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 brought together women across Turkey to be part of this movement. Based in a global city of 15 million people, WOW Istanbul festival focused on Seeing the City through Women’s Gaze, and shared 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 aimed to be accessible to all under the consultancy of ‘Erişilebilir Her Şey’ (Everything that is Accessible) : it incorporates enhanced accessibility tools for all visually and hearing-impaired audiences. Simultaneous Turkish sign language interpretation, Turkish and English subtitle interpretation and simultaneous interpretation into Turkish is available throughout all broadcasts (except the civil society workshops)