Q&A WITH JUDE KELLY, CBE
What’s the best thing about your job?
The people I meet, from all persuasions, who are dedicated to making the world a better place for the many.
Which achievements are you proud of?
Aside from my children, I’m very proud of having helped found a number of artistic institutions in the UK. However, my most recent endeavour was founding the WOW – Women of the World festival seven years ago. I couldn’t have predicted the global impact it would have: international WOW festivals now reach one million people across five continents.
What is the biggest obstacle to gender equality in your profession?
Although the opportunities for creative women in Western Europe have grown throughout my career, the permanent obstacle is the feeling that the male artist will be more naturally talented. Men are never referred to as ‘male artists’ and that gives you a clue as to why discrimination is just embedded, due to what we judge as normal as opposed to exceptional.
Which places in the city make you feel empowered as a woman?
The parks of London. The woman who began the movement for parks and the preservation of open spaces was the National Trust founder Octavia Hill.
What makes London special?
London has the most languages spoken in the world, which makes it an exuberant and surprising city at almost every turn in terms of food, music, writing, journalism and street life – I think that directly relates to its progressive tolerant nature.
What are your ambitions for 2017?
I’ve just come back from doing a WOW festival in Kathmandu, and I’m planning the second WOW in Karachi. I’ve also confirmed the dates for Beijing and Sri Lanka. It’s an amazing thing!