Southbank boss honoured with Veuve Clicquot social impact award

Southbank Centre artistic director Jude Kelly wins a new award aimed at encouraging business to think about their social echo.

Business with a social echo is a Big Issue mantra, and now one of the most important figures in the arts in Britain has been recognised for achieving exactly this.

Jude Kelly, artistic director of Southbank Centre, won the inaugural Veuve Clicquot social purpose award to honour her efforts to widen access to culture.

Judges said Kelly championed social purpose beyond the core business of Southbank Centre – the biggest arts hub in the country – and her vision focused on culture being available to all, with half of the artistic programme being free.

The Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Awards celebrate women who have made a significant contribution to business. Kelly said of her win: “As a leader in the arts – an industry still largely dominated at the top by men – I know how significant it is to have female role models for the next generation of leaders, and to learn from the diversity of stories and passions of people from all backgrounds.

“Southbank Centre was founded on the principle that great arts and culture are for everyone, not a privileged few, and living and working by this maxim has been at the heart of my role at the organisation over the past decade. I passionately believe that art can change lives and it is such an honour to be recognised for this.”

Jude Kelly, winner of the inaugural Veuve Clicquot Social Purpose Award.

As well as improving access to the arts, Kelly is also behind the Women of the World festival (WOW), which identifies barriers to women and girls reaching their potential. It now runs in 20 cities. She is also behind initiatives for nearly 60,000 children to learn and participate at the centre every year.

“I founded WOW to ensure girls and women from every walk of life have a shared place to celebrate progress and confront barriers,” Kelly added.