“I built this place brick by brick” – inspiration from Somaliland

Posted by: on Aug 21, 2015 | No Comments
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Photography credit – Alison Baskerville

In our courses on networking we often talk about how, after a certain point, your network starts to self seed: when existing contacts introduce you and refer you to new interesting and interested people.  And when I meet those people I really enjoy seeing what that new acquaintance will bring into my life

For example, Lee Kemp of Vermillion Films sent an email to introduce me to Alison Baskerville.  Alison is something of a rarity in these parts – the only female conflict photographer based in Birmingham.   Covering areas such as Gaza,  East Africa and Afghanistan and often embedding with the British Army for her project on women in the Armed Forces.

Alison has recently returned from hosting an exhibition in Somaliland featuring work about the lives of women in its capital, Hargesia.  The work was part of the Hargeisa International Book Festival and and the Southbank’s first Women of the World event in the Horn of Africa.  Alongside Alison’s work, Hannah Pool, curator of WOW and the Artistic Director of the Southbank, Jude Kelly joined leading Somaliland women in politics, activism, and literature.   Somaliland women such as activist and researcher Amino-Milgo Mohamed and social activist and human rights campaigner Dr. Edna Adan joined esteemed artists from around the world.

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Photography Credit – Alison Baskerville

Alison’s work was featured in this BBC News article along with some of her arresting images.  You can see more on her website.
So from an email out of the blue from Lee, I’m suddenly made aware of a whole group of women entrepreneurs,  thousands of miles away , defying the odds of society, prejudice and poverty to build their own business. I loved their  determination and tenacity: “I built this place brick by brick”.

Starting and growing a business can be hard work,   The women in this article used adversity as a fuel to move them forward.  Articles like this one have the effect of making me “look up” and appreciate my life and my business from a new perspective. It’s another gift  available to those who build business relationships, slowly and organically, into a rich and plural network .

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