Women in Film and TV launch Northern Network at University of Salford

Friday 23 October 2015

Women in Film and TV (UK), the leading membership organisation for women working in creative media in the UK launched their Northern Network at the University of Salford earlier this week. 

On Tuesday 20th October over 100 women from across the North’s creative industries came together to network and discuss the challenges facing women in the media.  The Chief Executive and CEO of WFTV, Kate Kinninmont MBE and Janet Harrison, director of Cofilmic opened up the event, giving powerful speeches about tackling discrimination and the underrepresentation of women in the media industry.

The University’s Dr Kirsty Fairclough-Isaacs then led a panel discussion with prominent figures in the film and television industries on skills shortages and opportunities for women in the North of England’s media industry.

Panellists included;

Cat Lewis, CEO & Exec Producer, Nine Lives Media
Joanna Blake, Development Producer, BBC Writersroom
Bekki Wray-Rogers, Producer, Duck Soup Films
Caroline Cooper Charles, Head Of Film, Creative England

WFTV (UK) was founded in 1989 when a group of women came together for the first official meeting.  The UK branch is part of an international network of over 10,000 women worldwide.  They were a mix of business executives, creatives and performers, including Linda La Plante, Dawn French, and Janet Street Porter. These were successful women who were frustrated with the still male-dominated industry which demanded they be engaged in a constant struggle to be heard and respected.

They resolved to take positive action and follow in the footsteps of organisations in LA and New York, which had been established in the 70s, to support women working in the film and TV industries. They did this by creating a network of members and organising workshops, events, mentoring and awards to help them progress in their careers.

In 1990 the first Women in Film and Television Awards ceremony was held to recognise the achievements of some of the most successful women the industry could boast. 24 years on, the Awards is the largest annual celebration of women working in film, TV and digital media in the UK and has become a 'must attend' event.  The organisation has grown from being run by volunteers to having, 4 full-time members of staff, a busy programme of events and a well-respected Mentoring Scheme.  

Speaking after the launch of the WFTV Northern Network, Dr Fairclough-Isaacs said: “The School of Arts and Media are very pleased to be able to support Women in Film and Television UK as part of our engagement strategy based on ambition and equality. We look forward to hosting further Women in Film and Television North events at MediaCityUK this year. It is very important for us to build a dialogue to address other areas of our work in creative media where women are underrepresented. The response to the launch of the Northern network last night was fantastic, the event was fully booked within a day and our students, staff and leading women in the film and television industries were able to share their experiences and open up the conversation about the contribution of women in those industries. For our students in particular, it’s so important that we give them early opportunities to become familiar with the dialogues and debates taking place within their chosen areas of professional development. ”

Image courtesy of Justyna Zacharenko of our BA(Hons) Photography course