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AWUK board member Georgina Hurcombe featured in latest issue of 3D World magazine

AWUK board member Georgina Hurcombe featured in latest issue of 3D World magazine

Georgina spoke to our friends at 3D World about starting up her own studio and the challenges she's encountered as a woman in a male-dominated industry

Our board member Georgina Hurcombe recently discussed her experiences as a woman in the animation industry and starting her own business, LoveLove Films, in the latest issue of 3D World magazine, which you can read here

Georgina provides some eye-opening insights throughout her career, from the hurdles she faced early on in her work, to renovating an old Gospel Hall for her studio to the opportunities that Animated Women UK and the Helen North Achieve programme have provided her! Finally she finishes off with a round-up of some advice for women in the industry. 

Great work Georgina!

We’ll be featuring in 3D World magazine again soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

Posted by Peri Friend in News, 0 comments
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
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
Persistence of Vision: Women Reframing Animation Symposium

Persistence of Vision: Women Reframing Animation Symposium

Animation is accessible in ways other mediums are not; it breaks down cultural, social and technical boundaries and as such has a distinctive potential as a tool for education, activism and engagement.

On Friday 28th June, Goldsmiths University hosted a one-day symposium, exploring, discussing and celebrating the radical potential of women in animation.

Curated by Ceiren Bell, a freelance Animator and convenor of the Integrated Degree in Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, the symposium provided an inclusive platform for academics, practitioner and students to investigate what it is about animation that attracts and gives space to radical ideas and concepts for social change.

The event began with speaker Dr Caroline Ruddell presenting her keynote on ‘The Crafty Animator: Reveals, Conceals and the Hand of the Artist in Women’s Sand Animation.’ Ruddell gave insight into how gender is represented in craft, demonstrating the differences in how men and women are portrayed in ‘behind the scenes, making of’ films.

Sage Brice kicked off the first panel by discussing how vulnerability can also be considered as strength, with reference to her research ‘Becoming-Vulnerable: Drawing the Dissolution of Unitary Identity.’

Artist, Animator and Fat Activist Stacy Bias followed with, ‘Your Stories Are Moving: Animation and Affect in Addressing Stigma,’ with a screening of her excellent documentary animation ‘Flying While Fat.’

Terry Wragg, member of the Leeds Animation Workshop, spoke about the organisation’s work throughout the years. Established in 1978, the Leeds Animation Workshop continues to produce and distributes animated films addressing social and emotional issues, including the women’s movement.

The second panel, titled ‘Revolting Women,’ included brilliant talks by Writer and Visual Effects Artist Sunny Teich on ‘CGI Wizardry and Witchcraft’, Director and PhD student Sally Pearce on ‘Subversion in Women’s Animated Autobiography’, and Animation Director Kate Jessop on ‘Animation as Activism and Queer Representation.’

The final panel, a roundtable chaired by Artist Animator Jessica Ashman, discussed ‘Alternative Animation Pathways’. Animation Directors, Sophie Koko Gate, Esther Ajibade and Nush Naanayakkara spoke about their own career progressions, from triumphs to setbacks, and what advice they would give to their younger selves as newly graduated filmmakers.

For more information about the symposium, visit the closed Persistence of Vision facebook group and #povgold on Twitter

Posted by Peri Friend in Events, News, 0 comments
International Women’s Day Panel 2019 | #balanceforbetter

International Women’s Day Panel 2019 | #balanceforbetter

The campaign theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter putting the spotlight directly on the question, ‘how can we help forge a more gender-balanced world?’

In response, Animated Women UK, in collaboration with ACCESS:VFX and Animation UK, hosted a panel of representative speakers to discuss the key issues of gender imbalance within the Animation and VFX industries.

The sold out event took place at The Mill with over 100 people in attendance, including professionals, early career starters and students. The energetic atmosphere of the audience clearly highlighted the importance of the topic to be addressed.

The Panel

  • Noreen Connolly – MD, Beam
  • Natalie Llewellyn – Head of Development, Jellyfish
  • Tom Box – Co-founder, Blue Zoo
  • Claire Michaud – Lighting Supervisor, Framestore
  • Simon Hughes – Creative Director / VFX Supervisor, Union
  • Ross Urien – Creative Director, The Mill
  • Helen Piercy – AWUK Board Education Advisor / Animation Lecturer at University of Norwich

Chaired by IBC’s Alana Foster, the opening question asked was ‘why is animation & VFX equality and inclusion important?’ The panel agreed that the creative industries need diverse talent in order to generate a range of animation and VFX projects for a wider audience. Ross Urien noted that the creative industry is driven by original ideas, so diversity is vitally important as good ideas don’t come from one place.

Why is the animation sector statistically doing better than VFX in terms of gender balance?

The panel were asked why pursuing a career in animation had a significantly larger draw for women than VFX? Claire Michaud explained that VFX heavy blockbusters have traditionally been targeted at boys with animated content seemingly aimed more towards girls. Tom Box added that the issue could also be about accessibility as we tend to be exposed to animation from a younger age, whereas VFX is more of a hidden art form and much of the effects work is invisible.

Natalie added that the understanding of animation and VFX as viable career options needs much more awareness. This ‘discoverability’ element is key and further work needs to be done to educate children, teachers and parents. Fantastic initiatives, such as ACCESS:VFX and STEAM events are helping to spread awareness in schools of the potential career paths into these industries.

How can we attract and retain women working in the industry?

The panel reflected on the perception that animation is more creative than VFX, therefore more feminine, ergo attracting more women to work in the sector. This view potentially starts with representation and how an interest in working in animation and VFX is generated.

It was agreed that attracting & retaining women into the industry needs better support, beginning at an educational level and throughout career progression. Mentorships are a key factor in career development, as Noreen noted that  at The Mill everyone has a mentor. “t’s really important to develop people”. Taking the initiative and reaching out to someone you admire can also be a good strategy for finding a potential mentor. Networks and industry recognised schemes, such as Animated Women UK’s Helen North Achieve Programme, are also helping to bring women in the creative community together to access advice.

Overall, the panel were very positive on the outlook for a gender balanced industry, however, it is clear that there is more work to be done to improve the current diversity statistics in the animation and vfx industries. Animated Women UK are committed to working towards a #BalanceforBetter future, continuing our mission to support women from all backgrounds of the industry at every stage in their career.

Helen Piercy is AWUK’s Education Advisor.

 

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Events, Homepage, News, 0 comments