Skip to main content

International Women's Day

Written by
UAL Awarding Body
Published date
05 March 2019

Our Chief Examiner's most inspirational women

For International Women's Day 2019, we asked our Chief Examiners which women they have been inspired by within their creative practice and throughout their lives. See some of their responses below!

Roxanne de Bastion

"Roxanne is a great example of a contemporary musical artist who has a brilliant work ethic and ethos regarding her work and the industry." - Andy Sankey, Chief Examiner for Music Performance and Production.

You can find out more about Roxanne and her work here:

Maya Angelou

Portrait of Maya Angelou

Image copyright Stephen Parker/Alamy Stock Photo

"Maya Angelou, a black American poet and writer of fiction and non-fiction, rose up from a difficult childhood and provided a positive message of humanity and hope. Although we are poles apart culturally, her wisdom and her stories touched me, particularly during the time my husband and I were bringing up young twins of Ghanain descent, and integrating them into an otherwise white family and community. She said “in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” She helped me to inspire two young minds and provide them with a clear sense of identity." - Sue Cook, Chief Examiner for Foundation Art & Design.

"An extraordinary woman, writer, poet, activist, singer and actor. I admire her wisdom, defiance and inner strength. Reading her books has never ceased to inspire me." - Justine Head, Chief Examiner for Fashion Business & Retail.

Coco Chanel

Portrait of Coco Chanel

"A revolutionary designer who challenged the boundaries of fashion and how garments are worn by women. She was fearless in breaking the rules and creating an aesthetic that still has longevity and authenticity today. Her creation of an extraordinary brand has lasted for over a century." - Justine Head, Chief Examiner for Fashion Business & Retail.

Thelma Schoonmaker

Portrait of Thelma Schoonmaker

Image copyright Jake Chessum.

"The talent behind films that will be watched forever - few people know she is the machine behind Scorsese.  A visual storytelling genius." - Jo Harland, Chief Examiner for Creative Media Performance & Production.

Dulcie Moore

"Dulcie was the artistic director of my local youth theatre (Focus Theatre Workshop) and her influence is still felt by many to this day. She inspired in her students a deep love and respect for the craft of theatre-making and created a safe-place for us misfits to belong." - Marc Mollica, Chief Examiner for Performing & Production Arts.

Rei Kawakubo

Portrait of Wei Kawakubo

"A designer who never stops challenging convention through her innovation. Her collections are like art, creating a strong aesthetic where both clothing and space create architecture for the body. She always challenges the norm through her three-dimensional exploration of line, shape and texture. Her work is never ordinary always extraordinary." - Justine Head, Chief Examiner for Fashion Business & Retail

Many more women were listed as being inspirational to our Chief Examiners. Have a look a the list below to see whether any of these women could be of inspiration to you in your creative practice.

Kate Bush - singer, songwriter and record producer
Joan Littlewood - theatre director
Anne Bogart - theatre and opera director
Rickie Lee Jones - musician, songwriter and producer
Valentina Tereshkova - cosmonaut and engineer
Marie Curie - researcher and Nobel Prize winner
Aloha Wanderwell - author and filmmaker
Gertrude Bell - writer and archeologist
Patti Smith - musician, performer and poet
Simone de Beauvoir - writer, intellectual, activist, feminist
Barbara Hulaniki - dress designer and founder of Biba
Lee Miller - photographer and surrealist muse
Lucien Day - textile and product designer
Zaha Hadid - architect
Eleanor Powell - dancer
Vanessa Bell - painter
Barbara Hepworth - sculptor
Edith Head - costume designer

Check out our posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram throughout the day to find out which inspirational women have been inspiring creative students all over the UK!