The Audacious Women Festival empowers women to Do What You Always Wish You Dared.
It has been held annually in Edinburgh since February 2016.
The Festival produces a range of small, women-only workshops, offering creative and technical skills, sports and self-development. We also offer exhibitions, “conversations”, performances and pop-up events around Edinburgh. All participative events are women-only while those celebrating women’s work such as theatre performances and exhibitions are open to all.
Since April 2020 events have been held online.
The Festival is run on a voluntary basis by the Audacious Women Collective. It has received small grants, but overall is self-financing and works in partnership with workshop leaders, event providers and venues.
The Audacious Women Festival encourages and empowers women to break personal, political and institutional barriers through opportunities to Do What You Always Wish You Dared, and celebrates the achievements of audacious women from Scotland and beyond.
Our core activities are arts, creative and technical workshops, which support women to take on the challenge of new experiences, meeting new people or tackling difficult situations by providing safe, single-sex spaces where learned behaviours can be understood, confidence gained and self-doubt shared and overcome.
Artistic and creative skills encourage self-confidence and personal development, and workshops in technical skills such as computer coding give women opportunities to develop skills in a non-competitive and supportive environment away from the male gaze. We believe that single sex workshops provide essential support for many women in overcoming barriers and taking up challenges.
We also believe that women’s work should be valued, so we pay reasonable fees to our workshop leaders. These costs have to be balanced against our aim of keeping the Festival accessible to all women. So we have 3 ticket prices allowing participants to pay what they can afford, as well as some free events.
The Audacious Women Festival has run in Edinburgh every February from 2016-2020. Each Festival offered approximately 30 events and attracted audiences of 400-500 people, mainly women. In February 2021 it ran online, and will offer live events again as soon as possible.
The Festival is more than a series of events – it encourages conversations, contacts and support between participants, performers and the Collective which continue beyond the events themselves. The sense of solidarity and support which has evolved proved valuable in the first Covid-19 lockdown of Spring 2020, when we produced online events to help women stay connected.
We also created a weekly online publication, “AudaciaArt”, which took its inspiration from quotes by audacious women. (see audaciouswomen.scot/AudaciArt)
This gave us the confidence and competence to move the Festival fully online and we held 17 events from 19-21 February 2021. We developed a bespoke virtual Festival website which included 2 event venues, a café and an art gallery, all named for audacious Scottish women (www.festival.audaciouswomen.scot).
On 11 February we held a successful online event to launch both the 2021 Festival, including our first online art exhibition, and the new website.
During the Festival weekend we ran an “open café” where women could drop in for a chat, which reflected our live café in previous Festivals.
The café proved so popular that we continue to use it both as a casual drop in space from time to time, and for organised events. Since February 2021 we have developed a book group, a documentary film club and presented a series of monthly art exhibitions in the Gallery.
Visit our website at https://audaciouswomen.scot/, sign up to our mailing list and come along to events in our café. And if you have an idea for the next Audacious Women Festival in February 2022, do get in touch.
Festival webpage: www.festival.audaciouswomen.scot