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lw&d birmingham

lisa and lindsay | she/her

Hey, hows things?

Hi! We’re good thank you, how are you? (yeah im great thank you, thanks for coming on!)

For those that do not know tell us about yourselves!

Sure, we’re Lisa Barrett and Lindsay Baker. We’re both independent freelance graphic designers, and share a studio in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. We co-host the Birmingham chapter Ladies, Wine & Design.

Tell us about LW&D.

Ladies, Wine and Design is a global community founded by Jessica Walsh in New York. It’s present in over 285 cities worldwide and exists to champion female and non-binary creatives. The creative industries sadly are still a very unequal place when it comes to gender, with white males taking the majority of the senior roles and the highest pay.

Our chapter here in Birmingham has hosted a range of events including exhibitions, workshops, talks and socials to help bring together and celebrate the talented female and non-binary creatives we have in the region.

You took over the Birmingham chapter of Ladies Wine & Design back in 2018. How did this come about?

We both met at a previous LWD Birmingham event back in 2017 when Kerry Leslie and Charlotte Audrey were hosting. When they announced they were looking for successors we decided to put ourselves forward for it, and in 2018 we took over the role as chapter leaders. We both had similar careers and backgrounds and being freelance designers allowed us to have the flexibility to volunteer some time to grow the chapter. And here we are four years on!

Ladies, Wine & Design is for women and non-binary creatives. How important is it for these voices to be elevated in the industry?

Whilst our industry has made progress it’s still a very gender unbalanced place. It’s a white boys club at the top. Until we get parity in terms of pay, opportunities and career development and stamp out sexism and unwelcome sexual behaviour, we won’t stop pushing for our voices to be heard and our talent and worth recognised.

The pandemic affected all of us in so many ways, how did you guys adapt?

Yeah it’s been tough for so many reasons hasn’t it, it’s felt like a marathon at times. In the first year, we adapted quite quickly and ran some events like our ‘Drink and Doodles’ online which were great and meant our audience participation expanded, with attendees as far as Jakarta and Atlanta.

We did a fair few zoom events, but in the second year of the pandemic, we all got a bit fatigued with online events. The risks of in-person events were still quite high, so we took a bit of a hiatus really to focus on our personal lives, and get through the strange times.

We had our first in-person event just before Christmas and it was great to see some faces irl again.

Anything exciting coming up?

Our next event will be happening on Saturday 26th March, which is a visit to the British Art Show 9 over in Wolverhampton. We’ll be exploring the exhibitions at both the School of Art and the Art Gallery with a guided tour by Head of School Maggie Ayliff. Followed by a cuppa and a catch up in the Gallery cafe. This is a new format for us, but we were keen to mix things up this year.

Can anyone get involved?

Sure, most of our events are only open to people who identify as women or non-binary, but on occasion, we have events open to all. We keep our events as accessible as possible so they are usually free to attend.

You are both part of the Birmingham Design Festival. Tell us more about what you do and how you’re involved.

We’re super proud to be part of BDF - it’s a wonderful event that has really helped to grow the creative community here in Brum and also help put the city on the map.

The festival is run by directors Luke Tonge and Daniel Alcorn who are super-humans, and we’re both part of the wider delivery team along with Andy, Winnie, Neeraj and Dan. We help with things like coordinating volunteers, organising sponsorship and we all are involved in the decisions on things like speakers, venues and events in the lead-up to the festival.

Luke and Dan’s vision was to put on a world-class festival that was welcoming, un-pretentious and inspiring and they’ve certainly built a reputation for that. We’re always astonished at what they pull off!

The festival will run from 9-11 June this year. We definitely recommend you grab a ticket!

Young creatives will look up to these platforms, do you feel the pressure to make a difference?

I think more than anything it’s about making the community open to all, accessible, affordable, diverse and welcoming.

Birmingham Design also launched a mentoring programme last year and it's running for the second time this year, which links up emerging creatives with seasoned people in the industry for a 12 month mentorship. Birmingham by nature is a friendly city, and the creative community is small enough to really feel like you know everyone and that makes it a super supportive place to grow your career.

Is there any advice you would give to these creatives?

If you’re at the start of your career it’s the freest and most exciting time for you.

I guess we’d just say go for it, work hard but always be kind to yourself and others as you grow. Your portfolio is one thing, but mainly people remember you for how good you were to work with, so always bear that in mind.

Take advantage of events that are happening as part of the design and creative sector in Birmingham - like BDF, Gather, Overlap, BCU Type Talks - it's a chance to meet people, learn from other designers and creatives and get a sense of agencies and organisations who might be your future employer!

I want to start featuring more people on this platform so with this in mind, who are your standout creatives?

Gosh, there are so many! So here’s three...

Abbie Rielly - illustrator

Zoe Roberts - Dual Works

Tina Jiwa - freelance designer

For my final question, what's next?

We’re excited to be growing the LWD Birmingham team this year, and details of our new members will be announced soon. Watch this space!

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