Q&A WITH JUDE KELLY, CBE

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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!

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