Having launched in 2010 at London Southbank Centre by Jude Kelly CBE, Women of the World (WOW) Festival is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, a huge landmark for such a culturally important festival. Over the last nine years the festival has developed a reputation for providing a platform to world-renowned artists, activists, thinkers and performers.
From political activists and artists such as Angela Davies and Annie Lennox to world-class actors such as Patrick Stewart, the festival offers an eclectic and exciting mix of characters, coming together to celebrate women, change attitudes and bring communities together. The festival now not only operates in London, but it now runs events worldwide including festivals in New York, Brisbane and Rio de Janeiro.
It’s been an impressive journey for Kelly and WOW in the last ten years, what started as singular event at the Southbank Centre whilst Kelly was working for the venue; she’s now gone on to turn WOW into a full time job and the brand into an independent charitable entity that runs six festivals annually worldwide. Having been creative director for Southbank Centre for 12 years previous to WOW, Jude Kelly built her festival off of a strong background in event artistic programming and event production.
Having launched after a Kelly felt that feminism was in a lull, “Women were being told they’d never had it so good – which was a terrible injustice… I had always been a feminist, but I’d reached a point where I looked at the amazing things I was curating and thought, ‘The reality is, the majority of the canon is created by men, and if the culture keeps on reiterating over and over again this idea that creativity is male, then it permeates absolutely everything else and you have to do something. Saying you’re a feminist isn’t enough”.
Having now gone on to run festivals and events celebrating women across 23 countries and 5 continents, Kelly has become a pivotal figure in the feminism movement, flying the flag at her events across the world.
Returning to London this March (6th – 8th) the Women of the World Festival is back at the Southbank Centre providing three days of though provoking and inspiring events, bringing feminists together, promoting the movement and tackling some incredibly important issues. The Programme includes a special International Women’s day edition of Letters Live, Bobby Bakers famous Drawing on a (Grand) Mother’s Experience, WOW speed mentoring and much much more.
With day passes from just £40 – head over to the Southbank Centre website to see what’s on for yourself.