New Hull dance film aims to turn the tide for women in renewable energy

A stunning new dance film set in Hull features in a new exhibition held at Hessle’s Aura Innovation Centre.

The short film, which had its premiere in Hull on Thursday 8 December, explores the role of women in the renewable energy sector through movement and dance.

Through an exciting partnership with the Women’s 100 Movement, a dance project commemorating 100 years of female suffrage, Turning The Tide aims to challenge the traditional view of industry by making it beautiful, as well as functional. 

The aim is to attract more girls and women into the new, exciting, revolutionary renewables industry, which has such a strong base in the Humber region.

Through the medium of dance, fifteen ‘angels of the north’ express the power, beauty, strength and potential of the offshore wind industry.  Several of the ‘angels’ are women who work in or around the industry already, and are filmed in locations around the Humber, including the University of Hull’s campus, The Deep, the Humber Bridge, Hessle’s Aura Innovation Centre and the Siemens Gamesa wind turbine factory.

Director and professional dancer Fred Garland of the Hull-based Tenfoot Dance Company, who also choreographed the project, said that Turning The Tide was an innovative way to explore diversity and inclusion in industry.

“My mission was to tell the story of this future-oriented industry in a creative and inclusive way,” she said.  “Through dance and movement, I wanted to explore the role of women in industry over the last century, as we stand on the shoulders of those who fought so hard 100 years ago for women’s right to vote.  With this new source of electricity on our shores here in the Humber, we should be ensuring that girls and women see the opportunities available to be a part of it and influence it.  Turning The Tide is a collaborative and participatory dance project which focuses on the important role of women in Northern cities – the project in each city also aims to leave a legacy of action.”

Louise Smith, Director of Aura at the University of Hull, a collaboration of renewable energy partners, was a keen supporter of the project and one of the dancers in the film.

“The importance of the arts as a vehicle for communicating about the importance of science and industry is what we have tried to show with Turning The Tide.  It’s about telling a different story, because the story we have been telling so far isn’t working.  The numbers are stark – research shows that after the age of 16, the number of girls studying STEM subjects drops from half to just over a third, and that downward trend continues through into careers in academia and industry, where there are few senior women.”

“We have a skills gap and an urgent labour shortage in the UK – we absolutely need to persuade more girls and women to join this wonderful new renewable energy industry so that we can meet our net zero targets.  Here in the Humber, the offshore wind sector and other linked renewable energy industries are creating 1,000s of jobs over the next few years.  In offshore wind alone, there will be around 15,000 jobs, not including the carbon capture and hydrogen plants that are going to be built here.  Many of these jobs require some technical qualifications, but skills such as creativity, collaboration and imagination are also essential to innovate – and we need a more inclusive workforce for that to happen.”

“We hope very much that this wonderful film and exhibition will inspire people who would never normally consider a career in the energy sector.  This is also the way to contribute to how we, in the Humber, can work towards meeting our net zero targets – there are so many different ways to work with the renewable energy industry, and not all jobs require working offshore!”

The exhibition, which is free to attend, gives people the chance to watch the short film, and also gives some behind the scenes insight into the project.  The exhibition is open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm from now until 20 January 2023 at the Aura Innovation Centre at Bridgehead Business Park, Hessle. (Check website for opening dates around Christmas).

A limited number of free private tours, with talks by the director and choreographer, are also available for organisations such as community and social groups who have an interest in the arts or equality.  Please contact for more details.