WIA Ireland announces Kirsten Shiel and Lynne Guthrie as its new Co-Chairs!

WIA Ireland announced the appointment of Kirsten Shiel and Lynne Guthrie as its new Co-Chairs at Animation Dingle. This marks the next phase in the organisation’s history as it celebrates its 10-year anniversary. With new leadership and an updated vision, WIA Ireland is set to build upon the work done by pioneering creatives and will continue to advance the presence and influence of women and nonbinary people in the animation industry across Ireland.

“WIA is thrilled to have Kirsten and Lynne take the lead at WIA Ireland, they have an authentic dedication to fostering environments of support for women and nonbinary people, promoting meaningful relationships and trust between members, and expanding opportunities for mobility in the animation, VFX and gaming fields. I am eager to see the contributions they will make to the Ireland animation community.”

WIA President Marge Dean said

Shiel and Guthrie bring a wealth of experience and passion to their roles as co-chairs of WIA Ireland. Together, they are committed to empowering people of underrepresented genders at every stage of their careers, from aspiring students to established professionals.

Shiel has been working in the animation industry on both 2D and 3D projects for Disney, Sesame Street, Apple, Nickelodeon, NBC Universal and Netflix as a background artist, a character designer, a concept artist and an art director. She is also an award-winning illustrator who has worked for clients such as the BBC, Microsoft, Aer Lingus and John West Tuna.

Guthrie graduated from BCFE with a degree in Animation and started her career in Brown Bag Films as a 2D designer. She has since worked on numerous Disney and Netflix shows, including Doc McStuffinsVampirina and Ridley Jones. She regularly guest lectures and reviews portfolios at universities around Ireland with a keen interest in helping students break into the industry. She is currently working as a 2D design supervisor on Robogobo for Disney, airing soon.

The new leads say they are thankful and proud to follow in the footsteps of the incredible committee of women who, over the last 10 years, made WIA Ireland what it is today. The organization was established with the main goal of recruiting more women into animation. Through the work done by those pioneering women and other like-minded advocates, women currently make up an average of 56 percent of creatives at Irish studios, according to a WIA Ireland survey. This exceeds WIA’s goal of 50/50 representation by 2025.

“It is fantastic to see how far the industry in Ireland has come since 2014,” Deirdre Barry, founder of the WIA Ireland chapter said. “While there is still more work to be done, the support that we have encountered over the past decade, from studios, creatives, educational institutions and funders, is incredible. I’m also grateful to Gareth Lee and Eileen Bell, who were there from the very beginning. We can’t wait to see what the next 10 years bring.”

“Lynne and I are thrilled to be taking the reins of WIA Ireland,” Shiel said. “We are truly standing on the shoulders of giants, women who have transformed the landscape of the Irish animation industry in the last decade. We are so grateful to them for not only their legacy but for their continued support, guidance and mentorship as we take this next chapter. We can’t wait to deepen connections within the Global WIA community and bring to life the exciting plans we have for our community!”

WIA Ireland’s plans for the future are centered around three key pillars:

  1. Advocacy and Representation: WIA Ireland will continue to advocate for gender equality and diversity in all facets of the animation industry, from storytelling and character representation to hiring practices and leadership roles.
  2. Education and Mentorship: The organization will expand its efforts to provide educational resources, mentorship opportunities, and networking events to support women at every stage of their animation careers and to support women in achieving their goals.
  3. Community Engagement: WIA Ireland is committed to fostering a vibrant and inclusive community where women can connect, collaborate, and support one another in their professional endeavors.

Full article here and for more information about WIA Ireland and how to get involved, follow @wia.ireland on social platforms.