Ali Strick 27 London

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.

Tell us about yourself and what you do:I’m a mental health activist and I run a women’s mental health charity that provides affordable DIY alternative art therapy classes within a safe space.How did Arts Sisterhood come about?Arts Sisterhood came about after coming through my personal journey with mental health recovery and desiring a space for women like myself to do art, have fun, and support each other, without feeling like some kind of weird or crazy person.What's been the most rewarding and challenging thing about starting your own not-for-profit organisation?It’s rewarding because i feel like I’ve channeled my struggle and pain into something that helps other people with their struggles and pain, which feels like the difficult periods in my life were not in vain.How would your friends describe you in a sentence?Passionate, intense, self-assured, and they would probably comment on my ability to be extremely relaxed and stressed both at the same time.A day in the life of you...Wake up, cuddle my cat/feed the chickens and cook breakfast, check social media/emails, head to a coffee shop to work on my laptop for the day with my intern Amber, head to the shops to pick up equipment and materials for my classes or go to a meeting, and then if i am teaching my class that evening I’ll head to the venue, teach the class and have a drink with everyone afterwards, if I’m not teaching, I'll cook dinner or go for dinner with my boyfriend, go to the gym or yoga class, or if it’s a weekend I’ll more than likely be heading to a gig, film or techno night.What's the first thing you do when you get up?Probably press my snooze button 20 times and then cuddle my cat Fifi. When are you happiest?Immediately after my classes, it’s the buzziest, warmest feeling to see I’m helping people and making them feel good.Who do you admire?Leandra Medine of Manrepeller; I adore her looks, personality, her writing, her brand. She’s insanely cool and I love how she has built this amazing empire. What's your current obsession?Collecting jazz records, I love putting Miles Davis, Billie Holiday or Duke Ellington on my record player on in the mornings whilst I make breakfast/get ready for the day.What’s your best advice?If you find yourself thinking something mean/negative about yourself or another person, immediately correct yourself by finding something positive to counteract the negative thought.What could you not live without?Human affection.Book club recommendation?'No one belongs here more than you' by Miranda July. It's a collection of very weird short stories. Best party you've ever been to?I went to a festival after party a couple of years ago, aphex twin was there and he lit my cigarette for me. I've peaked already.Song to be playing as you enter the club?Pretty much anything by Siouxsie and the Banshees.Time you laughed the hardest?I took acid and everything was hilarious. My arms were very long and my hands were tiny and my boyfriends ears were on backwards.What's your signature dish?Slow cooked ragu + fresh pasta.One item of clothing that best sums you up?My marge-simpson-face-smudged-on-a-t-shirt earrings.What words or phrases do you most overuse?Ever since i started replacing “I’m sorry” with “thank you” I say thank you at least 30 times a dayWhat's next?Arts Sisterhood panel discussions, festival, and huge UK tour in 2018. I’m also arranging a series of (unrelated) techno nights in Peckham this autumn AND FINALLY...WHO IS YOUR NEXT BABYFACE GIRL SUGGESTION?Who: Charlie Craggs
Why: She’s doing seriously important and incredible work for trans rights and i really admire her passion and activism.
Contact Ali Strick