New logo, same old fighting the patriarchy

We’re really pleased to announce our new logo, kindly created by designer and photographer Scott Wigglesworth. 

We’re updating our logo because our old one wasn’t very accessible. Plus we needed one we could adapt for our sister groups! Check them out on Twitter: 

What’s changed?

Our new logo is a bit like the old one but more fancy. 

  • We’ve kept the loud hailer because we’re not going to stop speaking up for women, trans and non binary folk in the sector. 
  • With great sadness we’re saying goodbye to our computer game monster twitter logo. Although they’ll always have a place in our hearts.
  • We’ve updated our website too, so it’s easier to find what you want. We’ll be doing more work in the coming weeks so keep checking back.

Who is Scott?

Scott is a feminist photographer who’s based in Cumbria. He designed our logo for free as a volunteer. So you should definitely all check out his work on his website and follow him on Twitter!

Building a feminist museum from scratch

Welcome to the third episode of our podcast! This week, Space Invader Mel Strauss catches up with East End Women’s Museum’s Rachel Crossley to talk feminism, leadership and making a museum from scratch.

Hit play to hear Mel and Rachel talk about what it’s like to start a museum from a tweet.

Episode 3 of Space Invaders podcast – Building a feminist museum from scratch

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Rachel and Mel

Rachel Crossley is the Director and a trustee of the East End Women’s Museum. She is passionate about women’s history, community engagement, and gender equality. Rachel has worked at Arts Council England, Historic Royal Palaces, Museum of London and the V&A. She is on the Development Committee of arts and mental health charity Hospital Rooms and mentors with Arts Emergency. 

Follow Rachel @beingrachel

Melissa Strauss is interested in cultural policy, public engagement, and social justice. She is a Policy Adviser for the National Lottery Heritage Fund, currently focusing on intangible cultural heritage, memories, and young people. Melissa is a Clore Fellow for 2019-20. She is currently supported by the AHRC to research participation in museum decision-making. She has volunteered on projects for refugees and women and sits on a steering group to help develop the East End Women’s Museum in London.

Follow Melissa on Twitter @Mel_Strauss

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Presented by Melissa Strauss :: Produced by Lucy Harland :: Recorded on Zoom during lockdown – so please excuse sound quality!

Women of colour in leadership

For this week’s podcast, our Sara Wajid talks to Dr Nirmal Puwar about her research into the challenges women leaders face, particularly women leaders of colour.

Hit play to hear Sara and Nirmal discuss what she found out interviewing women museum leaders, why her book is called Space Invaders and how it feels to enter a space that wasn’t designed for people like you.

Episode 2 of Space Invaders podcast – Women of colour in leadership

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Tell us what you liked… and didn’t and share your ideas for our next conversations!

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We’re on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Breaker and Radio Public, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.

Nirmal and Sara

Dr Nirmal Puwar is a Reader at Goldsmith’s College. She wrote the book Space Invaders: race, gender and bodies out of place and leads a research project on gender and race in museum leadership.

Follow Nirmal on Twitter: @SpacialMutation

Sara Wajid is one of the original founders of Space Invaders and founder of Museum Detox. She was Head of Engagement at the Museum of London and is a trustee of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. Sara will be starting as CEO of Birmingham Museums Trust on 16 November alongside Zak Mensah.

Follow Sara on Twitter: @Waji35

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Presented by Sara Wajid :: Produced by Lucy Harland :: Recorded on Zoom during lockdown – so please excuse sound quality!

Feminist leadership in action

Welcome to the first episode of our new podcast!

Back in January 2020 when we could roam free, Space Invader Sharon Heal caught up with the inspirational Dr Adele Patrick at Glasgow Women’s Library.

Hit play to hear how Adele puts her feminist principles into action.

Episode 1 of Space Invaders podcast – Feminist leadership in action

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Tell us what you liked… and didn’t and share your ideas for our next conversations!

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Adele and Sharon

Dr Adele Patrick has worked on cultural projects rooted in equalities, academia and community and taught on gender and culture for over 20 years. She co-founded Glasgow Women’s Library (GWL) in 1991 and is currently GWL’s Lifelong Learning and Creative Development Manager.

Follow Adele @AdelePatrickGWL

Sharon Heal is the Director of the Museums Association. Its flagship campaign, Museums Change Lives, supports museums to create better places for us to live and work and provide space for reflection and debate. Sharon lectures on the history of museums, museum ethics, museums and social impact and museum activism. She is the Chair of the Museum of Homelessness and a trustee of Thackray Medical Museum.

Follow Sharon @sharonheal

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Presented by Sharon Heal :: Produced by Lucy Harland :: Recorded in January 2020 at Glasgow Bridgeton Station and Glasgow Women’s Library

What is feminist leadership?

1. Practice what you preach – formally and informally

Feminist leadership is about leading with the values of feminism in mind.

Feminist leaders “will strive to make the practice of power visible, democratic, legitimate and accountable, at all levels, and in both private and public realms.” 

Srilatha Batliwala

Feminist leaders are focused on shaping work policies that value employee satisfaction over corporate success. They try their best to make sure at every level, members of an organisation feel respected and valued.

They are focused on building diverse and inclusive spaces at work. They keep operations transparent, and do all they can to acknowledge the needs and desires of everyone their decisions impact.

And they follow their own policies and values – even when it’s hard or when they don’t think anyone is watching.

2. Redefine ‘Success’ and ‘Hard work’

For too long, organisations have most valued people who do things they way they’ve always been done and uphold the status quo. And the measure of a good employee has been how much they can sacrifice for the “greater good” of the organisation. Or how alike they can make themselves to the leadership team.

Feminist leadership is about rewarding labor and measuring success differently. Feminism tells us:

  • Different perspectives make us stronger
  • Balance in our lives is the key to a world where we value each other’s humanity
  • Respect and support for everyone in our movement – at every level of understanding and capacity – is of the utmost importance. 

A feminist leader knows a workplace is only sustainable when its members have control over their own lives. That means reasonable timelines that don’t put colleagues’ schedules out of whack. Giving people control over their days so they can fit their own personal needs as well as work priorities. Shaping a work culture where human needs are just as important to the organisation’s goals.

No task, big or small, is insignificant or not worthy of praise and appreciation in an organisation guided by the principles of feminism.

A feminist leader also knows that every team member has value. They don’t push employees to fit into a specific idea or mold, but work out where each person’s strengths are – and how those strengths can help the whole team.

3. Share power and credit for work

Feminist leaders need to challenge all kinds of power – whether it’s formal or informal, visible or hidden. 

Workplaces can be driven by competitiveness. People feel power is limited – and so they find themselves fighting with one another to claim it. Instead of supporting each other, colleagues focus on tearing one another down to make themselves look better.

What we’re left with in these workplaces is an environment where people are more focused on getting credit for successes or advancing than investing in the long-term success of their team. And so, a cycle begins: The power-hungry come into positions, they reward others who are the same, and the rest of us suffer.

Feminist leadership is about valuing everyone’s contributions – and putting the process over self-importance. 

Some leaders might collaborate on a project with their subordinates only to then claim full credit for it. But feminist leaders try to see everyone’s unique contributions in full light and value them equitably. 

No task, big or small, is insignificant or seen as unworthy of praise and appreciation in an organisation guided by the principles of feminism. Whatever people can add to the mix is of value, because everyone is valued.

Collective leadership

That means feminist leadership is also about sharing authority and power and making decisions collaboratively. Feminist leadership rejects the idea of “lone wolf” leaders that our patriarchal culture values so highly.

Instead, feminist leadership is about collective leadership, democratic power structures, and consensus-building. It’s about dismantling hierarchy, not just doing better within one.

Patriarchal notions of power pit us against one another. Feminist leadership challenges us to see the best in one another, and help each other to grow and succeed.

Rather than competing for power, people working with a feminist leader feel like they have their own authority and agency. And that they’re part of something bigger than themselves.

4. Build community and relationships

What if our managers and supervisors were equally concerned about our relationships with one another and our output for our organizations? 

What if fostering an awesome workplace was just as important as reaching quarterly goals?

Feminist leadership is about building community and forming relationships that make an organization’s work stronger – whether it’s by forging coalitions, building bonds with potential allies, or even getting to know their adversaries and competitors a little better.

That means building workplaces where diversity and inclusion are cornerstones, and providing everyone – regardless of their age, gender, ability, race, ethnicity, sexuality, or sex – with a work environment that feels safe. 

5. Mentor and empower your team at every level

Leadership is not inherent. It isn’t natural.

Sure, some of our leadership practices are unique and intuitive to us. Extroverts may find that the public speaking aspects of positions of power are a breeze, for example. But often, good leaders aren’t self-taught.

Instead, they’re mentored and empowered by their colleagues and shaped by their experiences. Feminist leadership posits that we all have the capability to lead. 

Patriarchal notions of power pit us against one another. Feminist leadership challenges us to see the best in one another, and help each other to grow and succeed.

Instead of focusing on how high we can climb the corporate ladder, feminist leadership challenges each and every one of us to focus on cultivating the “next generation” of leaders, helping teach one another the skills we’re well-versed in ourselves, and sharing power and opportunity. 

Mentorship and empowerment shouldn’t be opportunities only within reach for some of us. 

That’s why feminist leadership means embracing that each of us can both teach and learn. And that within every single one of us is the potential for more greatness and to impart some of that greatness on someone else.

***

To be a feminist leader in any work environment is revolutionary

To treat the people you lead with respect, destroy pedestals of power even when they benefit you, and empower the people who shape your success is a far step from the toxic work environments that so often stress us out, burn us out, and keep us down.

Feminist leadership is about challenging ourselves and the people we work alongside to trust one another, support one another, and grow with one another.

And that’s pretty damn powerful, if you ask me.