WOW İstanbul Festivali grafik görseli

The British Council has brought together the WOW Foundation in the UK and the Sabancı Foundation in Turkey to run the first Women of the World Festival in Istanbul on 5-6-7 March, in celebration of International Women’s Day. WOW is a global movement that believes a gender equal world is desirable, possible and urgently needed, and WOW Istanbul will bring together women across Turkey to be part of this movement. Based in a global city of 15 million people, WOW Istanbul festival will focus on Seeing the City through Women’s Gaze, and will share women’s stories through music, performance, videos, discussion and debate to give voice to the women making up half of the city’s inhabitants, as well as women from all over Turkey. 

WOW Istanbul is unique in bringing together the arts and culture sector with civil society to celebrate women and create new collaborations to address women’s issues, based on the power of the arts to create new ways of seeing the world and new and inclusive forums for reflection and dialogue.

The programming of WOW Istanbul Festival has been realised by the British Council Head of Arts Esra A. Aysun, with the collective support of the curation team formed by Sabancı Foundation Programs Coordinator Ayşegül Bayar and Sabancı Foundation Programs Director Özen Pulat, and the advisory board formed by Asena Günal (Anadolu Kültür), Aslı İkizoğlu Erensü (Sabancı University), İpek Bozkurt (We Will Stop Femicide Platform), Özlem Ece (İKSV), Rümeysa Çamdereli (Havle), Ülker Uncu (BGST).

WOW Istanbul aims to be accessible for all under the consultancy of “Erişilebilir Her Şey” (Everything that is Accessible). Simultaneous Turkish sign language interpretation, Turkish and English subtitle interpretation and simultaneous interpretation into Turkish will be available throughout all broadcasts. 

For the full list of speakers and artists please see the website

Women of the World Festival videos:

WOW Istanbul Think Ins

Each WOW Festival around the world is dedicated to a city and starts with Think Ins – opportunities for the community at large to help develop the festival content. The first two Think Ins were moderated by the Jude Kelly herself on 17 and 18 September 2019 at Feriye Istanbul with the participation of 100 women from diverse fields of the public sector. The participants discussed the most relevant topics they would like to see represented in the festival, the ideas that can be developed into the programme, how this festival can give a better voice to the women of Istanbul and how can it become more accessible. WOW Think Ins will continue over the period.

You can view the Think In photos via here

  • Watch British Council Turkey Arts Director Esra A. Aysun's interview on Women Power in Culture program here.
  • Visit our YouTube channel to watch WoW Think In Testimonials.
  • Watch British Council Turkey Arts Director Esra A. Aysun's interview on WoW Think Ins here.

WOW Warm Up Women Power in Culture Talks

Think Ins were followed by the first session of the WOW Warm Up Women Power in Culture talks on 18 September 2019 at the Pera Museum. Jude Kelly and Gülseren Onanç, Founder, Equality and Justice Women Platform discussed how women support the future of societies with their actions and how women can bring in new perspectives both to their countries and to the world over their own experiences.

You can view the Warm Up photos via here.

  • Visit our YouTube channel to watch Jude Kelly and Gülseren Onanç's interview.
  • You may watch the video for WoW Warm Up Women Power In Culture Talks here.