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Support for Students during COVID-19

Support for Students during COVID-19

As a result of COVID-19 many students, who were looking forward to finishing their studies and celebrating graduation this year, are now faced with an uncertain future resulting from university closures. Although academic institutions are now adapting to support their students through distance learning and online feedback, the reality is many individuals have lost access to vital facilities needed to complete their work. This in turn has created a sense of unease regarding how the soon-to-be VFX and Animation graduates will find opportunities in the creative industries.

The positive news is that recruitment is continuing with many companies still on the lookout for new talent. As the industry adapts to new ways of working remotely, so in turn must students. Luckily, a large number of organisations, companies and individuals have stepped up to provide free access to online events, tutorials and free software to help students in need. AWUK Education has compiled a list of these resources, plus other tips, and will continue to seek more ways of supporting this year’s graduates during this challenging time.

Working From Home

Working from home sounds like a brilliant setup, however it can also come with difficulties such as de-motivation and home-life distractions. This article from Times Higher Education outlines a number of useful tips, including co-ordinating group chats using Skype or Zoom and organising a functional work space.

AVFX Podcast

Career Advice

ACCESS:VFX is a non-profit industry led organisation that aims to promote diversity and inclusion within VFX and Animation. Check out the ACCESS:VFX website for information on careers and employment, plus the opportunity to sign up for Pro Online Mentor for feedback on your work. Give the podcast a listen for professional industry advice, such this recent episode on wellbeing and mental health.

Online Tutorials

This is the perfect time to delve into the world of online tutorials. Now more than ever, professional creatives (such as Aaron Blaise) are actively sharing their processes and techniques for the benefit of others. Explore platforms such as SkillShare, Skwigly and YouTube for inspiration and get adding new skills to your CV.

Screen Skills Online Events

ScreenSkills have launched a free package of remote training, workshops and talks led by industry professionals. The events tend to sell out very quickly, we recommend following Screen Skills social media to be the first to find out when the next events are scheduled.

Attend a Virtual Festival

Sadly many animation and VFX festivals have been forced to postpone events this year, however the good news is that many have chosen to stream films online. Keep a look for upcoming events, such as Cardiff Animation Nights and SXSW, and enjoy a virtual festival from the comfort of your sofa. Other fantastic sites to watch films and inspirational talks include The National Film Board of Canada, She Drew That and It’s Nice That.

Discover Free Software

VFX artist, Jonas Almeida, has put together this very handy Google Doc listing over 200 free software available for the creative industry. Magnum entertainment have also created an updating list for every free event technology training class, tutorial and workshop currently available.

AWUK Ed Resources

We have a fantastic list of inspirational books, websites and podcasts to keep you busy. Join our closed facebook community and get networking with other students, graduates and academics.

Seek Support From Your University

Finally, if you are struggling with any aspect of academic work or mental health issues, many universities now have a dedicated support service to help students navigate their learning. If you are concerned about anything, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your institution for advice. You can also contact the AWUK education team  education@animatedwomenuk.com

By Helen Piercy, AWUK Education Advisor

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Education, News, 0 comments
AWUK members feature in work/life balance article in 3D World

AWUK members feature in work/life balance article in 3D World

Our members spoke about some of the difficulties in trying to find more time and energy for yourself in the latest issue of the magazine.

AWUK Work:Life balance

Clockwise from top left: Abi Cadogan, DNEG, AWUK board member Anna Gregory, Isobel Stenhouse, Sophie Jackson, Netflix.

You may have seen that Animated Women UK board member Georgina Hurcombe recently spoke about her journey founding her own company, LoveLove Films in 3D World magazine – we’re happy to share that we’ve been featured again, this time with a round-table type interview featuring several of our members!

Abi Cadogan (Senior VFX Editor, Dneg), AWUK board member Anna Gregory, Sophie Jackson (VFX Co-ordinator, Netflix), Isobel Stenhouse (freelance Production Manager/Line Producer) all spoke to Jolien Buijis, (Production Co-ordinator, Union) about the challenges they’ve faced in trying to achieve the perfect work/life balance as well as provide some top tips and insights on what’s helped them take back their precious time.

Thanks again to our friends at 3D World for publishing the interview and for kindly providing us with a PDF for our members to read!
AWUK Work:Life balance - 3D World

You can read issue 255 now in all good newsagents!

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Homepage, News, 0 comments
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, 1 comment
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