With International Women’s Day just around the corner, we’re putting a spotlight on the women at Collarts who are sharing their industry expertise and passion with our students. Working in event management for over 15 years, Project and Event Management Teacher Jacelyn Hawkins knows what it takes to create seamless and memorable experiences.
Founding Flock Agency in 2008 and leading as Director, Jacelyn has designed events for private, retail, corporate and government sectors; producing premium events including the first Zara store opening, Fashion Full Stop, and The Royal Melbourne show, with others including Westfield, Prada, Sunglass Hut, Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, and Crumpler to name a few. Touching base with Jacelyn, we caught up to chat about life in events, with everything from following your instincts to being proud of your knowledge.
Hi Jacelyn, thanks for chatting with me! With over 15 years of experience in the events and project industry, what continues to excite you about your work?
The ever-changing landscape of events is exciting, you never know what weird and wonderful things you’ll be asked to do next. I also like the adrenaline you get form being on site, you can spend months working up to an event, imagining and organizing this experience that you are transporting your guests to, and then finally you are onsite and it’s all going live!
In 2008, you started Flock Agency. What inspired you to create your own boutique creative events and production company all those years ago?
To be honest it started from a prompting from my bestie, she offered to pay my rent (we were living together) until I landed my first big job. She believed that I could run my own business so after years for working for other people I went out on my own and within the year I was working on Flock full-time. NB: She never had to pay my rent.
"I am hoping to see the word bossy being removed as an adjective to describe women. Numerous times I have been labelled as bossy when a man would be called forthright or assertive."
As a director, you’ve overseen many large-scale events and premieres. Do you feel there is an imbalance in your industry, and have you faced any challenges navigating these spaces?
The events world is an industry ripe with women leaders, I would say that it is a fairly balanced industry. You find that men are more prominent in production, however, that is changing, with also more women working within this sector. It’s always awesome to see women rigger onsite or working with lighting operators who are women. One thing that I encounter alot is mansplaining: I actually had a man stand up in mid-meeting, step in front of me and recount exactly what I just said in a slightly different way. I looked at him, stepped in front of him and said (with a smile), "thanks John for reiterating my thoughts, hopefully now it’s doubly clear for everyone" and he never did it again.
Many women are often met with challenge in creative industries for simply being knowledgeable and demanding of what they want. However, many conversations around these issues are starting to spark change. What positive changes are you already seeing in the industry, and what are you hoping to see continue to change?
I am hoping to see the word bossy being removed as an adjective to describe women. Numerous times I have been labelled as bossy when a man would be called forthright or assertive. I have seen forums and events being built to support women such as business chicks and think this is amazing, it showcases strong women to a female audience which empower everyone in the room.
"Stand your ground and don’t let anyone dissuade you from your vision... your work will speak for you, if you do great work no one can take that away from you."
As a Project and Event Management Teacher at Collarts, what advice would you give to women or GNC (gender non-conforming) students wanting to break into events and projects by creating their own business?
Stand your ground and don’t let anyone dissuade you from your vision, I have had so many people tell me that an idea or design won’t work and I’ve stuck to my guns and it’s worked. Your work will speak for you, if you do great work no one can take that away from you.
This International Women’s Day, what Australian artists will you be listening to or supporting?
Between my work, doing my masters and being a Mum, I barely get time to listen to music, that’s not for kids. However, but I do like Teeth and Tongue, Courtney Barnett, Adalita, Jen Cloher, and loose tooth to name a few. A cool kids band is the Teeny Tiny Stevies, they are pretty cool gals.
Want to be connected to the industry? Check out our 2018 study options at Collarts and get hands-on through exclusive opportunities.