near the end of my time studying in london for my BA, I did some work through an events agency. the work itself wasn't glamorous or well paid, as it mainly involved serving champagne and canapes to glamorous and well paid people in prestigious london venues. being a person of low glamour, I of course was never invited as a guest to any of these fancy events. that was, until last tuesday. I'd been invited to the london science museum to attend a promotional event held by the what I see project.
the champagne was out in force, the service of which was highly professional, and my respect for the events staff couldn't have been any greater. hosting the event was the founder of the not-for-profit project, the powerful businesswoman edwina dunn. the what I see project is (states its website) 'a global online platform that recognises and amplifies women's voices.' it is a project that celebrates women, and pushes for women's voices to be heard clearly in all areas of society and industry. their website features hundreds of video submissions from women all over the world answering the question, 'what do you see when you look in the mirror?'
after the event's drinks reception, the guests were ushered up into a huge IMAX cinema at the top of the museum. there was an introduction from edwina, and then a film was screened that featured the ambassadors of the project, which we watched while chomping away on complimentary popcorn. next there was a panel discussion and q+a from the ambassadors themselves - six esteemed and influential women who have had huge success in their respective careers. I thought this part of the event could have gone on much longer, as I felt the surface of the topic of women's rights and representation had only just been scratched.
then at the end of the evening there was one final thing to clear up. a competition to create a film on the subject of women's identity had been set over the summer, and the winner, I'd only found out a few hours earlier, was me. when my name was called out I stepped slightly nervously onto the stage, not entirely sure if I was expected to make some kind of speech (mercifully I didn't) and accepted the prize from the smiling edwina to the sound of a big audience clapping. the moment was brief, but it was a magic brief moment for sure.
some people have reacted with perplexity over why I, as a non-woman, would want to make a film about women. the answer is that it seemed entirely natural, but also I thought it would be a bit of a challenge to get right. the result hopefully comes across not at all as a male perspective on women, but rather a film that allows women to speak for themselves and express their own identities, which is after all the aim of the what I see project.
check out the what I see project: www.whatiseeproject.com
and check out my film: www.vimeo.com/75356055