Girl Gang collective hits Leeds’ streets

Creative arts initiative launches in Leeds with good vibes, girl power and community values.

Following its success in Sheffield and Manchester, a non-profit volunteer community aiming to support and celebrate female creatives has now arrived in Leeds.

Girl Gang is a community which was originally created in 2015 in Sheffield. It began with a Mean Girls movie screening for women looking for an inclusive safe space in which to promote themselves, their work and relevant events. Now an award winning collective, the organisers have set their sights on Leeds.

The volunteer, non-profit organisation aims to promote its values through community-led events, including exhibitions, parties, social networking, cinema screenings and club nights.

Girl Gang Leeds’ Sela Bar Leeds launch is a free party promising  “Girl power, pizza [and] good vibes”. It will showcase female DJ talent in the form of Vanhessa Fruits and Emily Marlow, alongside a craft and arts fair with all-female stallholders and a charity raffle. Founder Kaz Scattergood explained that it will be “about women supporting each other, celebrating each other’s successes and giving creative people a platform.”

Scattergood stressed that Girl Gang is keen to support local artists, and will be using the existing Leeds community to build upon their inclusive network. She said: “it’s nice that groups can recognise each other’s strengths.”

Sela Bar manager Emily Cullen echoed her comments, saying it will be “great” to hold the launch party at Sela Bar and citing the importance of gatherings for creative people across the city.

The ten-point manifesto created by Girl Gang founders at its inception highlights inclusivity alongside the importance of female friendship and support,  skill-sharing, confidence and the breaking of social boundaries.  The initiative has an active social media presence in accordance with its aim for a non-hierarchical mode of organisation and desire to engage with and bring together people of all different ages and backgrounds.

Scattergood also emphasised the intersectional approach the community is taking, aware that initiatives like this often lean towards straight, white members: “it’s important to us that we’re intersectional, and representative of all genders, ethnicities, and sexualities.”

She wants the community to be involved with Pride, as well as the number of other events they are planning to host so far in Leeds. These include a networking session with women on Sunday 12 February at Hyde Park Book Club and an arts and crafts fair on Sunday 5th March in celebration of International Women’s Day.

Encouragingly, it seems that Leeds is ready to take up Girl Gang’s aims. The manager of Nation of Shopkeepers, Jeremy Arblaster, is keen to have the team on board. Many will agree with his comment that Girl represents “the positivity that 2017 needs.”

The Sela Bar launch party will take place on February 17th. The event is free and tickets are not required, but attendees are encouraged to bring sanitary products to be donate to the homeless.

Rabeeah Moeen


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