This week, we are delighted to introduce you to Dr Pragya Agarwal, who'll be writing a chapter in In Her Own Way.
DR PRAGYA AGARWAL
I am a creative and social entrepreneur running a eco design studio HEDGE AND HOG PRINTS and a social enterprise The Art Tiffin set up to campaign and raise funds for mental health. I studied Architecture in India and then came to the UK for a Masters and PhD on a scholarship. After several years as a Senior Academic, writing and publishing academic research papers and books about sense of place, geospatial ontologies and cognition, I took a break from academia following workplace bullying, stress and burnout, struggling with pressures of work while raising a daughter as a single parent.
During this period, I discovered the benefits of creativity to manage my anxiety and depression, and set up a creative printmaking and art studio. Since the birth of my twin girls two years ago, I became even more conscious of our impact on the planet around us, and set up a ethical business with a heart and purpose to raise awareness of creative pause, cruelty-free art materials, and the importance of nurturing creativity in children. The Art Tiffin has been featured widely in national and international media, in print, television and radio. I've been invited as a guest on several podcasts, and also as a TEDx speaker. Alongside running the two businesses, I am a freelance writer for The Guardian, Forbes, Huffington Post, Times Higher Education.
I am really excited to be part of this project. As a mother of 3 girls, it is important for me to talk honestly about gender bias, motherhood and the experiences of setting and running a business while raising a family. I am often invited to give keynote talks to STEM Women conferences and run sexism workshops in schools. I hope that I can show other young girls and women that they can create their own life and career, rather than waiting for opportunities to happen to them, and how resilience and a growth mindset will help them tackle any setback in life. I want to inspire in my own girls that they can achieve anything they want in life and be whatever and whoever they want to be.
I loved Pragya's TEDx talk about creativity - it really shatters the preconceptions that we might have about what it means to be creative. We are all creative, she says, in different ways - even if we wouldn't traditionally consider ourselves to be as such. I am looking forward to sharing her message, and her own experiences with you in the book.
Pragya is currently organising a TEDx women event for December 2018 - the first of its kind in the North and bringing a whole set of diverse and intersectional voices to inspire women.You can find links to the event here:
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