AWUK Raising Visibility | Ruth Ducker

We firmly believe in the importance and impact of raising the visibility of women within Animation and VFX in order to support and inspire others. As a members' organisation run by volunteers, we welcome involvement from you, our members, to make this happen! In this new blog series, we ask recent event speakers to share their experiences with us. 
If this inspires you to also get involved, please contact our Panel Producer, Debra Coleman, at debrac@animatedwomenuk.com

Introducing Speaker: Ruth Ducker

Please introduce yourself/tell our other members a little bit about yourself.

My name's Ruth and I'm a Series Director. I am currently Directing a show for CBBC with Tiger Aspect Kids, Called Super Happy Magic Forest (June 2023). I have been Directing, Both Series Direction and Animation Direction for over 12 years and have worked on shows for, amongst others, Disney Asia, Universal Kids, Milkshake and CBeebies. I came to Directing having worked in animation, previz and layout on many wonderful projects including Peter and the Wolf, The Secret Show and The All New Captain Scarlet. Animation was my second career, having lived as an exhibiting artist while I brought up my kids.

Cave Dailies Poster

What events have you contributed to, on behalf of Animated Women UK?

I have been a mentor as part of the AWUK program since it was launched in addition to that I have contributed to a few events on behalf of Animated women. I have had the pleasure of being part of an industry panel at 'Stardance Animation festival' twice. The first time via zoom during lockdown. The second time in person. I have contributed to 'Cave Dailies' as well as giving an introduction to the mentor program at the latest AWUK meet up.

Stardance Flyer

Please tell us a bit more about them: what was involved? Was it in person, or remote/virtual? Who was the audience? What was your role?

The first Stardance Festival was an online event, held during the lockdown, Cave Dailies is also a regular online event. Both of these panels are aimed at students and recent graduates. The intention is to demystify the industry as well as give insight into what skills are most sought after in the industry and advise on good work methods as well as approaches to finding work.

I enjoy the remote events as it is easier for me to fit them into my busy work life schedule, they also reach a much wider audience. The second Stardance Festival and the AWUK meet up were in person events. Despite the convenience of online events it is still much nicer to be able to talk face to face as well as having the opportunity to be introduced to new people.

My role in all of these events is to share my industry experience and the journey I have taken to get to my position. As I have worked across multiple disciplines in many different companies I am able to see what are key requirements that all companies look out for in an employee and I am able to share that knowledge.

Stardance Panel

What do you get from being a member of AWUK? And what does 'raising visibility' mean to you?

I always enjoy these experiences. At AWUK I am always inspired by the talent and enthusiasm I see in women at the beginning of their career and also take great comfort in being able to share common experiences with the experienced women. The only thing I would do differently is perhaps make more time to do more to give back to the community of AWUK. We all need role models to aspire to, when I started out there were few and I frequently wished for advice on how to navigate a male dominated workplace, I wish AWUK had been around when I started out. I am happy to say I have found much camaraderie and encouragement from being a member. It is encouraging to see how much change has taken place in the industry over the last few years, thanks to AWUK and similar organisations, combined with the increasing pressure from broadcasters to be more inclusive of diversity the landscape of Animation is very different than it was even 5 years ago. There is however still work to be done, so for me 'raising visibility' is about being a role model and being able to share my experiences that hopefully will encourage women to have the highest of goals for their career.

Promoting mentoring at AWUK 2023 event

Any final thoughts to share?

I would like to thank AWUK for the support encouragement and networking they provide for women. I particularly recommend the Helen North Achieve program, which gave me confidence to own my own achievements.

Posted by Peri Friend

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