International Women’s Day is an incredibly important day the world over. It empowers people to talk about female issues and celebrate women’s achievements and contributions to the world. But it also marks a whole year since we started Whitespace Women, our initiative to help tackle the gender imbalance and get women into the creative industries. 

We kicked off last year with an Open House event, asking women from all over who wanted to crack into the creative industries to come and tell us where they wanted to be and what they felt might stop them getting there. We were honestly blown away by the turnout. The feedback from that night was used to create a programme of events we’ve run over the last year, tackling each barrier one by one. 

One of the most significant problems was around confidence. So, our first workshop was Careers Confidence. We invited life coach Susie Eyton to break down confidence barriers, delivering a bespoke talk to our creative audience. Everyone left feeling much more kick-ass than when they came. 

Next up creative industry headhunter Susan Lindsay delivered a CV workshop around finding your superpower and identifying your strengths to give you the best chance to shine on paper! Tina Walsberger from Edinburgh International Festival and Claire Wood from Leith joined Susan for a panel discussion around what they look for in their ideal candidate. Our ladies left with top tips on how to make it into the yes pile!

And finally, to kick off 2019 we held the Big Book Crit, where we invited budding creatives to bring three projects to show our esteemed panel of industry big guns - Beth Wilson from Warrior, Tessa Simpson  from O Street, Iain Fletcher from Signal, Sam Muir from The Leith Agency, Ruth Yee from The Union and Sheryl Thompson from Union Direct. 

We’re incredibly proud of the people we’ve met, the people who have worked with us and the progress we’ve all made. And we’re delighted to have some success stories to share with you: 

 

Jo Frier

Account Executive at Whitespace

 

 

I attended the first Whitespace Women event just under a year ago when I wasn’t sure what life after university would hold - would I get a job? Where and what would it be? Whitespace Women helped to reassure me that there were plenty of opportunities out there, it was just about knowing how to show off your skills in the way that suits you.

I learnt about the different roles within an agency and what employers look for on applications. At the time, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, so I chatted to some of the lovely ladies that worked in various different departments to find out more about what I might be suited to. I also brought my CV along and asked someone to have a quick look over it to give me some advice, which looking back, I am certain was the difference in me getting subsequent interviews.

Fast-forward a few months and I was attending the second event as a Whitespacer. The advice I was given at Whitespace Woman was invaluable to helping me feel confident enough to apply for a job and start my career in the wonderful world that is the creative industries!

 

Niamh Curran

Junior Designer at Whitespace

 

 

I had just graduated from college when Whitespace Women advertised on social about their Career Confidence Workshop. Weirdly, I knew confidence was both one of my strengths and one of my issues. Put me in front of a hundred people and talk, nae bother, but put in front of an employer and talk about how great I am… worst nightmare.

I went along to the workshop on the HOTTEST day of 2018. Yes THE HOTTEST day and all these lovely women stayed back after their long day of work to help us instead of going to a beer garden. I already had a great feeling about it. 

The talk was absolutely fantastic and I met amazing women, both Whitespacers and other attendees (e.g the creator of the She Is Fierce Magazine?!?!) I was fan girling maybe a wee bit too hard. But I just couldn’t believe all of these opportunities were in one event! 

I was encouraged to apply for internship schemes, including The Oven at Whitespace. And I did. I am now the newest Junior Designer at Whitespace and I couldn’t be happier. Everything quite literally fell into place after the Whitespace Women event.

 

Natalie Loh

Designer

 

 

Whitespace Women events have been fantastic for meeting other creatives, the people I have met have been so inspirational for women launching their creative career. It is a great support network from which to get advice and hear about the journeys more senior creatives have had. The book crits and talks have definitely helped in giving me more confidence in showing and talking about my work. 

The people I have met have become both friends and collaborators. It is lovely to have a community I can bounce ideas off of and work with. They’ve made me feel excited and confident about entering the creative industries as a new designer. 

Since then, I’ve had internships with agencies such as Whitespace, AmazeRealise, Skyscanner, The Gate and The Leith has taught me a lot and they have all been so supportive. 

I’ve also had the opportunity to speak at TEDx Youth Glasgow last year. It was the most scary, humbling and rewarding experience so far. Meeting some of the students that attended was a huge inspiration for me to keep giving back when I can through the Daydream Believers project which encourages young students to think creatively and engage with industry.

If anyone else out there came to one of our events and has made it into the industry we would love to hear how you’re getting on!

 And us? Oh we’re just getting started!