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Southbank Centre

Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery, as well as The Saison Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection.

Funding awards

  • 2012-2013: £19,714,455
  • 2013-2014: £20,167,887
  • 2014-2015: £20,709,928

Video feed

WOW 2015 | Activism Without Borders

What can UK-based activists learn from their international sisters? Leading international campaigners join forces to take a closer look at where their frontlines meet, discussing their successes and failures and asking how to turn international solidarity into global activism. Speakers include anti-FGM campaigner Nimco Ali (The Girl Generation), ‘honour’ based violence activist and founder of Karma Nirvana Jasvinder Sanghera, Turkish MP Şafak Pavey, and activist Jessica Horn. Chaired by journalist and curator Hannah Pool. With a keynote by Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development. #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Extremism

How and why are women led into extremist movements? What role does gender inequality play in these choices and has feminism failed the women for whom extremism remains the only option? Speakers include Shabana Kausar, black feminist activist and Women’s Aid National Schools Engagement Officer; Sasha Havlicek, founding chief executive officer of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue; Åsne Seierstad (pictured), author of One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway; and Hanif Qadir, founder and CEO of The Active Change Foundation. #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Levelling The Playing Field

The past year has seen highs and lows for women in sport. This panel, including Paralympic triple medallist swimmer Susie Rodgers, Iran’s first female triathlete Shirin Gerami, and one of Britain’s first Muslim female boxers, Ambreen Sadiq, talk about overcoming obstacles, battling prejudice and their own personal stories of being sports professionals. Chaired by director of BBC Sport Barbara Slater. #WOWLDN

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WOW 2015 | Being A Man - full session

Twelve months on from the first Being A Man festival at Southbank Centre, join a panel of key contributors including poet Anthony Anaxagorou (pictured); writer and broadcaster Ekow Eshun; psychotherapist John McKeown; and artistic director of The Red Room Topher Campbell to discuss 21st-century masculinity, from sex and relationships to fatherhood and feminism. #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Wonder Women of the Ancient World - full session

Historian Bettany Hughes and writer Charlotte Higgins discuss the lost heroines of the prehistoric and ancient worlds – women who were either wonderful or about whom we should wonder, from mother goddesses to Medea, Aphrodite to Cleopatra. #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Why Women Stay - full session

If we allow unacceptable things to pass as normal behaviour, then it’s assumed that nothing needs to change. If we reacted to every sexist injustice and slight, we would be in a constant state of embattlement. No other world exists to which we can escape so we are forced to operate within the given rules while trying to make change from within. But how do we carve out a new world while dealing with the daily inequality of this one? Jude Kelly discusses the emotional demands of becoming an activist for change while juggling the expectations and attitudes of family, friends, jobs and society. #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Maybe She's Born With It

Whether or not we believe we’re 'born' lesbian, bisexual or gay, we are all entitled to equality. Some change their sexuality over their lifetime, some don’t. We all have different stories and that’s fine. Join this debate hosted by DIVA magazine, with speakers from across the LGBT spectrum as they debate whether the idea of being born gay is a help or a hindrance to liberation. Speakers include film director Kristiene Clarke, DIVA deputy editor Louise Carolin, academic Dr Qazi Rahman and Susan Dickson, CEO of Diversity Role Models. Chaired by Jane Czyzselska, editor of DIVA magazine. #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Who Owns Your Body? - full session

A discussion spanning topics from FGM to plastic surgery. Despite many victories for gender equality, women’s bodies are still a battle ground. Whether it’s FGM, the threat to abortion rights or the increase in plastic surgery, who really decides what you do with your body? Speakers include USA blogger and activist Feminista Jones; live artist and body-builder Francesca Steele; co-founder of anti-FGM campaign Daughters of Eve Leyla Hussein; photographer and current Hayward Gallery exhibition artist Hannah Starkey; and vice-chair of Abortion Rights UK Kate Smurthwaite. Chaired by journalist and curator Hannah Pool. #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | The Women We Leave Behind - full session

The second of two panels across WOW looking at what happens to the rights of women and girls living in countries where western foreign policy, interventions and civil unrest create conflict zones, refugees and threats to human rights. Speakers include Anber Raz, Sexual Violence and Trafficking Programme Officer at Equality Now, Sue Turton of Al Jazeera, Maria Ali-Adib Pravda, the Syria Campaign, Iraqi MP Vian Dakhil and one of Nigeria’s leading journalists, Funmilola Iyanda. Chaired by Helena Kennedy QC. #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Lauren Laverne - highlights

Highlights from broadcaster Lauren Laverne, conversation at WOW 2015 - sexism in the music industry, motherhood, wanting to be Iggy Pop and the need to speak out. #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Quote - Sandi Okoro on being told "little black girls from Balham don't become judges"

When I was seven or eight, the teacher asked us what did we want to do. There were some silly answers, but I said "I said I want to be a judge." And (the teacher) turned around and said "Sandi, I'm sorry, but little black girls from Balham don't become judges." - Sandi Okoro #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Quote - Sandi Okoro on the march of progress

"Someone was asking me the other day, how do you cope with certain discrimination that's out there gender, race, sexual orientation, disability.. I say that you make that, that person's problem, not your problem. Because the world is going forward and that person is going to get left behind." - Sandi Okoro #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Quote - Sandi Okoro on female role models in public life

"Growing up in the '70s, there were many more strong female role models, in the media, then there are now. Whether you liked, or didn't like them, there were lots of them in professional life: Margaret Thatcher as prime minister, Shirley Williams, Barbara Castle, there was Angela Rippon reading the news - there were lots there. Though they didn't necessarily look like me, they were the same gender, so I thought that I could do things, I felt the world had changed. When I look now, I don't see so many of them and I think 'what has changed?'" - Sandi Okoro #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Quote - Kirsty Wark on porn and the need for sex education

"What was really horrifying was that some of the young men in the class admitted that ideas they got for sexual relations came from porn online, and it can not be underestimated how corrosive that is. The other thing I found extrordinary in that classroom was that there were boys and girls whose parents didn't talk to them about sex education, or indeed sex, and I think that as a starting point that is a no brainer." - Kirsty Wark #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Quote - Kirsty Wark on the inspiration for BBC2's Blurred Lines

"Forty years ago, the journey had started to bring men and women together to have some kind of gender balance. Here we are forty years later, and something had changed it. There was a coarseness: things were happening to young women that were extraordinary, that were upsetting. Things were happening in the social sphere like rape jokes and you couldn't imagine why." - Kirsty Wark #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Sandie Okoro in conversation - highlights

Highlights of a session where Jude Kelly talks to one of the most senior women in law in London, Sandie Okoro. More info: #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Quote - Shabana Kausar on the 'white saviour complex'

'What happens too often is you get people in the west saying 'Let's go and empower and free these women in the East with their backward notions of what it means to be a woman' and actually that's what the issue is. I think you've kind of got something called the white saviour complex.' Shabana Kausar, black feminist activist and Women’s Aid National Schools Engagement Officer, is speaking as part of a WOW session asking how and why are women led into extremist movements. More information: #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Quote - Shabana Kausar on why she is disillusioned with the feminist movement

'One of the things I'm really conscious of, and especially as a black feminist, is often we're not given opportunities or platforms to actually write or dictate our own stories - we'll often have people speak on our behalf.' Shabana Kausar, black feminist activist and Women’s Aid National Schools Engagement Officer, is speaking as part of a WOW session asking how and why are women led into extremist movements. More information: #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Annie Lennox in conversation - full session

Singer, songwriter and campaigner Annie Lennox OBE joins Jude Kelly to discuss humanitarian issues that women of the world face every day. #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Black LGBTQI Rights and Activism - full session

In 2014 the UK ranked top in Europe for LGBT rights for the third year in a row, but does this include the rights of LGBTQI people of colour? Join leading campaigners as they highlight and celebrate national and international black queer activism and discuss what ‘western feminism’ can learn from global anti-homophobic movements? Speakers include Skye Skyetshookii , forensic psychologist. Chaired by activist Jessica Horn.

WOW 2015 | Views on the News - Sunday - full session

Speakers include Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow, BBC London arts and entertainment correspondent Brenda Emmanus, Sarah Anderson from the No More Page 3 campaign and Robyn Archer, strategic advisor for arts and culture at Gold Coast in Queensland. #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Kirsty Wark: Blurred Lines - full session

2014 was an unprecedented year for the rights of women and girls, but are some things going backwards? In a follow up to her 2014 TV hit Blurred Lines Kirsty Wark and guests BBC Newsnight Editor Ian Katz and journalist & Curator Hannah Pool survey how British society see girls and women. This session arms you with facts and brings you up to date with the thinking behind them. Chaired by Jude Kelly. #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Salma Hayek Pinault - full session

Watch actress and filmmaker Salma Hayek Pinault present a keynote speech at this year's WOW festival, before an interview with Jude Kelly. The speech was made prior to a screening of The Prophet. Inspired by the classic book by Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet is an animated feature film written and directed by Roger Allers (The Lion King). It features chapters from award-winning animation directors from around the world and world-class musicians, singers, and composers. As a filmmaker, Salma Hayek Pinault has often championed the power of strong female stories and storytellers. In The Prophet, she focuses on a mischievous eight-year-old girl, Almitra, whose friendship with political prisoner and visionary Mustafa leads him to share his wisdom and poems. Almitra's remarkable courage and support of Mustafa are pivotal to the film's outcome. Salma Hayek Pinault also serves on the board of directors of the Kering Foundation and is a co-founder of CHIME FOR CHANGE. #WOWLDN

WOW 2015 | Injustice, Intrusion and Immunity - full session

A panel including those fighting for fundamental freedoms. In its first 15 years our Human Rights Act has achieved so much – not least in protecting the rights of women. From providing answers to grieving families to tackling state snooping, the legislation gives the voiceless a voice and holds the powerful to account. Hear not only from some of the lawyers working at the forefront of the fight for fundamental freedoms – including Emma Norton, Legal Officer for Liberty, and Harriet Wistrich, Solicitor at Birnberg Peirce & Partners – but from the victims themselves, including Helen Steel, who was deceived into a relationship by an undercover police officer. Chaired by Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty. #WOWLDN

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Contact details

Royal Festival Hall
Belvedere Road

51.505268, -0.11522

  • 51.505268 -0.11522

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