#IWD2024: Creative Women - Glenda Brindle

04 March 2024 by Michelle

​To celebrate International Women's Day on Friday 8th March 2024, we're featuring interviews with dynamic, trailblazing, and courageous women working in creative fields, who have a connection to Lancashire. Meet ​Glenda Brindle, educationalist and leader in arts education.

#IWD2024: Creative Women - Glenda Brindle

International Women's Day (IWD) is an annual global event celebrating women and their achievements.  

First initiated in 1911, IWD has since grown into a global movement encouraging us to stand up for a more diverse, equitable and inclusive world, free of discrimination and stereotypes.

This year's campaign theme is #InspireInclusion to collectively forge a more inclusive world for women.

When we inspire others to understand and value women's inclusion, we forge a better world.

And when women themselves are inspired to be included, there's a sense of belonging, relevance and empowerment.

As part of our #IWD2024 "Creative Women" Series, meet Glenda Brindle, long-time educationalist and leader in arts education.

IWD2024 Glenda Brindle at Blackburn Cathedral, image Christina Davies Fish2Photo

Glenda, tell us more about your background and what you're up to now?

I'm retired from Higher Education, but class myself as an educationalist using my leadership skills gained as the Dean of School for Art, Fashion, Design and Performing Arts at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), where I was based for 35 years.  

I'm currently heavily involved in Secondary Education as Chair of Governors at Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, recently retired as Chair of Governors at Sir John Thursby Burnley and a member of the Board at Albany Academy Chorley.  

I am also one of the active Directors for the Artists Access to Art Colleges (AA2A) residency scheme. Although UCLan was part of the initial AA2A scheme, I have maintained the link as an invited director for over 20 years.

What is your connection to Lancashire?

I am a true Lancashire lass.  

Born in Darwen, educated in a Darwen primary school, educated at a grammar school in Blackburn and continued my education in fashion at the original Harris College before it became the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).  

After leaving College, I worked for 7 years as a Fashion Designer at a North West manufacturing company designing for major High Street label, Marks And Spencer.

My commitment to Lancashire, and Darwen in particular, has enabled me to be a member of the board for Darwen Town Deal, working to gain £25m of Government funding with an overall investment plan for Darwen of £116m

What is your connection to Lancashire?

What inspires or motivates your creative practice?

After moving into education in 1980, by joining the School of Fashion at the then known Preston Polytechnic, I joined the one Fashion Design course as a lecturer.  Over the years, my journey took me through as Course Leader, Head of School and eventually as Dean.

I am a firm believer in the saying that if somebody tells me it couldn’t be done, to roll up your sleeves and you will do it.

I was keen to expand and continue to strengthen Fine Art, Graphics, Animation, Games Design, Media, Music, and Performing Arts to become the largest School at UCLan with Full Time students at that time. I wanted to develop the best courses for creative students across all areas, making sure their practical skills were appropriate for the Creative Industry.

As UCLan expanded worldwide, it became timely to establish the International Fashion Institute within the School. This was targeted at developing links with countries such as China, India, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Lithuania, Cyprus, America and Greece.

Glenda Brindle UClan New York Design Show Pop Up
UClan Fashion PopUp in New York

The team and I successfully established, organised and executed Fashion Shows in Hong Kong, Delhi and Bangkok, as well as Design Shows in London and New York. 

As the school’s reputation grew, we were able to establish and validate new and exciting courses that allowed cultural exchange of ideas and diverse ways of working. 

As a way for staff and students to establish and to put something back into the Community, we were able to instigate and find funding to create the Global Sound Movement. The first project took us to Uganda but was quickly followed by others such as Cyprus, China and Gibraltar.

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

I would say that all women need to build resilience and be confident and proud of what they have achieved.  

Women’s ideas are just as valuable as men’s ideas.  

If you have studied your subject in great depth and you have done your planning, you will be on the right road to success.  Although men may shout louder, it doesn’t mean that their point of view is any more valid than yours.  

Be positive and always remain open to learning ideas from other fields.  

You just have to listen, be selective in taking elements of their successful ideas and learn to interpret ways of working so that you can get the most out of that information to achieve your goal, for your project or your student’s project.

For impact, no one can argue with up-to-date statistics.  

Speaking at London Tech Week in June 2023, Rishi Sunak said the Creative Industries was a “unique strength for this country” and that millions of pounds were being invested.  

The Creative Industries is still growing five times faster than any other. In 2020 the Government Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) stated that £224 Billion had been added to the economy and that by 2030 the Government plan to grow this figure by £50 Billion, safeguarding one million more jobs in this sector.   

Glenda Brindle at Blackburn Cathedral, image Christina Davies, Fish2Photo

How do you think we can encourage inclusion, remove barriers, and offer the right types of support to increase opportunities in the creative sector and in our communities?

This needs to be encouraged much earlier in education at primary school (KS1 and 2). 

By the time children are at secondary education (KS3 and 4) the students creative experience will have been narrowed, if not totally removed from the curriculum. 

Is it acceptable that the only students that can play an instrument are the ones whose parents can afford? No!! 

If you sit through the credits at the end of a film, all those people listed are involved in the creative industries as are TV and stage production staff. Not a scientist amongst them.

There needs to be more education and promotion amongst parents, teachers and others about what the creative industries covers, and just how many jobs are out there.  

We must remember and continue to push that the UK is no longer solely a manufacturing country, but it is world renowned for its Creative Industries and that this is now the dominant sector.  

As Educationists we should continually look at our offerings and if the student sitting in front of you does not reflect the expected or intended cohort, then ask the question Why?  

Is the content wrong? Change it. Are the timings wrong? Is there a more appropriate time? 

But above all be brave.  

It is easy to remain on the same journey because that is what you have done for the last 10 years.  

It is a lot more difficult when bringing in appropriate changes as you have to show strong leadership in order to bring everyone with you on that journey.  

But always remember to make sure that you are not the barrier.

As Edgar Albert Guest said in his poem "It Couldn’t Be Done" 

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
      There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
      The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
      Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
      That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

LinkedIn: Glenda Brindle

Glenda was photographed at Blackburn Cathedral by Christina Davies

Christina Davies (Fish 2 Photography) is based in Preston and specialises in branding, interior, and commercial photography. She started her business in 2008 and loves working with small Lancashire and North West based businesses. 

  • View Christina's profile on our Creative Directory here.
Christina Davies, Fish 2 Photography

About IWD

International Women's Day (8 March) 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.

International Women's Day Logo, purple against white

IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people.

Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organisation specific.

We invite you to inspire inclusion in your own work and life.

Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all #InspireInclusion.

Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness about discrimination. Take action to drive gender parity.

IWD Belongs to everyone, everywhere. 

Inclusion means all IWD actions is valid. 

#IWD2024 #InspireInclusion Website: internationalwomensday.org

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