Author Archives: University Women in the Arts

Highly Commended Students

University Women in the Arts: Highly Commended students

In addition to the selected students, the judges would like to congratulate the following 30 students on being Highly Commended for University Women in the Arts:

  1. Jade French
  1. Panayiota Pantelli
  1. Hanna Wilksinson
  1. Emma McGordon
  1. Victoria Leslie
  1. Naomi Gregory
  1. Micah McKay
  1. Sarah Hill
  1. Sandhyo Kaffo
  1. Yasmin Ali
  1. Eleanor Herzog
  1. Emer Dineen
  1. Aimee Gaston
  1. Beatrice Galletley
  1. Mabel Wattam
  1. Natasha Sutton Williams
  1. Ottilee Thonrhill
  1. Ellen Renton
  1. Rachel Tookey
  1. Emily Bickerdike
  1. Elizabeth Edevane
  1. Abigail Holsborough
  1. Selina Borji
  1. Tina Jay
  1. Maria Pullicino
  1. Hannah Greenstreet
  1. Suzanne Alleyne
  1. Josephine Langdon
  1. Laura Topham
  1. Grace Courtney

Many thanks to everyone who entered University Women in the Arts – the standard of entries was extremely high and we hope all of the entrants will attend the public events to still benefit from the mentors advice. To receive regular updates on the public events, please sign up to our mailing list.

Winners Announcement



University Women in the Arts, the new scheme for female students studying the arts at Universities across the UK, has announced the 15 women selected to be mentored over the course of the next year.

15 students will be offered the opportunity to attend mentoring sessions with 15 of the women who are leading the way in the arts in the UK over the course of the next year, in addition to public events with the mentors.

The scheme is designed to address why more women study the arts but less women work in the arts, for example at the University of the Arts London over 70% of students are female but only around 30% of professional artists across all art forms are female.

The 15 selected students are:

  1. Zoe Bailey, Bath Spa University, who is also Sales Manager for Bath Festivals and works as an Associate Director at Bath Theatre.
  1. Alice Brazil Burns, Warwick University, who was awarded the Undergraduate Research Support Scheme Bursary from the Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies Department at the University of Warwick and is a recipient of the Outstanding Achiever Award from the Almeida Theatre.
  1. Eleanor Colville, Cambridge University, who created an all female Smoker for the Footlights at Cambridge University
  1. Alice Evans, Chelsea College of Art, who experiences schizophrenia and is pursuing a PHD in Fine Art Film
  1. Jennifer Davidson, Bolton University, who studies for a PHD whilst looking after three small children
  1. Titilola Ige, Central Saint Martins, who runs her own charity Reaching Higher, helping young people, in addition to writing and producing
  1. Helena Jackson, Oxford University, who is President of the Oxford University Dramatic Society
  1. Vanessa Kang, The Open University, who dances with Rambert
  1. Alys Key, Oxford University/City University, who was the Editor of The Oxford Student Newspaper and won the Philip Geddes Prize for student journalism
  1. Catherine Milne, Central Saint Martins, who is the former Head of Development for Lynda La Plante’s production company before taking a break to have children
  1. Daniela Monasterios, London College of Fashion, whose company Mash- Up has collaborated with Top Shop amongst others in Singapore
  1. Katherine Press, Falmouth University, who was also President of the Marlowe Society at Cambridge University
  1. Maria Roberts, Manchester Metropolitan University, who is an author and won best Personal Blog at the Manchester Literature Festival amongst other achievements
  1. Gretha Viana, Central Saint Martins, an Emmy nominated producer from Brazil who is now trying to become a writer in the UK
  1. Jingan Young, Kings College London, who runs an unfunded company Pokfulam Road Productions as well as pursuing her PHD

A list of highly commended students from across the UK is also available on the University Women in the Arts website.

Jennifer Tuckett, Director of University Women in the Arts and Course Leader of the MA Dramatic Writing at Drama Centre London at Central Saint Martins said: “We were delighted to receive entries from female students studying arts subjects at Universities across the UK – from Glasgow to Bournemouth, from Edinburgh to Bristol, from Salford, Bolton, Manchester, Bristol, London, Kent, Norwich, Leeds, York, Coventry and many other locations.

The 15 female students selected are studying a wide range of arts subjects and we hope the mentoring with the 15 mentors will provide them with advice to equip them to become part of the next generation of female leaders in the arts. More women study arts courses in the UK but less women work in the arts and we hope this scheme, plus the public events which will be open to all, will be a first step to addressing this discrepancy and looking at how we can improve the talent pipeline and make sure more women progress throughout their careers in the arts by providing advice and guidance at right at the start of careers.”

Lucy Kerbel, Director of Tonic Theatre, which the scheme is being run in association with, said: “University Women in the Arts felt to me like a really good, practical way in which some of the imbalances in the trajectories of male and female arts graduates could be addressed. While there is no one silver bullet that will solve everything, mentoring is an important part of the puzzle and so it’s great that University Women in the Arts is doing what it is.

I think this scheme is a brilliant idea. Young women who are keen to build careers in the arts often have to look harder for role models than their male counterparts. Consequently, a programme such as this which connects female students with trailblazing women is hugely valuable because it makes it all the easier for them to visualise themselves in top roles. Furthermore, hearing in detail how these women have achieved the success they have, and being able to begin to translate that to their own artistic and professional journeys is something that could make all the difference to a young woman when navigating the tricky initial steps into her career in the arts.”

Pinkly Lilani CBE, founder of the Women of the Future Programme, the other partner on the scheme said: “The University Women in the Arts scheme is a fantastic opportunity for women to succeed in the arts world. We need more women leaders in this field and mentoring is a way of helping them reach the top. The inspirational women who have agreed to be mentors will make a huge difference in the career of young students. Collaborating with Central Saint Martins and Tonic Theatre is a privilege and honour for Women of the Future – we share the same values and know that by working together we will make a huge difference.”

Comments from mentors include:

Amanda Foreman, historian, columnist, presenter of the recent BBC series The Ascent of Women and Chair of the Man Booker Prize:

There has been a huge increase in the amount of women working in the arts since I began my career, which is great, of course. Oftentimes when you ask female artists how they’ve achieved their success, though, it becomes clear that they have had to forge a somewhat haphazard path there. Creative women have two choices: follow the formula for success and recognition set forth by male artists, which is quite rigid and still fairly hostile to women, or muddle along on their own and hope for a stroke of luck. I believe that women deserve a clearer formula for parlaying their passion and talent into a career.

Suzie de Rohan Wilner, CEO of fashion company Toast, said:

This is an opportunity for me to contribute and positively help change the course of women’s working lives in the Arts.

I don’t think we had female mentors when I was starting which meant I had to find my own way and made some spectacular mistakes. I mentor women today to help them be spectacular in other ways.

Kate Bryan, presenter and former Director of The Fine Art society said:

I have worked in the art world for 12 years and in that time I would have expected to see the imbalance between genders improve considerably. Sadly, this is just not the case. The more my career has progressed, the more obvious the disparity becomes. I am involved because now I am in my mid thirties I feel more motivated than ever to be active in the field of gender disparity in the arts. I want a future filled with bright brilliant women at the top in every sphere of life and fostering change within my own industry is key.

It’s not about straight forward sexism anymore, the access is there on all legal and technical levels. Instead, it’s about addressing the complexities of why less women work in the art world than men even though there are more women graduating in the arts. Firstly, I think together we need to reevaluate the expectations and goals for female graduates – we need to teach that there are no limits and lead by example.

Comments from the selected students include:

Maria Roberts, studying at Manchester Metropolitan University: The University Women in the Arts really is the opportunity of lifetime ­– and without wanting to sound twee, it is something I have wanted, and needed, for many years. So, this really is a dream come true for me.

This is not just because the 15 mentors are women, but because they are pioneers in their field. They are the very best at what they do and there is a lot I can learn from them.’

Since my early twenties, I have benefitted from the support and belief of my tutors, employers, magazine editors etc, to whom I am very grateful – but they have with all, with one exception, been men.

This has not been a problem in itself, but I have felt the very grave lack of female mentors in my life. There are expectations of women — be clever, pretty, healthy, professional, amenable, and have good hair — that just aren’t placed on men in the same way.

Outside of my working life, I have been mugged, threatened with rape, held hostage in cabs, hit, trolled, insulted and discriminated against. How do you negotiate all of the issues that affect women in our daily lives, on top of our ambitions in the workplace?

It’s fantastic that I will be one of 15 women, guided by 15 women I truly admire. It’s just what I need at this stage of my career.

Alice Evans, studying at Chelsea College of Art, said: The opportunity to take part in this scheme is very exciting to me because I believe that enabling other people to have the opportunity to realize their own creative ambitions and find their own voices is the way I can best contribute and feel meaning to my own life.

My excitement at joining the scheme is essentially about learning to enable others. I want people, and women in particular, to realize their power both individually and collectively. In order to do this, I welcome the opportunity of the support of other women who have been there before.

Alice Brazil Burns, an undergraduate student at Warwick University, said: I feel so lucky and excited for this extraordinary opportunity to be mentored by a dream list of inspiring women who have done amazing things and this kind of support is hugely motivating as I build a career in the arts.

Zoe Bailey, studying at Bath Spa University, said: I think University Women in the Arts is a fantastic opportunity and I’m really grateful to have been picked for the scheme. I’m excited to meet the mentors and learn from them over the coming year.

Titilola Ige, studying at Central Saint Martins, said: Mentoring goes hand in hand with achieving. There’s nothing about life or what we want to do in it that says we should do it alone. You learn from those that are achieving, that are living, that are doing. Being selected for the University Women in the Arts means that I shall get all the help and advice in which to also achieve.

To be kept informed of the public events which will run from 2016 – 2017, sign up to the mailing list at



Welcome to University Women in the Arts. We will be publishing more information in this section as the year progresses on the public events and updates on the mentoring scheme.