Sometimes it is hard to know how to find likeminded folk and make a stand about something you feel is important.
As well as being Chairman of the RSA I am also Chairman of an incredible arts organisation, 14-18 Now. It was established in 2014 and will run until the end of 2018, marking the 100 year anniversary of the First World War. It was established to provide extraordinary creative experiences by commissioning works of art that link the First World War to our lives now. Many of its activities are free and participative. The latest opportunity is Processions, which aims to create the largest participative artwork created by women and girls in the UK. If you would like to join in, please follow this link.
When we launched the programme in 2014 we feared that people might no longer be interested in the First World War, but not a bit of it. To date 30,000 people have participated in our programme up and down the country. I think the resonance of that war still lives with us – and it seems many people agree.
Standing with the crowd to watch the unveiling of the first statue of a woman in Parliament Square was a very moving experience. Talking afterwards to the artist Gillian Wearing was inspirational. If you get a chance, do get up close to it and look at the detail – the love and care that has gone into this public work of art is astonishing. The fact that it has taken so long for one woman to be included amongst all those men is equally astonishing.
On 10 June this year there will be an opportunity for women and girls to come together in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London and join a procession to celebrate women’s suffrage. The event is about female solidarity, creativity and a mass celebration of what women can achieve – and of course it highlights that more needs to be done to create a totally equal world. Now that IS worth signing up for, I believe.
Vikki Heywood CBE was appointed for a second three year term as RSA Chairman at the AGM in October 2015, the first time ever that the Chairman has been invited to remain. Previously, she was the Executive Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), a position from which she stepped down in 2013.