Updated: Mar 14, 2020
This week Greater than 11%’s producer extraordinaire, Ursie Downes and I headed to Edinburgh to record some interviews. It has been on >11%’s agenda since late last year, as it is one of our objectives to promote creative careers and women across ALL of the UK (and beyond).
Renee Vaughan Sutherland & Ursie Downes
We had an incredible trip - bagged 4 interviews with some super talented & inspiring women smashing it in their fields. We also managed to find the biggest plate of vegan nachos we’ve ever seen thanks to the Auld Hoose. 🥑
Auld Hoose, Edinburgh
We worked super hard to raise sponsorship to assist us with our; travel, accommodation and production costs - contacting a lot of people, brands and organisations. Responses were super positive; typically we would receive a suggested list of women to interview with a redirection to someone else 'who may be able to provide financial or in kind support.'
We’ve now got a LONG list of creatives to interview in Scotland.
By early last week we had only managed to raise 1/3 of what we needed to cover the costs. Ursie and I discussed what this meant: drastically scaling back our ambitions of recording 10+ interviews 🙁 across Edinburgh & Glasgow and both of us making up the shortfall with our own cash. We decided to do it - support each other and deliver on the assistance >11% had received from those helping get us to Scotland.
On Monday, the day before we were to travel, I got an email from one of the sponsors saying they could no longer support us and ‘best of luck’. 😱
In between teaching, I was juggling responding to this bomb & having fast and furious WhatsApp discussions with Ursie, who was also having an intense day preparing handover notes for her 3 days leave to go to Edinburgh.
I’m pleased to say we part rectified the sponsor withdrawing but not wholly - again we made the decision to make up the shortfall.
Ursie Downes and Susie Lowe
Arriving late Tuesday night our first interview was scheduled for 9am the next day, with the super talented commercials photographer, Susie Lowe. We then zipped all over the city catching up with Creative Director - Hilary Joiner, followed by Curator - Nicky Wilson and wrapping the day at 8pm after a gorgeous interview with Hannah Taylor of the Delicate Rébellion. If you don’t know what Hannah does, how she does it and why she is so incredible - check out her socials & website. She is a gem. 👑
The Delicate Rébellion, like Greater than 11%, aims to create platforms for creatives to; connect, share their work and successes, in addition to promoting women. Our discussion naturally flowed into the challenges and slog to find and secure sponsorship for those, like us, are supporting and creating space for others. We can’t lie - it was a momentary sense of relief to not feel so isolated when we heard Hannah’s experiences mirrored ours.
Greater than 11% isn’t focused on solely bagging interviews or hosting events featuring those that already have an established presence in the industry. We are EQUALLY focused, driven by creating opportunities and providing platforms for those that have not had the chance, been overlooked or who even haven’t been asked. We know this is how change will happen: creating space and opportunities for those missing from the creative industries. We think this is one of our strengths, but it does mean that interest in what we do is perhaps not sponsorshiptastic… yet.
I go back to the beginning of this post - we had an incredible time in Edinburgh and are so pumped by the women we met, interviewed & in some small way extending the reach of >11% beyond London. We are both lucky and privileged we could make it happen.
But in this instance we didn’t achieve everything we set out to do. We by no means captured the diversity we aspired to. We did however support each other, connect with some bloody awesome women who were equally generous with their time (thank you Hilary Joiner for driving us to the outskirts of Edinburgh and back) and we have four interviews that we can put out in the world that will connect and inspire others. A small step, but a small step forward nonetheless.
The reality of #eachforequal as we experience it, running Greater than 11% and in the case of getting to Scotland, is that it requires a lot of hard work - which is EQUALLY as joyous as it is blood, sweat and tears.
Ursie Downes & Renee Vaughan Sutherland
If you are a brand or organisation that would like to jump in and support us working towards ensuring we arrive at a diverse creative industries within years, not decades, please do get in touch - we need your help to make it happen.