This year, I intend to lead.
I have been thinking about attracting the right kind of people into my life and in May 2023, I founded Bluestockings - an exclusive creative women's networking club. The aim of the club was to bring together kind, creative and ambitious women who believed in supporting and elevating one another. This was for several reasons:
I wanted to draw such people into my circle to enrich my life.
Life is hard (even more so now with the cost of living crisis) and working in the creative industry is tough. I wanted to try and make it easier for women in some way.
I believe in giving. By creating this group and space, I am able to offer an environment where women can connect, be inspired and potentially move forward with their creativity. Who knows what positivity they will gain from being a part of Bluestockings? To be able to offer that makes me feel good.
I handpicked 12 interesting women I knew who were working on a creative project of their own. I considered these people to be kind, ambitious and supportive of other women - these qualities were important as they were what one needed to be a part of this club.
On Sunday 14 May, seven women - three journalists, a teacher, a lawyer, a graphic designer and a tea and honey business owner who was writing a complex sci-fi trilogy - turned up at Benugo, a coffee shop at the Natural History Museum (NHM). After complimentary teas/coffees, we introduced ourselves, what we were currently working on and a project we had coming up this year. I wanted everyone to share these things so we could raise awareness of our projects and potentially help each other through knowledge and contacts. We migrated to Hyde Park once the coffee shop got busy with the midday rush and continued there. It was a wonderful gathering of intelligent and motivated women sharing their creativity and inspiring each other.
Once the networking was over, four of us returned to the NHM and explored the Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY) exhibition. As a staff member, I was able to get everyone free tickets. Conversation ensued as we wandered the gallery, forging positive relationships. We ended up having lunch at the Brompton Food Market, followed by desert.
It was my first time organising an event and it was the success I wanted it to be! I correctly anticipated only half the invitees would turn up and was happy with that as it allowed me to keep the gathering small and intimate - this was better for genuine relationship-building.
I also wanted everyone to feel relaxed and comfortable and I wanted to be seen as a good event organiser and host, hence why I decided to treat everyone to beverages and offer free tickets to the WPY exhibition. Over the next few days, I received a lot of positive feedback, including interest in a second event.
The next Bluestockings gathering will be taking place on Sunday 11 June. The theme will be about what we have achieved over the last 12 months so we can:
Remind ourselves of all that we have accomplished and reinforce it in our minds - this will help raise our self-esteem.
Draw attention on our achievements, receive praise from others and feel good about it - a lot of use don't do this enough.
I am excited about growing Bluestockings and hosting it once a month. This is a new venture for me and I am curious to see what it will bring into my life and where it will lead.