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Latest News: Member News

Jude Kelly CBE to Leave Southbank Centre to Lead Global Development of Women of the World​ festival

Friday, January 19, 2018   (0 Comments)

Jude KellyJoin us in congratulating ISPA member Jude Kelly CBE on her new journey to focus on the global development of the WOW - Women of the World festival that she founded in 2010. After 12 years at the artistic helm of Europe’s largest cultural organisation, she will leave Southbank Centre in May following the reopening of the Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room.

Jude joined Southbank Centre in 2006 shortly before the unveiling of the newly refurbished Royal Festival Hall and since then, her bold programming has been driven by a belief that great art should be available to all, regardless of background. Through her artistic vision, Jude sought to bring people and communities together and as a result Southbank Centre has been transformed into a place that is open and welcoming for young and old alike and from diverse cultural backgrounds. Southbank Centre now attracts over 26 million people annually to its site and nearly 4 million people each year to its events (of which over 50% are free). It is the UK’s 5th most popular visitor destination. 

One of Jude’s most significant achievements has been the founding, in 2010, of the WOW - Women of the World festivals, which have now become a global movement. To date, there have been over 42 WOW’s in 23 countries across 6 continents. WOW celebrates the history and potential of girls and women in all fields of life and highlights the obstacles that prevent gender equality from being achieved. Jude will present WOW worldwide via a new organisation she is launching. The WOW Festival in London will continue to be presented in partnership with Southbank Centre. 

It is difficult to imagine a more stimulating and enjoyable time than the twelve years I’ve spent at Southbank Centre - and I shall miss it terribly. With the Centre in excellent hands, now is the perfect time for me to move on. In seven years Women of the World has grown from a single Southbank Centre festival to a significant presence on six continents and is now both intensely challenging and rewarding, with a terrific future ahead. As well as turning WOW into a global movement I shall be developing new artistic projects that arise from the core WOW idea. It is a very exciting time!” said Jude Kelly.

Read the full announcement on SouthBank Centre's website.