Our motto- "if there's not a space for you- create one" isn't better embodied by an individual than Arts Sisterhood founder, Ali Strick. Ali is tackling issues of misrepresentation through her resistant, creative-led platform. Ali founded Arts Sisterhood in London, but has travelled up and down the UK spreading the good word. The self-titled art therapy classes bring together women and non-binary people from a variety of backgrounds in the universal act of creation. Once a month, Arts Sisterhood happens at alternative community-run venues- nourishing the community that sustains it. During a class people are given a word or a theme as a starting point. At the close of the session, each person presents their piece of art which is then discussed by the entire class, without judgement and with celebration. It's an opportunity to feel calm, relaxed and supported and it's entirely unique in it's proposition. For too long proper mental health assistance has been closed off to those most in need of it.
At it's core, Arts Sisterhood is built on a belief in the healing properties of artistic practice. Against the background noise of an openly misogynistic US president and a UK prime minister who strikes deals with anti-abortion, homophobic parties (we're looking at you, DUP), safe spaces for women are a necessity. Set up as a sort of 'alternative' therapy, Art Sisterhood is the affordable option which has long been missing for working class women. Standing behind the unemployed, low-income and students in a way that our current government fails to, Arts Sisterhood ensures that there is support out there for everyone.
Ali's ambitions, to establish her own organisation are not motivated by financial gain. It's no secret that we are continually asked from a young age where we see ourselves in terms of a future career, with little emphasis placed on the values behind our aspirations. For Ali, heading up a non-profit organisation may not put her in the Forbes 100 list any time soon, but there is a far greater gain to the work she undertakes. Pushed forward by her personal journey of mental health recovery, Ali has found a way to channel her internal battles into productivity. Perceiving a lack of spaces for women to be creative and acknowledge their mental health without the stigma surrounding it, Ali carved out a space for herself, and hundreds of other women in the process.
Here at Babyface, it fills us with hope that groups of women are not only springing up across the UK, but that those many groups are standing side by side to champion each other. You can find recent features on Arts Sisterhood in feminist publications such as Sister Magazine and Girls Club Zine. Female rivalry and bitchiness is quickly being replaced by uncompromising support and excitement for one another's creative endeavours. Solidifying an ever growing DIY movement with women at the helm, there's no telling what the future could hold if we continue taking matters into our own hands. One thing's for sure: instead of the richest ranks shaping the world we live in, we're quickly bringing a society of our own making into fruition.