Forging on: BMC Women in Adventure Network event report

Posted by Peter Burnside on 18/03/2016
Illustration: Tessa Lyons

Our top pick of the action-packed Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (ShAFF) weekend was Saturday’s gathering of inspirational and adventurous people at the BMC Women in Adventure (WIA) network event, where the winner of our WIA film competition was revealed.

The event focussed on forging on without a path; tackling roles without role models or committing to untried adventures.  It looked at who or what women look to for inspiration, and how women at the event have forged a path, created new careers, or broken boundaries in adventure.

Hazel Findlay

The event was a great success,” said BMC Ambassador Hazel Findlay, who entertained the audience with a talk on her career developments, decision-making processes and mentors.

The number of both men and women who turned up, combined with the level of interaction and discussion, revealed that this is a topic of great interest in the adventure industry. I thought the members of the panel and the audience all had great stories to share. I got the impression that people left inspired and informed!”

Kaye Richards

Dr Kaye Richards (CPsychol), Senior Lecturer in Outdoor Education and Programme Leader for the BSc Outdoor Education at Liverpool John Moores University gave an introduction covering challenges which women may face when undertaking a life of adventure. 

The Panel

A panel discussion took place on questions such as 'How can women stay in the adventure industry and in the mountains for life?'. All panel members had great stories and experiences to share with the audience. Panel members included: 

Anna C Clarke
Canadian born graphic designer, artist and creative working with the big brands in the outdoor industry.

Ian Parnell
Associate editor of Climb Magazine, writer and climber.

Jessica More
Certified fashion designer & pattern cutter and the founder of the outdoor brand 3rd Rock. 

Katherine Schirrmacher
Katherine is a climbing coach and holds the Mountain Instructor Award. 

Dave Turnbull
Chief Executive of the BMC since 2002.

Ian Parnell said: “The BMC Women in Adventure Network event was excellently organised by Claire Carter and there was a palpable buzz of energy in the room with plenty of well-articulated opinions. But words only go so far – the challenge is to turn those opinions into actions.”

Networking

It was great to see both men and women discussing topics such as: female participation in outdoor recreation; the effects of campaigns and stories in the media; how women perceive their ability to carve a career in the mountains, and the role models available to women over the age of 50.

Women in Adventure film competition results

Emily Pitts announced the winner of this year's Women in Adventure film competition and showcased the range of stunning films submitted by a host of talented filmmakers. It was tough to choose a winner from such a fine selection.  

The winning film was Kosmos – there and back again by Heather Swift, who receives the £500 cash prize.

As Heather was unable to attend the evening, here’s the celebratory acceptance speech video she sent in to say thanks.

Well done to Heather! We think this year’s competition was a resounding success not only in finding a mountain of magical movies, but also in promoting women in adventure – be they the star of the show or the filmmaker.

The full results can be found below:

  • 1st place: Kosmos – there and back again by Heather Swift (£500 cash prize)
  • 2nd place: Women in Adventure – Kate Worthington by Rob Johnson (£200 cash prize)
  • 3rd place: Miles Away by Dave MacLeod
  • 4th place: Vicki Warke – My Cathedral by Sandro Gromen-Hayes
  • People's choice award: Girlie & Burly by Xian Goh (£150 cash prize)

Thanks go to Claire-Jane Carter, who wonderfully orchestrated the event on behalf of the BMC, who said: “I’d like to thank the panel and contributors for attending and giving voice to personal stories and experiences within the industry. It seems that the next step is for women to dream and then believe; apply for top jobs and tell their stories, and for the industry to formalise initiatives to help them stay in these roles and in the hills for life. Roll on the rest of 2016 and forging new paths!”

WATCH: The winning film – Kosmos – on BMC TV

Keep an eye out for next year’s competition launch as we’ve got a lot of ideas to spice it up.

WATCH: All the entries to the WIA film competition 2016 on BMC TV


As the climbing walls, crags and mountains start to open, we wanted to say thanks to every BMC member who supported us through the Coronavirus crisis.

From weekly Facebook Lives and GB Climbing home training videos, to our access team working to re-open the crags and fight for your mountain access, we couldn’t have made it without you.

If you liked what we did, then tell your friends about us: www.thebmc.co.uk/join


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