Inspirational women honoured at University

The fantastic achievements of inspirational women are being celebrated at the University of Sheffield with an exhibition of portraits set to travel throughout the University campus over the next year.

Nominations were called for over summer 2012 for women with inspirational life stories and achievements to be celebrated, as so many male counterparts have historically been, with specially commissioned portraits to be displayed in pride of place around the University.

Rosie Valerio, former HR Director at the University of Sheffield, chose her retirement gift fund to be spent on the exhibition, to contribute to her legacy of a career that has significantly improved working life for women.

Thirty women were chosen to have a professional photo portrait taken by leading fine art photographer Anton Want. Anton’s work includes Pit Profiles, a series of portraits of miners currently touring nationally for the National Coalmining Museum, and Ambition, an exhibition focusing on ambition amongst young women in Sheffield.

The portraits will hang in the University’s Firth Hall before visiting different locations throughout campus and will culminate in one woman being selected to have a professional portrait painted and permanently displayed in Firth Hall.

Rosie Valerio said: "This University is about people, including those rarely or never seen in the limelight. This project is about addressing the representation of women."

Of the winning subjects, Rosie said: "You have clearly made an impression and will continue to do so through these stunning photos, they are the beginning of a movement to celebrate those who are not always visible."

At the recent opening of the exhibition, Professor Keith Burnett, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: "I find it quite moving. I’ve never seen anything like this, there’s almost a tingle in the back of my neck. I’m seeing people in a different light and it’s quite emotional."

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