If you've been waiting to hear about the line-up for our three daytime WOW London Festival 2022 events in the Royal Festival Hall (Friday at WOW, Saturday at WOW and Sunday at WOW), the wait is over! You can buy a ticket for one or all of the days, as each will feature a totally different line-up. And don't forget to check out the other events taking place each evening, across the Southbank Centre.
Here's a look at what each day will include and the topics we'll be discussing.
FRIDAY AT WOW (11 March, 2-5pm)
The Festival kicks off on the afternoon of Friday 11 March by taking a frank look at the world around us whilst celebrating the joy, resilience and creativity to be found in a world in flux at Friday at WOW (2pm-5pm). WOW Founder Jude Kelly leads the opening event with Yassmin Abdel-Magied, reflecting on 2021 and all of its changes.
JudeKelly will celebrate new beginnings with people who’ve been beacons of hope for others during the last year. She is joined onstage by Adwoa Aboah for a conversation about the turning points in their lives and their hopes for the future.
Maslaha, an organisation seeking to change and challenge the conditions that create inequalities for Muslim communities, have come together with British Fencing for a collaborative project. On Friday Maslaha Muslim Girls Fence take to the stage for a live bout, as award winning spoken word artist Rakaya Fetuga performs a selection of poems.
From suffrage to BLM and the abortion ban march in Poland, women have always been at the forefront of resistance and change, but in recent months this looks set to change. In light of the Protest and Borders Bill, WOW asks what accountability looks like if restrictions are put on our rights to publicly gather to protest. Join this phenomenal group of frontline activists for an unmissable discussion on ‘Protest and why we resist!’ featuring SaveBrickLane campaigner and academic Fatima Rajina; political activist and UK Black Pride founder Lady Phyll and Migrants Organise spokesperson.
An integral part of WOW, ‘Big Ideas’ are back for 2022. They’re an opportunity to hear about pressing conversations and important ideas for change as five different speakers talk about the issues close to their heart. On 11th March the line-up includes: Artist and writer Selina Thompson getting her freak on, talking about how The Missy Elliott Project - a project looking at Black liberation and Teenage Girlhood through the lens of Missy Elliott - is helping her redefine her life and her art on her own terms; author and journalist Sophia Smith Galer on why we're living in a sex misinformation crisis – and how to stop it; Burnt Roti founder Sharan Dhaliwal on being queer, brown and hairy, and how her queer identity allowed her to break out of cis hetero normative ideals on beauty; and author and journalist Juno Dawson on writing YA and what her fictional characters have taught her.
SATURDAY AT WOW (12 March, 2-5pm)
On Saturday 12th March, WOW Founder Jude Kelly will lead an emboldening, challenging and moving afternoon of activism and celebration at Saturday at WOW (2pm-5pm). Conversations will cover everything from how to build communities, neurodiversity in love and science, representation in the great outdoors through to a dedication to the late, great bell hooks and an powerful conversation on women in Afghanistan. The afternoon opens with magic from the first woman President of The Magic Circle, magician Megan Swann.
In a year of uncertainty and turmoil, WOW hears from some of the women who have been most impacted by political upheaval in Afghanistan. Mariana Katzarova, Founder of RAW in WAR (Reach All Women in WAR), and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, RAW's patron, will present the 2021 Anna Politkovskaya Award to Fawzia Koofi. Fawzi is a former member of the Afghan Parliament, its first-ever female Deputy Speaker, and renowned human rights and women’s rights defender. She remained in Afghanistan, under threat to her life, with heavily-armed Taliban fighters stationed outside her home in Kabul until 30 August 2021, the day the last US forces left Afghanistan.
Fawzia Koofi, who continues to mobilise urgent support for the women and the people of Afghanistan with world leaders, and alongside Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, led a drive last year to help more than 100 Afghan judges and their families flee to safety. She will be joined on stage by Fawzia Amini, one of the judges who managed to escape. Together they’ll discuss the current situation for women’s rights in Afghanistan and the work that is happening on the ground to support women judges and human rights defenders.
Palestinian singer-songwriter and instrumentalist Rasha Nahas will perform on the Royal Festival Hall stage to perform during WOW’s annual obituary presentation to honour the lives of those around the globe who have passed away in the past year. Authors Nova Reid(The Good Ally) and Reni Eddo Lodge (Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race) will pay homage to pioneering feminist thinker bell hooks, and reflect on how her work has impacted their lives.
Saturday’s Big Ideas will be from: Mother, teacher, priest, archdeacon and activist Mina Smallman on her family’s story and why women of colour don’t matter in the media, the police’s mentality towards women and what we must do to reform Police forces nationally; Camilla Pang, author of Neurodiversity and Explaining Humans, on what science can teach us about love and relationships; Indonesian writer, poet, researcher, editor, and interdisciplinary artist Khairani Barokka.
To round off the afternoon, award-winning comedian and Funny Women Alumni Sophie Duker performs a hilarious set live on stage, followed by an in conversation between WOW’s Jude Kelly and beloved broadcaster Sandi Toksvig on why, despite everything, we must keep laughing.
SUNDAY AT WOW - WOMEN & POWER (13 March, 11am-3pm)
For the final day of the Festival, the Sunday afternoon programme presents Sunday at WOW - Women & Power (11am-2pm), a one-off WOW special exploring women and leadership - both in its own right and as a mediator of power - led by Jude Kelly and special guests.
From major keynotes from leaders to lightning fast workshops on understanding your own values, the Royal Festival Hall will be filled with talks, workshops and ideas from global speakers. The afternoon is an opportunity for all leaders - from teachers to care-workers and artists to corporate executives - at any stage in their careers.
Jude is joined by leaders who are innovating for change including MP and founder of VoteMama UK Stella Creasy, and Eliza Reid, author and First lady of Iceland. There will be workshops on leadership style and communication, and The Women Leaders South West join the line up to discuss their pioneering arts leadership programme that seeks to address the gender imbalance in senior roles in arts organisations.
The Big Ideas on women and power for the afternoon come from author and founder of the everyday sexism project Laura Bates, and art curator and historian Aindrea Emelife.
Explore the full WOW London Festival 2022 line-up here.