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.

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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

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Deeds not words | International Women’s Day 2018

Deeds not words | International Women’s Day 2018

In support of the ‘MeToo’ and ‘TimesUp’ movement, AWUK launched their new ‘Deeds Not Words’ programme on International Women’s Day, with an event dealing with harassment and bullying in the workplace and introducing the new BFI/ BAFTA guidelines.

The workshop was co-produced by Animated Women UK (AWUK) and Animation UK (AUK) and generously hosted by The Mill. The audience of individuals, HR representatives and company owners were joined by Tim Hunter, Director of learning and new talent at BAFTA and employment barristers Caroline Jennings and Naomi Owen from No 5 Barristers Chambers.

After an introduction from Jan Armstrong who facilitated the afternoon, Tim Hunter provided an overview of the new BFI/BAFTA guidelines on harassment and bullying, released on the day of the BAFTA awards.

BFI/BAFTA Guidelines

The BAFTA Awards are a lens on the industry there was much debate at the time as to whether the guidelines go far enough, but Tim clarified that after wide consultation the specific issues tackled in the guidelines were identified as most important. The timing was also significant to show BAFTA’s position at the time of the awards and gain maximum coverage.

He acknowledged that there many areas not covered, for example the freelance perpetrator who could easily ‘slip under the radar’ going from one production to another.  However, these guidelines provide an industry framework and accountability to build upon. There has been a code of conduct for the VFX industry for about 4 years so it’s good to see the BFI and BAFTA following suit. Currently there is not an official animation industry wide code, but many companies have their own.

A show of hands from the attendees demonstrated that a significant majority had suffered some form of harassment or bullying in the workplace including our barristers.  Unfortunately, this is in line with our own MeToo survey results.

*AWUK MeToo Survey results as of 30.03.18

If you haven’t yet shared your experience, please fill in our quick anonymous survey here.

What constitutes harassment?

Barristers Caroline and Naomi presented the legal definitions of harassment as well as a couple of cases that have made it to court. They illustrated the minefield of ambiguity between wanted and unwanted behavior, flirting or pestering, bullying or just meeting that deadline.

The EU Equal Treatment Directive

Harassment law stems from an EU Equal Treatment Directive

*Sexual Harassment. How are women Protected? Handout – Naomi Owen  No. 5 Chambers

The Equality Act 2010

This is enshrined in UK law in the Equality Act 2010.

*Sexual Harassment. How are women Protected? Handout – Naomi Owen  No. 5 Chambers


Banter is also covered.

*Sexual Harassment. How are women Protected? Handout – Naomi Owen  No. 5 Chambers

Our barristers explained how the law is applied and the complex topic of accountability or individuals and employers/third parties.

Finally Naomi concluded by mentioning the concept of collective responsibility.  Both employers and employees in the workplace should endeavour to create an environment in which people are more aware of what constitutes inappropriate behaviour and what to do if it happens.  We need to dispel the “If I report it I will never work again!” perception.

Want to know more?

If there is enough interest from our members we will organise another event covering this issue.  If you’d like to attend an event like this please let us know in the comments section.

‘The legal perspective and case studies were excellent’

‘Great legal presentation which handled a very dry and awkward subject with sensitivity and delivered information I was not aware.”

‘The conversations around this topic I found the most stimulating and informative.’

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Submit Your Work to AWUK

Show off your best work.  Submit now for inclusion in AWUK Showcases.
One of our key goals at AWUK is to showcase the great work of our members.  We’re calling for submissions for upcoming showcases.  Please fill in our form and share your work so that we can share it with the wider world.  We’re really excited to see it.
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