Across the world today, women are being celebrated. It’s Nice That is joining the occasion with a day of content that celebrates female creativity in all its forms.
We’re bringing you features, work and opinion pieces from an all-female cast of creatives across a range of disciplines: from fashion to photography, filmmaking to graphic design, publishing to illustration — all penned by a female-only team.
You’ll find creative voices and work from around the world, but we’re continually looking to expand our network of female creatives ever larger. If you’re a she – or a they, or a he – making work we don’t know about, please email us or submit new work here.
Thank you to each of our brilliant collaborators for their time, and a special shout out to Kate Prior, who is the woman behind the International Women’s Day illustration you’ll see across the site today.
Physical improbabilities made real: the work of French artist Marguerite HumeauRebecca Fulleylove —
“I see myself as an explorer – I like to question something and then I will try to go as deep as I can,” artist Marguerite Humeau says. “The research for me becomes a bit more of a performance in itself. Not in the live sense of the word, but it becomes part of the story I’m telling. It’s a long journey I have to take before I can actually realise or produce a physical outcome.” Marguerite feels she has a responsibility to “create an experience that tackles issues we have to think about today”. Living and working in London, France-born Marguerite, who graduated from the RCA just five years ago, is unlike many artists in that rather than create works about herself and her own journey, she dabbles with complex narratives and poses the biggest “what ifs?” imaginable. Each project we’ve come to know Marguerite for has been more complex and grand than the last and her research is just as much an artistic and creative process itself.
Saatchi & Saatchi’s chief creative Kate Stanners on changing advertising’s gender biasKate Stanners —
Kate Stanners is chairwoman and global chief creative officer at advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, overseeing the agency’s entire creative output for major clients from Proctor and Gamble to HSBC. Here she writes for It’s Nice That on the gender bias in the advertising sector and the women and campaigns already making a difference.
“They trust us on the art desk”: Buzzfeed’s prolific in-house illustrator Rebecca HendinLucy Bourton —
Rebecca Hendin is an illustrator with an audience that would make most envious. Her work is presented on a media platform that earns billions of page views per year, is published multiple times a day and is found among the most read content on the internet. The London-based, Missouri-born illustrator works in-house for Buzzfeed, producing images for articles that cover current affairs, think pieces and news stories. It’s a role that allows her to communicate with people through images on a scale that is unprecedented.Rebecca is a brave character. She began studying illustration at California College of Arts straight after high school but developed an itch to move. “I got this crazy idea in my head to move to London. It came from nowhere, I’d never been to London previously, I didn’t know anybody here,” she tells It’s Nice That. After the idea popped into her head Rebecca began to plan. “I literally googled ‘art schools London’ and Central Saint Martins was the first one that came up. I hadn’t heard of it, but it was the first google result, which is a very important thing in this world.” Rebecca applied, got in, and moved to London with the intention of year abroad. She ended up staying, graduating, and then completed a masters programme at the same university.
Meet the filmmaker bringing intersectional feminism to South Africa: Jabu Nadia NewmanBryony Stone —
Jabu Nadia Newman found her critical voice as a writer, filmmaker and photographer during South Africa’s student uprising of 2015 and 2016 when she became involved in University of Cape Town’s #FeesMustFall protest. Drawing from the women she met through the protest, Jabu, who was studying film and politics at UCT at the time, decided to put her degree on pause. In it’s place the filmmaker struck upon the idea of defining and representing intersectional feminism in South Africa’s post-apartheid landscape through a semi-autobiographical web series The Foxy Five.
“Visuals are political”: the Women Who Draw founders on diversity and empowermentJenny Brewer —
Illustration directory Women Who Draw almost accidentally spearheaded a movement when it launched, going viral and getting coverage in Vogue and BBC News, but it began purely as an initiative to get more female artists on magazine covers. Here we talk to the founders Wendy MacNaughton and Julia Rothman about the site and its meaning.
Gung-ho women: Visual Editions discuss sisterhood and motherhood in creativityLucy Bourton —
Publishers Visual Editions are a creative studio and joint personality that encompass rigour. It’s founders, Anna Gerber and Britt Iversen didn’t exactly form under the usual pretence of creatively led duos. Anna was a lecturer at the Royal College of Art, Britt worked in advertising at Mother, but the pair didn’t meet in a professional capacity, they met through their children. “Our kids went to quite an uptight nursery, lots of professional parents, we stuck out like sore thumbs,” they explain. From there, a mutual respect for each other grew. “We went out for dinner one night and were just talking how friends talk,” says Anna. “We realised we were so sick of talking and not doing. Our backgrounds were similar, we were not making, not testing, not reaching audiences. That was the beginning nugget of ‘wouldn’t it be cool if we published books that were only like this?’, and it just got out of control.”
Head of London College of Fashion, Frances Corner OBE tells us why fashion can be politicalFrances Corner —
Frances Corner has been Head of College at London College of Fashion since 2005, a role for which she earned an OBE for Services to Fashion in the 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours. In 2014 she penned “Why Fashion Matters”, a book of 101 essays around the impact of fashion on the world published by Thames & Hudson. Here, she writes for It’s Nice That on why, at a time of instability in the UK, US and around the world, we should be wearing our political opinions.
Founder of Women Who, Otegha Uwagba on her most inspirational booksRebecca Fulleylove —
Otegha Uwagba is the founder of Women Who, a platform she created to connect and support creative working women, and an endeavour inspired by her time working at some of London’s top ad agencies and Vice Media. To launch the platform, Otegha wrote Little Black Book, which sold out almost instantly and showcased the content that would be provided on Women Who. During her talk at Nicer Tuesdays in August 2016, Otegha explained how she wanted to help “women who are similar to collaborate” and highlighted how working as a woman “is an entirely different experience from being a man”. Otegha is also a freelance writer and consultant and a new volume of Little Black Book: A Toolkit for Working Women is set to be published by 4th Estate in June.
Games designer Phoenix Perry on coding in a male dominated industryLucy Bourton —
Phoenix Perry has a long list of occupations to her name. Currently a lecturer on Goldsmiths’ physical computing and games degree, Phoenix is also a computer science PhD researcher, games company owner, artist, programmer, game designer and activist. Throughout each of these differentiating practises there is a ongoing ethos: “to bring people together to raise awareness of our collective interconnectivity”.
Graphic designer Tracy Ma reflects on her career and her “scrappy, playful style”Rebecca Fulleylove —
“I guess what I’m trying to do with my work is to collect and understand and use as many codes of visual culture as possible,” explains graphic designer Tracy Ma. “I’m not sure what that gets you – I think the goal is that you convey as best as possible and little by little the mood now as you encounter it.”
“Textiles are for girls, materials are for boys": how Seetal Solanki of Ma-tt-er is crossing the gender divideSeetal Solanki —
Seetal Solanki is founder of material research consultancy Ma-tt-er, where she works on design projects of all kinds, bringing expertise in materials, where she aims to “bridge the gap between all industries”. Here Seetal talks about the terminology used and the gender-biased associations different words have in her field, and how a refreshed approach could provide more opportunities for everyone.
“What if Warhol was Pakistani?”: artist Amna Asghar explores her Muslim American identityJenny Brewer —
Artist Amna Asghar fuses pop-style screenprinting with painting to explore identity and culture. A Muslim American Pakistani woman based across Detroit and New York, she wants to visualise these experiences.
“I’ve always been interested in asking what if Warhol was Pakistani? What if Baldessari was a brown woman?” she says. “What sort of images would we see? It’s about inserting yourself into the Western canon of painting.”
Kate Prior finds inspiration in colour, protest and propaganda for our IWD briefIt's Nice That —
Today It’s Nice That celebrates International Women’s Day, and as part of our coverage we commissioned London-based illustrator Kate Prior to create an image that would provide a strong message to headline the homepage. “When I was approached, I just thought: ‘I’d love to do this’,” says Kate. “It’s an important chance to really celebrate female artists and creativity.”
Amie Norris explains why she started female-only photography agency, ACN StudioRebecca Fulleylove —
The idea for ACN Studio first came to Amie Norris back in October 2015 when she found herself unintentionally working on projects for only female photographers. Amie was previously a first assistant and digital tech working on production for various creatives including Mert and Marcus, yet found she wanted to work with artists in a more direct way. “In January 2016 I wanted to make a mark in my career to really inspire other women and younger women who want to work in the world of photography,” she explains. “I knew in my mind that I couldn’t start a ‘regular’ agency as this wasn’t meaningful enough for me. Photography has changed so much since I was assisting, and I’ve learned you have to have a nice to really catch people’s attention.”
“Women of colour need to be the ones photographing other women of colour”: photographer June CanedoBryony Stone —
Given that photographer June Canedo has been clocking up our double taps on Instagram for quite some time, International Women’s Day seemed like the perfect opportunity to profile the work of the photographer on It’s Nice That.
International Women's Day Mixtape: Deep Throat ChoirLucy Bourton —
When deciding a mixtape contributor for International Women’s Day, Deep Throat Choir, a 35-piece all female singing collective became an ideal choice. Deep Throat Choir encompass power, creativity and pure enjoyment, women coming together to sing all at once and individually.
Sisters Emily and Alice Stein release “I Am Nora”, a film about beauty in later yearsJenny Brewer —
Last year photographer Emily Stein published a series of photos focused on Nora Marie Harper, a retired architect in her mid 70s with a sad but fascinating life story. Honest, vivid and insightful, the shots told the true story of Nora’s persona.
Step into illustrator Jing Wei's wobbly parallel universeJenny Brewer —
With their surreal content and wobbly shapes, Jing Wei’s illustrations often have a dream-like quality. One image shows a girl wandering through a garden of giant heads and cacti, while another dangles precariously above ominous coral-like creatures. Running throughout the works is a use of rich hues, clean lines and strong narrative that takes you away from reality.