Our 2021 campaign ‘Women at the Heart of the Story’ features artist and computer programmer, Lauren McCarthy, Emmy-award winning writer Lena Waith, illustrator and designer, Rebecca Strickson, director Celine Desrumaux and rock royalty, Patti Smith. Scroll down to see some of the work that made these women stand out.

Liam Walsh selects Lauren McCarthy

For our Creative Technology Director, Liam Walsh picking just one incredible woman in the tech space was tricky, in fact 72 names were supplied. Finally selecting LA-based artist, Lauren McCarthy who examines social relationships in the midst of surveillance, automation, and algorithmic living. “What I like about Lauren’s work is the consistent theme of engaging with what technology means right now in our (human’s) everyday lives.” As his favourite example of this, Liam went for ‘LAUREN’ an installation project where Lauren became somebody’s SMART home device, watching over their every move and responding to their requests. “For me personally it changed the game by being as much of a performance art piece as a technology piece, while still being about technology and our relationship to it. I think the ‘dedication to the bit’ blew me away the most, the fact that she devoted an entire week of her life, 24/7 to watching these strangers.”

Find out more about Lauren McCarthy here.

Radhika Barot selects Lena Waithe 

Representing the resource team, Radhika Barot picked comedy writer and actor, Lena Waithe who she first came across on Master of None and “immediately fell in love with her performance.” Lena was the first black woman to win an Emmy for comedy writing for her Master of None episode, Thanksgiving where she details her coming out journey as an African American woman. “She has a great, honest acting style that drew me in and I loved her storytelling power to illustrate more marginalised stories of people from outside of the fold.” Radhika also commended Lena’s show Twenties “where she continues to showcase various body types, skin tones, classes and sexualities in a very human and honest way. She embodies what it’s like to be in various marginalised groups of society and break barriers and strive for inclusion. She’s genuinely a beautiful human – inside and out and I think everyone’s life is improved with a bit more Lena Waithe in it!”

Find out more about Lena Waithe here.

Anna Lord selects Celine Desrumaux

Over to one of the newest members of the team, Senior Development Producer Anna Lord spotlights director Celine Desrumaux for her steely determination and sheer talent, “she’s that rare art director who can roll up her sleeves and light a scene herself if she needs to.” Forming a directing partnership with Yann Benedi, Celine’s beautifully made shorts led to a move into feature films with ‘The Little Prince’, then a chance to flex her art direction skills in 360 degrees came with Age of Sail for Google Spotlight earning her an Annie and Emmy awards. Anna also praises Celine’s “passion for serious story-telling, the risks she’s taken, and her solo travels around Asia.” Ultimately choosing Celine because “like a proud auntie – I can’t wait to see where she’s headed next.”

Find out more about Celine Desrumaux.

Julia Parfitt selects Rebecca Strickson

Heading over to executive producer and all round Nexus superwoman, Julia Parfitt who is championing designer and illustrator, Rebecca Strickson because she’s “feminist, left wing, contemporary yet grounded in tradition, provocateur and a friend.” Inspired by the traditional imagery of trade union banners and protest placards, Rebecca’s work delivers powerful political messaging, often exploring the power of community and collaboration through psychedelic palettes. Previous projects include posters, large scale murals, embroidered banners, and colourful wall hangings for clients including Royal Mail, Sony, Channel 4, and Barbican. Julia said, “I love graphic design and I had seen slogans before but not in this way – feminine but strong. I have Rebels get Results hanging in my house and I find it inspiring. Her work during Covid has been uplifting and I love how she is exploring the various mediums with her designs using textiles.”

Find out more about Rebecca Strickson here.

Valentina Tarelli selects Patti Smith

From the marketing team, our very own Valentina selects the queen of punk rock, Patti Smith for her trailblazing storytelling through music, literature and poetry. Patti’s career, which she detailed movingly in her autobiographical memoir ‘Just Kids’ captures the beginnings of her artistic path alongside Robert Mapplethorpe, in New York City in the sixties. She shaped the rock music scene of the time by matching powerful poetic lyrics with sensational sounds and challenging traditional notions of femininity by weaving in poignant political critiques. On the work that moves Valentina she said “One of my favourite songs is ‘Dancing Barefoot’ which people have speculated over the years about its meaning. Some say its about sex and others that its dedicated to the French painter Jeanne Hébuterne, Modigliani’s mistress. For me, it is a song that celebrates the complexity of a woman; oscillating between benediction and intoxication. Levitating and spinning. Simply by reading the lyrics without even hearing the sound I feel empowered by it. I love the liberation that it conveys. The line of life, the limb of a tree / The hands of he and the promise that she / Is blessed among women

Find out more about Patti Smith here.