Venessa Scott is a Manchester-based prolific artist and a specialist in creative education whose reputation and artistic practice have grown significantly in recent years, leading to two commissions for Blue Peter, one of which involved her designing a Blue Peter badge.
Venessa is also behind one of the UK's tallest murals, celebrating the pioneering work of Sylvia Pankhurst. She's won awards, become a Great Mancunian – which is a local project by Manchester College to celebrate people who have had a significant cultural and creative impact on the City of Manchester and its surrounding areas – and has been appointed as an official ambassador for The Pankhurst Centre.
But despite all this success, Venessa has gone through unimaginable suffering and loss of late. Even for this podcast, she told us of further sadness. But as always, she is positive and full of warmth and determination. This strength perhaps comes from having a solid family and local community. It's perhaps why Venessa dedicates so much time to helping others, as she and her sister also run Seven Three One, a non-profit organisation that uses creativity to further the education and skills of serving prisoners, ex-offenders and disengaged young people.
Here, Venessa chats about finding her voice despite the sexism or racism she has sometimes endured. About not having a seat at that mythical table and why it's important to build our own, welcoming everyone else to join us. We hear why it took Venessa a while to declare herself an artist. And we talk of her work, colour, pattern, doing what we love, having confidence, speaking up, speaking out – and why great things can happen if we let down our armour, be ourselves and embrace all the joyful wonderful things that make us unique and special.