Ladies, Wine & Design is a global non-profit initiative started in New York City in 2016 by art director and designer Jessica Walsh.
In just 3 short years the initiative has spread to over 100 chapters in 250 cities worldwide, promoting a supportive relationship between creatives through mentorship circles, portfolio reviews, talks & creative meet-ups.
Jessica Walsh witnessed first hand how peers can be competitive and unsupportive of one another after experiencing hate mail, jealous remarks, and outright sexism from other women in the industry. You can read all about it over on 12 Kinds of Kindness, a project set up by Jessica and Timothy Goodman.
She also highlighted that only a small percentage of creative directors are women or non-binary, and she wanted to help change this.
Cue, Ladies Wine and Design.
A global community of creative females, and people who do not identify as men, that meet up each month to share ideas, collaborate and have casual conversations on an array of topics covering creativity, business and life over a glass of something.
There are 13 LWD chapters here in the UK and the Cheltenham LWD chapter was set up by Georgina Thorne, our very own Design festival director and co-founder of Factory Pattern in January 2019.
Georgina started a Cheltenham chapter to help continue Jessica’s mission. She works in digital design, where an eye-watering 78% of the UK’s design workforce is male and she wanted to support other females in the industry.
Here’s what she has to say about setting up the Cheltenham chapter:
“When you run your own business, it’s quite hard to meet other people from the same town that do the same job as you. We’re all so busy getting stuck into our own work, and when you’re the competition it’s just not the done thing to hang out. I also work in a small team, which was predominantly male at the time I set up the chapter, and I missed having another female perspective.
It has been an amazing experience getting to know other women in creative roles in Cheltenham, hearing their stories and being able to champion their work.
I have also got to know creative course leaders at Gloucestershire University who encourage students to come along to our meet ups so they can get a real insight into the creative industry, which is so important.
I’m really happy to say that Factory Pattern now employs 2 graduates from the Graphic Design Degree course, so I’m no longer the only girl in the studio! And they are both really keen to use LWD as a way to help other graduates find work placements and employment.”
Ladies Wine and Design will be hosting one of their creative meet-ups over the festival weekend where all of the UK chapters and fellow designers can come together to hear from female leaders in the design industry, learn something new and be totally inspired. Tickets will be available soon.
So, if you work, teach or study in the creative sectors (and identify as female) and want to be part of growing community of female creatives here in Cheltenham, then a Ladies Wine and Design meet-up is just the place.