Introducing the Limitless Exhibitors | Part 2

Introducing the Limitless Exhibitors | Part 2

With less than two weeks until we open the virtual doors on our first-ever virtual exhibition – Limitless – it’s time to introduce you to the rest of our talented lineup who will be showcasing their personal work.


Isobel Stenhouse is a concept and animation artist, currently working on a game at Supermassive Games. She has enjoyed an incredibly varied career in both art and production roles. Since mid-2020 she’s been teaching layout at weekends at The Cartoon Mill, and in March 2021 she completed a 3D-focused concept art course at Escape Studios. She mentors for Access VFX and gives industry talks on workplace wellbeing.  


Emma Niemis is a London-based freelance fabricator for stop-motion animation, specialising in puppet and model making. She is a graduate of the Animation course at Norwich University of the Arts.


Magdalena Osinska is currently a director at Aardman Animations. Jasia is a personal project on which she has been working for the past few years and it’s a labour of love. It’s a real story set in fantasy, about a little orphaned girl going through hardships caused by a political situation, by a war. It’s about survival, being different and believing in dreams and love. 


Amy Backwell is a London-based sculptor and painter, her wacky characters visually capture her whimsical and surrealist visions. Her work is about capturing the essence of these characters in exaggerated and absurdist situations. During the day, Amy works as the Emerging Talent Specialist for the Visual Effects company Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). In her own time, she also loves composing classical music. 


JoAnne Salmon is a storyboard artist at Pop Paper City Ltd. She has worked in the animation industry for 5 years in Bournemouth and has had various roles such as animator and concept artist. For as long as she can remember she has loved drawing and painting. Through painting, she felt so much freedom, creating worlds and express emotion through a paintbrush. 


Natasha Tonkin is a London-based filmmaker and artist originally from Australia. Her paintings are evolving alongside my films, each informing the other. Her ambition is to bring them closer together and continue to explore inventive storytelling and image-making techniques.

We can’t wait for you to see their work.

You can now register for our launch event on 23rd September to be one of the first through the virtual doors. REGISTER NOW FREE!

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Introducing the Limitless Exhibitors | Part 1

Introducing the Limitless Exhibitors | Part 1

As we get closer to the launch of the Limitless virtual exhibition in September, we wanted to share some of the brilliant exhibitors we have lined up who will be showcasing their personal work.

Stacy Bias is an activist, artist and animator living in London. She creates 2D animations with a special focus on storytelling for social change and creative research dissemination. Her practice is collaborative, self-reflective with regard to the ethics of representation, and guided by the principles of intersectional feminism.

Kim Noce is an Italian artist, filmmaker and animator resident in the UK. Her work has been screened in major international film festivals, displayed in art galleries, broadcasted on major TV channels, on streaming platforms and won several prizes around the world including Chicago Int. festival, LIAF, LSFF, IFFEST Document Art, Anima, Sopot and many more.

Jess Mountfield is a 2D and stop-motion animator and director working in London. She finds her artistic practice outside of this vital to both her mental health and her development. She is very excited to be working on a hybrid children’s book, which combines her original love of stop motion and physical puppets with her professional 2D work. Outside this, you’ll find her creating blankets, pottery, and felted sculptures.

As an animation director, Jennifer Zheng often finds herself staring into monitors. When screens blind she retreats into the physical: drawing, sewing, sculpting, pottering- creating. She mixes and cross-pollinates mediums, choosing whichever expresses herself best.

Helen Piercy is a creative educator and craftsperson. Her current practice centres on the belief of ‘Animism’ – the notion that all objects, places and creatures possess a distinct spiritual essence. Through exploration of character design, referencing traditional symbolism, her creations are realised through the medium of soft sculpture and brought to life using stop-motion techniques.

Anushka Naanayakara is a stop-motion director who explores emotion and stories through fabrics and textures. Her background in fine art, and graphic design also influences her vibrant visual style.

Stay tuned for part two of our introductions to the Limitless exhibitors!

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AWUK/CAVE Academy Collaborate to Enhance Student’s Knowledge and Skills

AWUK/CAVE Academy Collaborate to Enhance Student’s Knowledge and Skills

“I believe that this is one of the best simulations of a real daily that I have ever seen”. High praise from Erica Vigilante, CG Supervisor at DNEG and AWUK Member, who was a guest reviewer at the recent Cave Academy Dailies.

The CAVE Academy Dailies programme is hosted by Jahirul Anim, Computer Animation and VFX Trainer and Consultant at CAVE. The programme or ‘Dailies’, as it’s referred to, is a free collaborative feedback programme which takes place online every Thursday evening between 6 PM-8 PM and replicates industry style dailies by bringing together students and professionals, such as Heads of Department and CG Supervisors, who analyse ‘daily’ submissions from trainees and provide important feedback to truly enhance students projects, knowledge and skills.

Using Zoom with screen-sharing and SyncSketch to do draw overs and annotations, the guest reviewers critique and give notes on between 5-10 submissions from trainees and students. Jahirul explains “ …we are here to educate and to help push the work and skills of students and professionals through discussion, drawovers and experience, just like in a real-world daily”.

AWUK member Erica Vigilante, gave her professional feedback on student submissions and, went on to say…”Being in dailies is always emotional because you see and contribute to a project evolution, but with CAVE dailies it is also a dream evolution, the students experience real growth that will lead them to their dream job, and that is a real fulfilment. For this reason, I consider it a special session and I think that what is proposed by the CAVE Academy is not common, the students of today will be the artists of tomorrow, and this experience will make them stand out from the crowd. I believe that this is one of the best simulations of a real daily that I have ever seen. Really proud to have the opportunity to be part of it and I hope to have the chance to see the students grow in the future”

Other Dailies guest reviewers have included AWUK members Sheila Wickens, VFX Supervisor, MPC Episodic and Binal Shah, Lead Animator, ILM (London) who attended sessions earlier this year. The intention is for AWUK members to collaborate with CAVE Academy Dailies well into the future with the next session coming up after the summer break in September with Kate Vaisey, VFX Producer, Netflix providing the feedback.

Watch this space for further announcements or check out the Dailies page here: CAVE Dailies.

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Animated Women UK launches Mentorship Programme

Animated Women UK launches Mentorship Programme

AWUK reveals a new mentorship programme for its members in the VFX and animation industries, pairing seasoned professionals with emerging female talent. 

Animated Women UK is pleased to announce a mentorship programme in partnership with Disney UK & Ireland for its members. 

This mentorship programme will focus on fostering connection and engagement with female veterans of the VFX and Animation industries, pairing them with the next generation of female talent.  

AWUK members who are interested in participating in the mentorship programme will be asked to fill out a questionnaire describing their industry experience. 

Powered through the Prospela professional network website, mentors will be paired with a mentee seeking advice and support.  

Through the use of a chat channel on the Prospela website, mentors and mentees will be able to exchange communication when it suits them best and in their own time.  

We have a great team of Mentors engaged and ready to start a meaningful mentorship with keen mentees.  Could this be you?  We hope so!

Louise Hussey, Co-Chair, VFX, Animated Women UK, commented: “AWUK is very excited to be offering a mentor scheme, and have been able to do so by Disney’s sponsorship. We love the way that this scheme, hosted by Prospela, and pioneered by Access VFX works. It enables communication through a digital platform that allows for Mentors to be able to respond as and when their schedules allow.  In these times, support and help are welcomed by us all, so please do sign up!”

For more information, or to apply, visit

Annual membership of Animated Women UK costs just £30.

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Homepage, Mentoring, News, 0 comments
AWUK Board in Lockdown | Beth Parker

AWUK Board in Lockdown | Beth Parker

Continuing from our post a few months ago, we caught up with AWUK Animation Chair, Beth Parker to see how her life had changed during 2020.

Beth Parker, Animation Chair at AWUK

I was in a fortunate position as the pandemic hit – having left my job at Disney in February, I was planning to spend some time working from home, but definitely not with the kind of restrictions lockdown brought! I returned from a trip to the US just as borders were closing in various parts of the world, and granted, what happened next was a bit of a shock at first. But I am a creative producer, we thrive on solving problems and love a bit of structure and organisation. So, without further ado, and since it looks like we’re not going to get back to any kind of crowd surfing any time soon, here are my top five survival tips for keeping your head above water during these difficult times:

Give your days structured and keep routines:

For me, it has been essential to keep to the same weekday routine I had previously. However, I have to admit, this has been really hard as I am not a morning person and it never was an easy ride! I do need time to get into the day, so even when I don’t get up at 6.30, I have to follow the same routine and replace my 90-minute commute with at least 30 minutes of yoga and a read. The only thing I miss about that insane commute is having the time to read, so I make sure I put that time aside in the morning. If I can do all this and still get to my desk for 9.00, then the day has got off to a good start, my mind is clear and focussed. And if it’s an hour later, well so be it.

At the beginning of every day, I break the day down into my to-do list, but as a rule of thumb, I spend half the day on admin and networking and half the day on creating and learning. Breaking the day up helps me from getting too distracted, as I am someone who finds it hard to focus on one thing for very long. If I know I only have an hour to do something, then I get down to it!

Make a specific workspace and ‘go to work’:

I appreciate this is easier for some than for others, as it depends on available space, but I have found it is really important to ‘get up and go to work’, even if that’s just going to another room. You don’t have to dress up for work like you would if you were going to the office or studio, but get out of your pyjamas at least, and make a space somewhere that is just for working. Make sure you’re sitting properly and are away from as many distractions as possible. I am lucky enough to have a room that I can work in, one corner is dedicated to animation, the other to making music! At least if my focus wanders in here, it can wander into doing something creative, which is productive.

Talk to people:

I live on my own and don’t drive, so the hardest thing for me has been having to spend all day every day alone and unable to get much further than the local shops. That was really tough for the first few weeks of lockdown, but then I started reaching out to my network and putting regular calls and video conferences into the diary. This not only made sure my professional profile was still fresh in people’s memories, it kept me talking to people! In doing this I also discovered others living alone and we put regular ‘virtual coffees’ into our diaries and catch up weekly. We talk about work, but also about how we’ve been feeling over the week – it’s really important to have someone you can talk honestly to, whether that is a friend or a colleague. I find it useful to have close friends in the business to talk to, because they at least then understand what it is I do all day!

Get outside:

Early in lockdown, we were only allowed to go out once a day for exercise. To be honest, I didn’t always make the most of this as a knee injury earlier in the year took long walks off the table for a while, but I’m also lucky enough to have a garden. Despite being sandwiched between two rather noisy construction sites, every day, once they’ve finished, I take a coffee outside and sit and watch nature for 15-30 minutes, whatever the weather. Not only it is good to get away from the screens for a while, I need the air. If anyone caught Springwatch this year, you’ll know how wonderful those moments in nature, even just a little patch in the city, are for the soul and I can’t believe I didn’t squeeze this into my daily routine before! I will from now on.


This is something I have always tried and fit into the day anyway and comes from when I was studying part-time. Like reading, learning a new skill keeps the mind from freezing over or going into dark places. For me anyway. It can be anything and doesn’t have to take lots of time. For example, last year I discovered Duolingo and have been brushing up on my Spanish and learning Swedish from scratch. I can now watch a Nordic crime drama and have a pretty good idea of what is going on without the subtitles! During total lockdown, I took advantage of Adobe’s trial extensions and brushed up my Pro and AFX skills, so that I could make a couple of music videos. As a musician, there is always something to learn, whether it’s a new piece of kit or a new piece of music, or just brushing up the repertoire. It depends what else is in the diary, but I put at least half an hour aside for learning every day.


Beth at work

There are pros and cons to living alone – I haven’t had children to home-school and therefore, in theory, have way more time than most. I’m also healthy and don’t come into contact with many other people, so the risk of me getting the virus is low. But isolation has been a mental battle sometimes and I have found emotions rollercoaster from day to day, not having people to bounce ideas off or just talk through the things that I have been anxious about, can exasperate negative thoughts sometimes. Not to mention the lack of physical contact. I can’t remember the last time I brushed past someone, let alone had a hug. But as someone who is used to their own company, it has been better than it has been for some – without the piano and the bird table, lockdown would have been really very tough, and I seriously have to ask myself now, whether living in London is all it is cracked up to be, but that’s for another day.

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Homepage, News, 0 comments