Southbank Centre

Brazil trip creates new opportunity for Scottish cultural figures and delivers a Year of Young People bonus, writes Gwen McLeod from the British Council Scotland arts team.

Three of Scotland’s prominent cultural figures are getting ready to join the Women of the World (WoW) festival in Rio de Janeiro this week. Accompanying them is Emily Beaney who is attending thanks to support from British Council Scotland as part of our commitment to create new international opportunities during Scotland’s Year of Young People.

Having wowed the assessment panel with the strength of her personal statement and the power of her creative practice, Emily was selected from an exceptionally competitive set of 52 applicants. She works as a community artist with groups of girls and women in Glasgow, exploring themes of equality and female relationships.

The Women of the World (WOW) festival celebrates women and girls and looks at the obstacles that stop them from achieving their potential. It is a global network of festivals which provide a safe space for delegates to celebrate their stories of struggle and achievement; a place to exchange experiences, meet new perspectives, tell and listen to stories.

This is the first time the festival has been hosted in Brazil and provides an opportunity for the Scottish delegates to make a contribution towards reducing social inequality in gender relations and structural racism, expand their own networks through making connections with like-minded peers and bring their learning back home to share in Scotland.

Taking part are Adele Patrick, Lifelong Learning and Creative Development Manager at Glasgow Women’s Library which she co-founded in 1991; Sekai Machache, a visual artist based in Dundee; and Milica Milosevic, Creative Scotland’s Head of Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion. British Council Scotland’s Arts Partnership Manager, Isabel Moura Mendes, has led on the delegation’s participation in WOW Rio and will accompany them on the trip.

Adele Patrick has been developing innovative cultural projects rooted in equalities and in academic research, community learning and teaching for over 25 years. She has been instrumental in leading her organisation from a grassroots project led by volunteers to the UK’s sole accredited museum dedicated to women’s history.  Adele was Scotswoman of the Year in 2016 and received Honorary DLitts from both Glasgow School of Art and the University of Strathclyde in 2017. She became a Clore Leadership Fellow in 2018.

Sekai Machache’s artistic practice involves a deep interrogation of the notion of self. Having been born in Zimbabwe and raised in Scotland, she has a particular interest in double consciousness theory which considers the psychological challenge of having African heritage whilst living in the West. Sekai is an artist in residence and associate staff member of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and a founding member of the Yon Afro Collective (YAC). She is currently working on a cross-cultural international exchange with Kenya produced by Fòcas Scotland and supported by the British Council East Africa Arts ‘New Arts New Audiences’ grant.

Milica Milosevic came to the UK from former Yugoslavia in 1992 and has worked in the arts sector for over 20 years. Prior to taking on her role at Creative Scotland, she held an equivalent position at Arts Council England. She has led social inclusion programmes with refugees, older people and homeless people, collaborations with the youth justice system and arts in health and wellbeing programmes. As a volunteer, Milica has fundraised for arts and social inclusion projects and is a Trustee of the Drawing Shed and Shapeshifter Productions.

Isabel Moura Mendes role with the British Council entails coordinating the Momentum International Delegate Programme and managing the Creative Scotland/British Council partnership, which aims to foster international collaboration and dialogue. Brazil is a focus country for both partners, and their joint involvement is enabling the delegation to attend WoW Rio.

The delegates will be documenting their experiences on social media so do keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook to follow the delegation live during the festival over 16 – 18 November 2018.

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