The British Council believes that gender equality and women’s empowerment are crucial to creating inclusive, open, and prosperous societies. Empowering women and promoting gender equality is crucial not only as a basic human right but also has a multiplier effect across all areas accelerating sustainable development.
The Arts programme of British Council in Turkey is focused on diversifying audiences for the arts by working outside ‘traditional’ arts spaces and identifying and developing skills of new curatorial voices and creative entrepreneurs who champion a more inclusive and accessible arts offering at new forums. Hence, supporting female leaders and artists in culture who are explicitly working to diversify audiences is a key aspect of our programme.
Our Women and Leadership in Arts and Culture programme that has been initiated to support and work with the women creatives and civil society activists working on gender equality in Turkey, started with Women Power in Culture Research. The programme continued with the women leaders’ professional development programme in the UK, #WomenPowerinCulture grant scheme for organisations showcasing UK female artists, Festival Arena - a radio programme on gender equality at Açık Radio followed by Istanbul’s input to the digital WOW Global24 festival in June 2020 and the Women of the World Festival Istanbul to be held digitally in March 2021.
WOW - Women of the World was founded by Jude Kelly in 2010, when the first WOW Festival took place at Southbank Centre. Since then, WOW Festivals celebrating women and girls, and taking a frank look at the obstacles they face, have taken place across the globe, reaching more than two million people. To date, WOW has staged over 65 festivals and events across six continents, reaching more than two million people. As one of the global partners to WOW Festivals, the British Council is proud to present WOW Istanbul in March 2021.
WOW Istanbul will create a safe, welcoming and inclusive digital space for dialogues with a priority of initiating collaborations between women professionals in the creative sectors and the civil society.
In support of this, we have initiated an open call for a new Grant Scheme to support showcasing of four women artists from Istanbul to present works of music and performing arts (theatre or dance) online at WOW Istanbul.
The aims of this Grant Scheme are;
-to create opportunities for women musicians, theatre and dance makers to voice their ideas on gender equality as well as showcase their arts and talents through diverse, inclusive, and innovative programming on the digital.
-provide an opportunity for artists to connect to audiences at the time of pandemic when audiences are advised not to get into closed spaces with crowds.
-share, celebrate and broaden appreciation of the artistic excellence of women artists from Turkey.