Women in Television & Film

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Auditorium, University of Westminster



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This event offers students the chance to hear from succesful women in TV & Film, offering insights into their experiences and career paths. The event includes two panels of inspiring industry professionals, including Westminster alumni. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions and network over wine and nibbles! This is a fantastic opportunity to hear from speakers including: Presenter and broadcaster Ria Hebden, director and cinematographer Emma Edwards, director Abigail Dankwa, director and editor Jennifer Sheridan, and producer Saba Kia.

As recent reports have testified, there are still issues of inequality for women in the television and film industry (Directors UK 2014; Ofcom 2017; The Celluloid Ceiling 2017). The panelists will speak to ongoing issues of diveristy and inclusion in media industries, opening up an honest conversation about continued challenges, discussing their hopes for the future of media industries, and offering tips and advice for up and coming professionals.

This event is open to all Westminster students, and everyone is welcome.


  • Alumni Women in TV & Film Panel: 4.30pm-5.30pm

  • Break: 5.30pm-5.45pm

  • Women in TV & Film Panel: 5.45-7pm

  • Drinks reception & opportunity for networking: 7pm

The event is free, but you do need to register.


We are delighted to welcome the following speakers to Westminster University:


Recently nominated as ‘Presenter of the Year’ by the 2018 Diversity in Media Awards, Presenter and Broadcaster, Ria Hebden has notched up an impressive portfolio of work and is steadfastly becoming one to watch in Television. Ria is passionate about covering events that celebrate diversity, champion women and inspire the next generation. Her career highlights include; presenting LIVE on ITV’s award-winning daytime show, This Morning with Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, interviewing Sandi Toksvig and Kim Cattrall about the #MeToo movement at the Women in Film & Television Awards; Sir Lenny Henry, in the week he was awarded his CBE for MOBO and Idris Elba at the Screen Nation Awards, discussing the on-going diversity issue that is influencing British onscreen talent to migrate to the US.

As a regular live events host, Ria also chairs prestigious industry awards for the Royal Television Society, the Vision Awards and the Jack Petchey Foundation as well as mediating industry panel discussions at BAFTA, the RTS and the Media Production Show. Ria is also frequently requested to speak at ‘Women in Media’ events, for brands that include; Google and the BBC during International Women’s Week.

Last year, while seven months pregnant, Ria presented and produced her own digital show, Wonder Women TV – an inspirational talk show that champions the stories of trailblazing women who work in the creative industries which aims to inspire the next generation of female trailblazers – showcasing her talent as a natural presenter and conscientious producer.

Ria’s incredible positivity and enthusiasm is infectious and when she isn’t presenting, she also finds time to mentor young people through the Media Trust and is a 2017 Mentee of the prestigious Women in Film & Television Network. For more information about Ria please visit: and


Emma is a shooting Director and Cinematographer working across drama, factual, documentary and commercial content. Her clients include UK and international broadcasters and studios such as the BBC, Amazon, Netflix and Warner Brothers.

She is a full member of The Guild of British Camera Technicians, BAFTA Crew and she is a member of the organisation Directors UK, under which her short documentary ‘Altruistic’ won runner up best short film in the 2018 Arri Doc Challenge.

Her work in film has featured at several UK film festivals including the BAFTA supported Aesthetica Short Film Festival and the London Short Film Festival.

Selected as one of twenty to participate on the 2017 Women in Film & TV mentoring scheme. She often appears on industry panels for her work in cinematography, most recently as part of the ASFF 2017 industry programme.


A versatile, creative and editorial Director, Abigail is credited as one of Edinburgh TV Festival’s “Ones to Watch”, with experience as a Gallery Director on 24 Hours in A & E, Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother, OB Director on the Champions League Final, Milan 2016 (VIP arrivals) and multi camera Director on quiz shows, Tipping Point and !mpossible.

Abigail is used to complex productions, large and small from her roles as one the Stage Managers on the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Floor Manager on London Live/Evening Standard TV's live News and Entertainment shows and the UEFA Champions League Finals in Lisbon 2014 and Berlin 2015 and 2nd Unit OB Producer/Director, VIP/Blue Carpet Arrivals, Milan 2016. Abigail is working towards multi camera directing the world's biggest live events, OBs and shiny floor shows...


Jane Thorburn is Reader & Principal Lecturer for BA Television Production and a member of the Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) at the University of Westminster. She has been researching the Nigerian Film and Video industry for the last five years and has made six documentaries in Nigeria. She co-founded the production company AFTER IMAGE in 1979, directing, editing and series editing the majority of the company's productions. An early success was the Arts Magazine programme ALTER IMAGE which ran for three series on Channel 4. The programmes received a number of international awards as well as having seasons devoted to the company's work at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. In 1989 THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH was the official entry of Channel 4 to the Montreux Television festival. The After Image production THE EMPRESS won the Royal Television Society best production design award and a special mention at the prestigious IMZ Opera Screen. Other productions include THE SCORE, a classical music magazine series for BBC2, CAMERAan opera written specially for television, 2 documentaries for the Discovery Channel, and several performance collaborations commissioned be the Arts Council, Channel 4 and BBC2. Recently she has completed several documentaries and a drama including JOY, IT'S NINA shot in the UK and Nigeria which is currently screening in several festivals around the world.


Having honed her skills as a storyteller through her work as an editor for the last ten years (her most recent credits include CUCKOO and LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN), Jen's work as a director is visually stunning with a great clarity of vision. Her first voyage into directing was her short film ROCKET which went on to win the grand prize at the Virgin Media Shorts competition in 2012. Since then she has completed six more award-winning short films, most of which she also wrote.

Straight off the back of shooting two comedy shorts for Sky Arts, Jennifer is now in development with First Look Media on a 6 x 15' digital series based on her most recent short, THE SUPER RECOGNISER.

This year Jen is going into production on her first feature, ROSE, which tells the story of a husband and wife living off-grid to conceal a deadly disease. ROSE is part horror, part love story, written by Matt Stokoe (MISFITS, JAMESTOWN), who will also play the role of Sam.


Saba was born in Tehran, Iran and moved to London at the age of eight. She graduated from the University of Westminster with First Class Honours in Film Production, specialising in Creative Producing. Her graduation film won the prestigious Audience Award at the Beijing Film Academy's 11th International Student Film & Video Festival and Best Fiction Film Awards at the Regional Royal Television Society Student Awards. Saba has since produced a number of successful films both independently and under executive producers Andrew Macdonald and Creative England, whilst working in the location department on commercials and features. Her credits include 'Ex Machina', ‘Annihilation’, ‘Peter Rabbit’, ‘Transformers; The Last Knight’. Saba joined Salt Film in 2016 and is the lead development producer for Dark Wave Film Ltd.

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