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Inspiring Women

Edinburgh is famous for many things including its Castle, its Hogmany street party, and the world’s biggest annual arts event – the Fringe Festival.   From the mayhem in the Royal Mile to a spooky underground stage, from free comedy in a bar to Shakespeare in booked-out theatres, and from those who want to just wander through the throng to those who plan their day with military precision, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe can truly say it has something for everyone. 

It takes a particularly singular individual to lead this type of event.  As CEO of this world renowned cultural beacon Shona McCarthy brings a personal insight into her path to leadership and the challenges faced along the way.

Shona McCarthy is no stranger to challenges.  In fact, it’s almost as if she relishes them.  The Troubles started the same year Shona was born, and it formed the backdrop to her childhood and helped frame her career.  Culture quickly became the ‘safe space’ for Shona where conversations could take place that didn’t revolve around whether you were a Catholic or a Protestant, though they weren’t always easy discussions to have.  Those conversations have helped create a tapestry of experience and knowledge which has laid a path from her hometown to around the globe, and seen Shona help communities overcome some of the challenges they face.  From programming Belfast’s flagship children’s film festival (Cinemagic) to securing a transformational UK City of Culture prize for Derry-Londonderry, to leading the world’s biggest arts festival, the message has always remained the same – communities matter, people matter and the arts have a vital role to play in generating change for communities and bringing people together.

Take the unique opportunity to join Shona as our UWS Inspiring Women keynote speaker then join the tour of our new £110m Lanarkshire Campus opened in September 2018 (places limited).

The UWS Inspiring Women Lecture Series was created to help provide a platform of inspiration and support for female students and staff within the University, though it is open to all.  In the 5 years it has been running the series has blossomed into one of the main events within the University calendar, attracting speakers with a broad spectrum of backgrounds, interests and experience.  This year’s series is proving to be an exciting and innovative mix of speakers and events, continuing to encourage everyone to be inspired, to be bold, to be ambitious, to break boundaries and challenge thinking.  To dream, to believe and to achieve.