, AWUK Scotland, and of course, discovered what Lucy’s favourite sweet was (fair warning: it might cause some controversy).

Interview has been edited for clarity.

What inspired you to host an event like Papercraft?

At AWUK Scotland we’re keen to put on a wide variety of events; some geared towards networking, some educational, some social. This one was all about spending an evening doing something creative with like-minded people and also learning a bit more about Eleanor’s work and her approach to her craft.

How are you hoping events like these will help grow AWUK's presence in Scotland?

The aim of AWUK is really to facilitate and support women reaching their potential in the industry. Scotland’s animation industry is going from strength to strength at the moment so it feels like the right time to have set up a Scottish chapter of AWUK. We’ve had great turnouts for our events so far and it’s already proving to be a really valuable networking opportunity for animated women north of the border.

Can you tell us more about Eleanor Stewart and why she was chosen as the special guest for Papercraft?

Eleanor is an absolutely fantastic paper artist and animator; she was generous enough to share her experiences and skills for an evening. She hosted us in her beautiful Glasgow studio space at Clubhouse Animations, which is full of her paper creations, and talked us through the techniques she uses, her journey in illustration and animation, and setting up her own studio.

How was Eleanor able to contribute to the event and to AWUK's overarching goals?

Eleanor was an inspirational workshop leader. It was great to hear more about the different techniques she uses and see the work she does close-up. Some of the attendees had a specific interest in working in paper art and stop motion. Eleanor was a real inspiration to them and generously agreed to give advice on their own projects in the future.

How did the event go? Did you get a good turnout? Did women make some fantastically delicious treats?

We had a great turnout. The numbers were limited as it was a workshop, so it sold out really quickly, which was great, but a shame for people who missed out on tickets. We might have to twist Eleanor’s arm to do another one in the future. I was in awe with what people created in just a couple of hours. My own effort was unfortunately a bit lopsided and gluey, but I did get a “wow, it really looks like an ice-cream” from my family when I got home.

What was your favourite thing about the event?

I had three favourite things:

1) Firstly, people made loads of connections. It wasn’t explicitly a networking event at all, but a lot of chats were about how people might work together or help one another in future and loads of business cards were swapped at the end of the evening.

2) Being in Eleanor’s studio was lovely. Her work is really beautiful, and it was quite magical to step off a busy Glasgow street into this little oasis with paper hot air balloons hanging from the ceiling, and paper tunnocks and teacakes resting on shelves.

3) The fact everyone got the giggles every time the word flaps was mentioned.

What was the main thing you hoped individuals who attended achieved during the event?

Primarily I hope everyone had a really enjoyable evening doing something creative with like-minded people. We run all sorts of different events as part of AWUK Scotland. Some are geared towards networking, some are about career development, but this one was really an opportunity to do something fun and creative together and I hope people enjoyed that.

Will there be any similar upcoming events members in Scotland can attend? Any special, sneak peeks, that you can tell us regarding AWUK Scotland?

We’ve got loads going on! There’s an AWUK panel at the World of Film International Festival on 5th October. We’re also putting on another workshop on 7th October but this time for 3D character creation that’s at Axis Studios in Glasgow; it’s being led by three of their brilliantly talented character artists. We even have an event in the offing aimed at final year students to give them advice on entering the industry and then, of course, there’s the Christmas party!

How do you see AWUK growing in the future?

One of the greatest strengths of AWUK is the way it brings greater visibility to women working in a whole range of roles in the industry. I can see AWUK having more and more visibility, both through its own activities and through its presence at other industry events. And I can see this inspiring more and more women in their careers as they see other women already excelling in creative, technical and leadership roles. Just by being out there and visible we help normalise the idea we have an equal place in every part of this industry.

And of course, the most important question, what's your favourite dessert? 

Crème brûlée is my all time favourite dessert… and I don’t like ice cream!

If you’d like to find out more about Eleanor Stewart and her work at Club House Animation, check out her official studio website Club House Animations

In addition, if you’re interested in attending any of the upcoming AWUK Scotland events, several workshops and panels already have tickets available:

AWUK Panel Discussion - 5th October

Character Creation Workshop - 7th October

 

Words by Nia Alavezos

Posted by Peri Friend in Events, News, Scotland, 0 comments
Inspiring insights at the latest Animated Women UK networking event

Inspiring insights at the latest Animated Women UK networking event

Last week’s networking drinks and event on Wednesday 5th September was a bit different from the usual, as we put the spotlight on our unique Helen North Achieve programme and we were thrilled to see The Comedy Pub jampacked with members and attendees!

Named in honour of Helen North, who was Career Development Director at Animated Women UK and the driving force behind the programme, Achieve is an intensive introduction to career management for women across VFX and animation.

Now in its third year, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to find out what exactly we’ve achieved in that time.

Starting with a panel, VFX Chair Louise Hussey discussed the merits of the Programme with four of our 72 alumni. The panel, which included Evelyn Minango, Editorial Co-ordinator at Union; Isobel Stenhouse, Freelance and Production Manager at The Line Animation Studio; Micaela Winter, Production Manager at Blue Zoo; and Anne Akande, VFX Producer at DnegTV, also discussed the impact Achieve has had on their careers and personal lives

First off, Louise asked why the panel chose to apply and what they hoped to get out of it. There were a range of answers, ranging from confidence building to group therapy and networking with other women outside of their own companies.

The panel also discussed how they improved their time management, confidence, controlling their emotions as well as mastering more physical techniques like power posing.

It was incredibly inspiring to have so many of our members and guests attend the ‘Three Years On: What have we achieved?’ networking event this week,” says Louise Hussey, VFX Chair of Animated Women UK. “The panel of Evelyn, Isobel, Michaela and Anne spoke very honestly about their experiences in the industry, the challenges they have faced and some of the tools that the programme gave them develop their career paths.”

“We are very proud of our flagship programme, originally designed by Helen North, to encourage women in all roles, and at all stages of the careers, to really focus on what they want to ‘Achieve’.

“Many of our participants have told us how much they value the opportunity to step back from the day to day and have some space to think. One of this year’s alumni fed back to say that the programme was ‘Life changing. I finally feel like I am back in the driving seat’. So watch this space for more updates and announcements on the Achieve programme’s next offerings!”

Stay tuned for more info on special evening workshops based on the programme’s modules coming soon, later this year and in early 2020.

Written by Carrie Mok.

Posted by Peri Friend in Campaigns, Events, 0 comments
Why Everyone in the South West (And Beyond) Should Attend Cardiff Animation Nights

Why Everyone in the South West (And Beyond) Should Attend Cardiff Animation Nights

This month was my first time at Cardiff Animation Nights. Having just relocated to Cardiff from Los Angeles, I’ve always heard nothing but amazing things about the free bi-monthly event from my UK cohorts, so I couldn’t miss this opportunity to finally check it out.

The screenings the night I attended were held in the back of Kong’s Cardiff in the city centre. With the help of strategically placed signs at the bars initial entrance, I navigated through a maze of dimly lit back hallways and swinging doors, until I reached a massive hidden room full of buzzing animation enthusiasts of all ages. It was as if I left Cardiff behind and instantly stepped into the colourful world of animation like Charlie stepping through the doors of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for the first time.

I didn’t have to worry about stumbling back to Kong’s for a drink or two during the night either, as the room had it’s own bar where I could grab a pint and speak with co-workers or other individuals I met who came to enjoy the shorts. Screens and rows of benches were set up on opposite ends of the room, to ensure no one missed a second of stellar animation. If you couldn’t manage to find a seat, like me, there was still plenty of room to either stand or sit on the floor.

At every event, Cardiff Animation Night strives to showcase independent animated shorts from all over the world. Their aim is to give locals the opportunity to see these unique films on the big screen, to immerse themselves in the films that are making their way through the global animation circuit, while also meeting other like-minded aficionados. At their most recent screening, they showed 11 shorts from the US, Ireland, Poland, France, Belgium, and Israel. 

One of my favourite things that happened during the event was when the second part of the screening was temporarily paused due to some minor flooding happening in Kong’s – we had been blessed by yet another welcoming summer rainstorm. Despite the fact they had brief technical difficulties as they waited for the staff to clean up the water, which extended the showcase by at least a half hour, the room lit up, everyone was still engaged and kept the atmosphere lively.  It was yet another opportunity to turn to the stranger next me and continue conversing about storytelling, animation, and honestly life in general.

If you love animation, work in the industry, or just want to experience something new and have a great night out, then Cardiff Animation Nights is definitely for you. As someone who’s new to the Cardiff animation community, I felt welcome and at home, like I finally found my tribe.

All thanks to the support of the lovely people at Cloth Cat Animation, and from audience donations, Cardiff Animation Nights is run by Lauren Orme, Christopher Wright, Dani Abram, Chris James, Laura Tofarides, Telor Gwyn, Josh Flynn and Adam Bailey; and various other volunteers and individuals from the local animation community and beyond.

by Nia Alavezos

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Events, South West, 0 comments
Achieve Program 2019 Wraps!

Achieve Program 2019 Wraps!

And it's a wrap! July 17th, was the final workshop for the Helen North Achieve Programme and the class of 2019 have spent many a Wednesday evening in a classroom over the last 3 months and have earned a well deserved holiday! 

The programme is for 24 women from both VFX and Animation at differing levels of experience in their careers. There was a broad range of job roles within the group - Producers, CG Supervisors, VFX Editors, Animators, Technical support and many others.

The modules include Understanding personality types, enhancing your career prospects, achieving a better work/life balance, and presentation skills.  And best of all, the group have built their own network across different companies that will stand them in good stead for years to come.

We will share the feedback once we have drawn up the report.

We always have 3 x the number of applicants as we can have on the course, so we are hoping to run some stand alone modules that will be drop in sessions that anyone can attend.  Planning has started and we hope to announce some for the autumn before too long ! Watch this space....

And lastly, a very big thank you to Jan Armstrong and Marianne O'Connor who run the programme for us.  It is a real pleasure to work with them and if anyone would like further information on the work they offer for companies, please do let us know.

Thank you also to Escape, who generously provide us with the space to run the courses, and to Tom Box and the  Animation Skills Council for recommending the course for funding from the Animation Skills levy with Screenskills.

Louise Hussey, VFX Chair AWUK

Posted by Peri Friend in Campaigns, Events, 0 comments
AWUK at Annecy 2019

AWUK at Annecy 2019

Georgina Hurcombe gives the lowdown on Annecy International Animated Film Festival, which takes place in Annecy, France in June every year.

The festival has built a reputation as an excellent global meeting point for women in the animation industry, and this year was no exception. It was fantastic to see AWUK out in full force throughout the festival; along with watching a variety of fantastic animated content, my week was also filled with engaging discussions and positive meetings with an array of animated women, including our Co-Chair for Animation Beth Parker and longstanding member Natalie McKee (who I first met while taking part in the Helen North Achieve Programme back in 2018).

I was equally thrilled to be invited to speak on behalf of  AWUK at Women in Animations Breakfast Meeting. These meetings are becoming somewhat of a tradition at Annecy, and, considering I have only recently joined the board of AWUK, I was excited to contribute. The talk focused on the next steps for Animated Women UK, as well as reflecting on our accomplishments over the past year. There is so much for us to be proud of, from the Tips and Hits for Animated Women Panel in July last year, the re launch of the Helen North Achieve programme all the way through to the launch of AWUK’s Scottish branch back in May. Reflecting on past accomplishments is as important as setting objectives for the future, and the Breakfast Meeting talk gave us an excellent opportunity to  discuss all the exciting opportunities happening in the animation and VFX sector in the UK

The Breakfast Meeting talk was also about looking to the future: what’s next for women who work in animation and VFX globally?, what goals could we set for our organisations, and how were we going to achieve them? From an Animated Women UK prospective throughout the past year, panels have been a great way for us to spread awareness and tackle important gender-related industry issues. Producing more of these events and finding a way of making them bigger, better, and more informative than ever before is just one achievable goal we can set ourselves for the coming year.

The Breakfast Meeting talk also focused on a variety of other relevant topics. It was particularly interesting to share knowledge and advice with representatives of other worldwide women’s organisations, who reported on their own successes, making the Breakfast Meeting talk an excellent platform to celebrate the achievements of women in animation and VFX from all over the world.

However, successes were not the only item on the agenda; we also heard about the gender-related issues that continue to permeate our industry, both nationally and internationally. Unfortunately, sexual harassment in the workplace seems to remain as great an issue as ever; the issue seems to be particularly prevalent in France, where we heard how posters and leaflets detailing how to report such incidents are given out in large numbers to many studio employees . Of course, it’s fantastic to hear that efforts are being made to raise awareness around workplace sexual harassment, but it’s equally disappointing to hear that these appalling incidents are still taking place!

The issues surrounding the lack of senior female artists in the animation and VFX industries were also raised in the Breakfast Meeting. One especially salient point related to the expected and very regular long overtime: it’s difficult to rise through the ranks in VFX without a willingness to dedicate all of your time to the job, which has caused difficulties for women who want or with children to reach the pinnacle of their respective organisations without support from spouses or the organisations themselves.

Annecy Festival has a distinct atmosphere of diversity and inclusion. The opening day of this year’s festival was the third annual summit of the WIA (Women in Animation) and LFA (Les Femmes s’Animent). Throughout the day, the WIA and LFA hosted a variety of important, fascinating events. Sessions such as Creating an Environment of Belonging – a discussion about how men can assist the gender inclusion conversation and drive it forward – and Intergenerational Perspective on Belonging – a discussion which focused on the value of diversity among generations – are representative of the kind of open, inclusive quality that Annecy has become known for.

Other sessions included in this year’s summit focused on the future of women in animation. The New Face of Animation Leadership in Hollywood session acknowledged the fact that women in management and production roles are now leading a number of animation studios in Hollywood. This is, of course, fantastic news, and is indicative of the success that some women in the animation industry have begun to see over the last several years. We just hope that our fellow female artists in VFX and animation  will see such similar shifts in more senior roles within thier craft.

However, the New Face of Animation Leadership sessions also raised some important questions: will we now begin to see a shift in the culture of major Hollywood studios, and how will the women leading them impact their financial and creative success? Moreover, will we see increased changes in the promotion of diversity and inclusion in the animation industry? And, although not included in this particular session, these industrial shifts also generate questions about women in non-senior roles: will we see a change in the level of support for women in more creative and technical animation and VFX roles?

These are all questions that are certainly worth asking our at this juncture in our industry. Only time will tell, but together we believe we can make the future brighter for women in animation and VFX globally

Join Animated Women UK today

For more on Annecy click here

Written by Georgina Hurcombe

Posted by Peri Friend in Events, News, 0 comments