POW!er Profiles : Sally Childs

sally childs pow thanet

Sally Childs is an artist and a founder member of the POW! Thanet Committee.

She explains how she came to be living in Margate: ‘I was born and brought up in South West London moving abroad in my early 20’s, living in Libya, parts of South East Asia and eventually the US, finally returning to the UK in 1987 when I and my family moved to the market town of Newbury in Berkshire. Shortly after completing a degree in Visual Arts at Winchester School of Art I landed a position as Arts Manager in 1999, employed by the Greenham Common Trust to manage the refurbishment of the former US military Recreation Centre on Greenham Common into a brand new arts venue.

In 2011, my family having grown and moved away, I decided to move to a new location and start afresh, wanting to focus solely on my artistic practice and begin building a career as a freelance curator.   It was at this time that I moved to Thanet.

Its appeal was multi-faceted: ‘I had always loved the idea of living by the sea and wanted to be within a reasonable distance from London where two of my sons were based with their families.  I instantly  fell in love with Margate, where I now live, particularly excited at the prospect of having constant access to the newly opened Turner Contemporary as well as be part of a lively creative community.’

In the six years she has been here she’s seen plenty of changes: ‘Since moving to the area I have seen an amazing transformation; dilapidated unloved buildings brought back to life; young creative entrepreneurs moving into vacant shops to manage new start up businesses; The Turner Contemporary grow in stature by programming exciting and thought provoking exhibitions as well as hosting  and supporting a range of local events; witness the emergence of Thanet’s very own free cultural newspaper, the Margate Mercury.  The list goes on and on, it's just great to be part of a newly emergent creative hub where anything it seems is possible.’

As a member of the POW!Thanet Committee, she believes that: ‘International Women’s Day is an important catalyst and vehicle for driving greater change for women and to highlight and celebrate the amazing work that women do and have done throughout history.  There is however, still an unacceptable lack of parity throughout the world which continues to stifle and frustrate the goals and desires of women.  International Women’s Day helps to draw attention to these issues as well as stimulate debate.

We live in a multicultural society where many women are caught up in the confusing array of cultural restrictions of what to wear, how to behave, what to eat and even sometimes who to marry.  These restrictions added to the perennial problems of financial inequality, sexual exploitation and domestic abuse make it ever more important to organise open debates about such issues and begin to address the difficulties women and girls face in the  21st century.

My involvement in POW!Thanet this year is to oversee the visual arts programme by liaising with the various project organisers as well as the galleries and venues that are taking part.  I am also curating and taking part in a group exhibition of 5 female artists at the Pie Factory Gallery in Margate.’

As a founder member, Sally says: I would like to see the festival become a regular annual event, one that links to other IWF festivals both here and abroad.  I would be particularly supportive of a festival that brought a series of high profile  International women speakers to the area to help stimulate debate about the varied and ever growing problems we face today, that of climate change, resource scarcity and economic turmoil.

I am a mother, a grandmother, an artist and curator and officially retired, whatever that means!  I have never been so busy and I guess I like it that way. I always find time and energy for things I feel passionate about in my case my family, the human condition and its relationship to the Creative Arts.’