Colette Bailey WOW's new Executive Director

19 Aug 2021

Blog Post

Colette Bailey has been announced today as the new Executive Director of The WOW Foundation. Colette, who is currently Artistic Director and CEO of Metal will take up the role in November 2021.

In her new role as Executive Director of The WOW Foundation, Colette will work with WOW's Founder and CEO Jude Kelly, Domino Pateman, Director of Festivals and Programmes, alongside the whole WOW team and our Board led by Chair Sandie Okoro to support WOW's work to build and sustain a global movement that believes a gender equal world is possible and desirable through festivals and the empowerment of women, girls and non-binary people.

Colette said: “It’s a hugely exciting time to join the brilliant team at The WOW Foundation. As a newly formed, independent charity, the Foundation is the beginning of the next chapter for WOW – building on the 10-year history and global achievements of WOW Festivals in more than 30 locations around the world. I can’t wait to get started and am looking forward to bringing commitment and energy to the work of the charity and the ongoing campaign for gender equality.”

Jude said: “The exceptional talent and experience that Colette Bailey will bring to The WOW Foundation will allow us to expand our national and global reach as we continue to build the WOW Movement, and develop our festivals, events and major projects at a time when women, girls and non-binary people deserve maximum support and opportunities to thrive. It’s a fantastic appointment at a great time in WOW's history.”

Since Metal’s inception in 2003 Colette has established the company as a unique arts organisation within the cultural ecology of the UK. Currently based in Southend-on-Sea, Liverpool and Peterborough, the organisation has taken on disused buildings of historic significance, transforming them into vibrant cultural community hubs that shift perspectives and create necessary spaces for artistic talent and creative idea development. Colette was the organisation’s first Managing Director, Artistic Director and CEO, bringing her extensive experience of working in large scale public areas, exhibitions, participatory design and education projects to all three Metal sites. Over the course of her tenure, Colette has established a number of large-scale projects and festivals including: 10 editions of arts and music festival Village Green, the world’s first digital art park NetPark and a major new Visual Art, Literature, Music and Film festival, Estuary, along the North Kent and South Essex coastline of the Thames Estuary.

This March WOW celebrated International Women’s Day with a month of digital festivals in Istanbul, Nepal, Pakistan, New York and the UK. Upcoming festivals include WOW Australia, WOW Rio in Brazil and Taiwan’s inaugural WOW Kaohsiung.

Other upcoming WOW events include WOW Day of the Girl (October), WOW’s celebrations for International Day of the Girl, Shameless! Festival (26-27th November), a new festival exploring activism against sexual violence combining academic research, activism and art, in partnership with Birkbeck, University of London and The Wellcome Trust. WOW London will return to the Southbank Centre in March 2022.

The WOW Foundation is proudly supported by its Global Founding Partner Bloomberg, and Global Partner Mastercard.

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