By Maud Webster| London, England
The Disney offices in Hammersmith, London hosted the inaugural Girl Up UK summit this October. 100 girls from across the UK, Europe, and even beyond gathered and experienced a host of stimulating workshops, inspiring speakers and got to chat to each other about their role within the exciting Girl Up global community.
It was a phenomenal opportunity to speak to like-minded girls, and the day was intensely programmed to ensure that every second was used productively.
There were so many incredibly special moments to the summit, but here were some of my highlights…
I got to speak in a Q&A type session alongside my fellow Dream Big Princess project member Bethel Kyeza, about our filmmaking experience and our tips for anyone wanting to get into the sector. Bethel emphasized how easy it can be to just pick up a camera and start filming:
In the age of mobile phones, anyone can be a filmmaker. - Bethel Kyeza
I also used the opportunity to mention how crucial community was, and how our group of 21 girls has grown and how we have all become so close over the course of the past few months being in this project. This was such a terrific experience, as we both got to express our passion for the programme and how excited we were to participate, as well as show our gratitude for those who made it possible.
During the afternoon, there was a great panel talk facilitated by the author and activist Scarlett Curtis, hosting Alice Skinner, Honey Ross and Saba Asif. Frank, firm and often very funny, this trio discussed their own activism, and how to deal with the barriers along the way.
I also got to participate in Scarlet’s workshop earlier in the day, were we helped to ‘finish’ the book, Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (in which Maryam and Nivaal are actually contributors!). It was great to hear from a range of girls on their experiences of feminism, and how they view the topic in relation to their own lives.
Lunch was fantastic, not just because of the incredible food, but because I got to sit down with other girls and discuss how they’d found the day and discoveries they’d made themselves. I sat with a couple of girls from my own Girl Up group, as well as a lovely girl from Brazil & two girls from France, one of whom was Ines who I was to lead a workshop with later in the day. I think one of the best things about the Girl Up community is how friendly everyone is, and how we’re all united by the work we’ve done for and with the organization, and how our political and social views manifest themselves in the places we live.
The last highlight I’ll mention is leading a workshop alongside Ines, on Social Media & Social Activism. Ines is an incredible young activist, a teen advisor for Girl Up, and also the founder of the first club in France, and it was an honour to co-lead alongside her. The main body of the workshop was a discussion from across the board on individual tips and tricks for planning events and social activism, and both repeats of the workshop were completely full, which was heartwarming to see.
The day was also great for meeting several people from my own region, Norfolk, who were either involved already in a Girl Up club, or were looking to join. This networking opportunity was exceptional and I can’t wait to bring forward the conversations into future plans. The event as a whole was incredibly motivational, and I can’t wait to implement some of the knowledge I’ve gained into my personal life, my activism, and my Girl Up group.
Girl Up Leadership Summit Photos - Source: Girl Up
If you’re interested in finding out more about the organization, see their website here: girlup.org or @girlupcampaign on social media. The group I’m part of, Girl Up Norwich, can be found on social media under @girlupnorwich too, for more photos and videos from the event!