#IWD2022: Creative Women - Jackie Jones

04 March 2022 by Michelle

To celebrate International Women's Day on Tuesday 8th March 2022, we're hosting a series of feature interviews with dynamic, trailblazing and courageous women working in creative fields who have a connection to Lancashire. Jackie Jones is an Arts Producer who has been working on creative and cultural projects in Lancashire since 2010.

#IWD2022: Creative Women - Jackie Jones

International Women's Day is an annual event that has been celebrating women since 1911.

This year's theme of #BreakTheBias continues the global call to stand up for a more equitable and inclusive world free of discrimination and stereotypes. This initiative is an opportunity to honour the women in your life and encourages us all to take action for equality, so that we can forge a gender-equal world.

Meet the next of our featured women for this year's Creative Lancashire International Women's Day campaign.

Jackie Jones is an Arts Producer who has been working on creative and cultural projects in Lancashire since 2010.

Working with Super Slow Way, she is helping to deliver a cultural development programme across Pennine Lancashire encompassing Blackburn, Hyndburn, Burnley, and Pendle.

Tell us more about what you do?

I work with variety of partners, venues, artists and lead production teams delivering site specific and public realm projects. 

You will often find me in work clothes and layers of jumpers in fields, on canals, in historic Lancashire cotton mills, up scaffolding, or planning how to tackle the latest creative and practical challenges.

Jackie Jones in a yellow sweater in front of her computer with backdrop of white wall and blue map. Image by Rachel Ovenden.

What is your connection to Lancashire?

My grandparents were from Keighley, which though in Yorkshire, is very close to the areas where we work. It’s a countryside that’s familiar, ingrained. Any time I travel from south to north and the buildings change to sand stone, I always feel connected to family.

Through working in Queen Street Mill for the British Textile Biennial, last year I found out great grandfather was a bobbin maker, strengthening the links to place and the work I do here.

I’ve moved around a lot and lived in six counties in the UK, and landed in Preston after a year and a half of South American adventure and sailing half way round the planet, a massive change, but very gradually, and naturally I’ve taken root.

BTB Brigid Mcleer Exhibition at Queen Street Mill, Accrington. Image by Jackie Jones.
BTB Queen Street Mill, Brigid Mcleer Exhibition, Bobbins. Image by Jackie Jones.

How long have you been doing this work?

I have been working as a production manager and producer in Lancashire since 2010. I started freelancing in 2017 and have worked with organisations and artists across the sector.

This includes local organisations and events such as Deco Publique, Festival of Making, Lancashire Encounter, They Eat Culture, and those further afield such as Future Everything, 14-18 NOW and Belfast International Arts Festival, and artists including Suzanne Lacy and Lubaina Himid.

Historically, I came onboard with Super Slow Way during the Textile Biennial, but as of this year I am now working with them full time.

Jackie working on Red banners for Red Dream Parade - Lancashire Encounter 2018 Photo by Philippe Handford
Embroidered banner display from Banner Culture - Brierfield Mill - British Textile Biennial 2019 Super Slow Way. Photo by Philippe Handford.

Have you always done what you currently do?

I trained as a theatre designer alongside working in this field I have also worked in digital and web design, plus a stint as a cycle courier in Soho. After putting my feet back on solid ground after sailing the south Pacific, there were so many transferable skills from set design to arts producing.

I’ve always been very practical and focused, and love to make and facilitate the building of new and marvelous things. There’s nothing like the high and camaraderie of the team after a successful event or opening, justifies all the graft to get there every time!

What inspires or motivates you to do the work you do?

Social justice is very important to me and the projects I get to work on are all about community cohesion, wellbeing and regeneration.

Projects such as Small Bells Ring; a purpose-built canal boat (The RV Furor Scribendi) a floating library and programme touring the Leeds Liverpool canal with the largest collection of short stories anywhere in the UK.

And Homegrown Homespun; a regenerative natural textile and clothing project / test bed to return to traditional land use for this region, exploring alternatives to the environmental impact of the fast fashion industry. 

Growing flax and indigo with amazingly dedicated group of volunteers. Learning to farm, process and spin the fibers into linen, it’s a whole new world, a real challenge but fascinating to share the experiences with them.

Jackie Jones on board the Furor Scribendi - Small Bells Ring Project - Leeds Liverpool Canal -  Super Slow Way 2021

What do you love about being a creative and working in creative industries in Lancashire?

It was difficult getting a solid career footing in London and Brighton after graduating, and if I had stayed there it’s likely I would be following a different path and would have missed out on a wealth of experiences.

The creative community in Lancashire recognised my worth and skill set, were really interested in me, which was revitalising and enabled me to get my ducks back in a row and ultimately thrive.

I think overall there’s a very driven community of creatives in Lancashire. I have worked on so many ambitious and good quality projects. With people doggedly committed to interesting collaborations, improving place, raising the bar, and fearlessly exploring new ground.

It’s an exciting place to be right now.

Jackie Jones standing in the middle of a lawn poem for Of Earth and Sky - Corporation Park, Blackburn Festival of Making 2021

Any advice for women starting out or making their mark in creative industries?

Apply for things even if you think others might be more qualified. Arts organisations are always looking for creatives for other projects, you might not get the job you were going for, but you may get a different opportunity though the process.  

Predominantly it's women that work in management roles in the creative industries, and it’s a supportive network, look for mentoring and creative development opportunities.

Learn some skills in your spare time to add to your CV and improve the productivity of your practice; such as new design software or first aid courses for example.

Don’t give up, if it’s what you want to do and you are committed you will get there.

With arts producing, you work with such a diverse array of people all of your varied past life and work experiences will be valid in some shape or form. If you want to be an arts producer be prepared to get your hands dirty (quite literally) and be ready to face down the unknown on a regular basis

Jackie Jones with Lubaina Himid and some of the BTB Team -  Lost Threads - The Great Barn, Gawthorpe Hall Lubaina Himid - British Textile Biennial 2021

From a creative perspective, what do you think Lancashire or the North West has to offer female creatives, that other regions might not?

There are so many strong and influential women working in the industry in Lancashire and the North. It really is indeed a Northern Powerhouse in that respect.

For example; both Deco Publique and Super Slow Way's core teams historically have been all women, so there is defiantly an established ethos of championing women in the creative industries.

Lancashire is historically steeped in industry and innovation, great for creatives to tap into for spring boarding new ideas and projects that have meaning and potential legacy.

With established high quality regular festivals such as the British Textile Biennial and National Festival of Making there are lots of opportunities.

Lancashire is affordable to live, accessible, and surrounded by beautiful countryside. Regeneration of towns such as Preston are happening against the odds due to the passion and sheer determination of a handful of individuals.

It’s hard and there’s still a hell of lot of work to be done, but change is happening and there’s great potential here.

Jackie Jones wearing yellow at her desk in the Super Slow Way Offices with yellow notebooks in the foreground. Image by Rachel Ovenden.

As a creative producer how do you think we can create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive world in our communities and creative industries?

It’s much more recognised now by the Arts Council and the Creative Sector the importance of diversifying the workplace and longer-term investment, strategy and the need of building projects from bottom up in co-production with communities.

Projects and programmes that are grown out of need, through consultation with communities who feel they really have a voice, and are involved in creating the programme, has the ability to build confidence, newfound skills, empowerment and community cohesion and wellbeing.

This has to begin with understanding the complexities and breaking down the access, entry and participation barriers different groups may have. Diversity in the organisation is key this. I am lucky to work with an organisation where this is at the heart of what we do. But it does need a sustained cross-sector approach to ensure difference is valued and celebrated to have a lasting impact.

What are you doing as part of the work you do to help #BreaktheBias?

Continuing to listen to, employ, support, champion and work with female practitioners to enable their work and careers to flourish. 

To stand my ground, outsmart and not take any nonsense from any patriarchal men I come across!

Jackie Jones wearing a yellow sweater seated on a grey couch against a white brick wall. Image by Rachel Ovenden.

Instagram: @jaxmjones

Website: SuperSlowWay.org.uk

Events & Projects Images - from top:

  • Collateral - Brigid Mcleer - Queen Street Mill Textile Museum, Burnley - British Textile Biennial 2021. 
  • Red Dream Parade Preston - Lancashire Encounter 2018. Photo by Philippe Handford.
  • Banner Culture - Brierfield Mill - British Textile Biennial 2019. Photo by Philippe Handford.
  • Small Bells Ring Project - Studio Morison - Leeds Liverpool Canal - Super Slow Way 2021. Photo by Debbie Chan.
  • Of Earth and Sky - Corporation Park, Blackburn - Festival of Making 2021.
  • Lost Threads - The Great Barn Gawthorpe Hall - Lubaina Himid - British Textile Biennial 2021.

Jackie was photographed by Rachel Ovenden for IWD22 

All portrait images in this feature article © Rachel Ovenden

Rachel Ovenden is a photographer based in Preston, Lancashire. After gaining her Degree in Photography from Leeds Arts University, she started her career in 2018. Rachel now splits her time between weddings, events, interior photography, product photography and various other commercial projects, helping Lancashire businesses to share their story and values in a creative and transparent way.

Rachel Ovenden Profile Photo, Lancashire Wedding Photography.

International Women's Day 2022

International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality.

IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.

International Women's Day Logo, Purple writing against white background.

Break the Bias

Imagine a gender equal world.

A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.

A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

A world where difference is valued and celebrated.

Together we can forge women's equality.

Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.


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