News / 09 Apr 2024

Creative Networks x Kerning The Gap: Growing Pains

Creative Networks

Jane, Eve, Sarah and Anna sit on chairs in front of a screen showing their headshot images, full names and organisations on blue, pink and orange backgrounds, Eve, a person with short blonde hair, is holding the microphone.

Jane Bowyer, Eve Warren, Sarah Dear and Anna Wanczyk. Photograph by Mia Holman Harris.

Two people, Jane and Anna, stand on a stage in front of a screen with the Creative Networks logo.

Jane Bowyer and Sarah Dear. Photograph by Mia Holman Harris.

Anna is holding a microphone and stands in front of a screen with an image of the 'We Can Do It!' World War two campaign women. On the screen is a longer description of the organisation Kerning the Gap.

Anna Wanczyk, Kerning the Gap. Photograph by Mia Holman Harris.

A person holding a microphone stands in front of a screen with capitalised text that reads: why aren't there more women at the top?

Jane Bowyer, A Studio Called Jane. Photograph by Mia Holman Harris

Sarah Dear and Jane Bowyer joined Anna Wanczyk from Kerning the Gap to chat about their career journeys and provide insight into the creative industries in the North at 'Growing Pains', a Creative Networks event held in celebration of International Women's Day.

Kerning the Gap is a community that Nat Maher started in 2015, aimed at getting more women into leadership roles within the design industry. For several years she had been noticing less and less women at the tables she sat at and asking herself the question “where have all the women gone…?”.

The first speaker of the event was Sarah Dear. Sarah is the Co-Founder and CEO of Leeds based agency Born Ugly. Sarah has over 25 years’ brand consultancy experience. She loves the buzz and pace of the retail world and has spent most of her career in the sector, working with clients such as ASDA, M&S, Argos and Tesco as well as North American retailers Walmart and Loblaw.

"The creative industries are worth 108 billion pounds to the economy. They're growing one and a half times faster than the rest of the economy so it's (...) super important to the future of this country, so you should be really proud."

Sarah Dear, CEO of Born Ugly

Jane Bowyer, Designer and Director from A Studio Called Jane was next to speak. Jane is a graphic designer and illustrator specialising in illustration, web design, branding and print. From her position as Senior Designer at Raw Design Studio, she now works as an independent designer and illustrator working directly with clients and with design studios on a freelance/consultancy level.

Her own studio practice, which she describes as "one women studio, not a one woman show", was set up following a redundancy, but also in response to the challenges of being one of just a handful of women working in design agencies at a senior level. Through her practice, including her side project ‘Women in Print’, Jane is passionate about increasing confidence in women’s creativity and celebrating their achievements.

“Confidence in women’s creativity goes beyond gender identity and champions creative styles, practices and qualities traditionally considered to be feminine. At the same time, it doesn’t shy away from issues related to gender representation, empowerment, and challenges faced by women and non-binary people in the creative industries.”

Jane Bower, Director of A Studio Called Jane

The event finished with a panel discussion hosted by Eve Warren from Kerning the Gap, with an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.

"We've had such great feedback from the event, people were so inspired and I think there was definitely a thirst for more design events in Leeds!"

Anna Wanczyk, Designer and Co-Founder of Kerning The Gap

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