Founded in February 2013, the What I See Project is a not-for-profit initiative based around one question: “What do you see when you look in the mirror?”
Edwina Dunn, the Project’s founder, is an entrepreneur whose success lies in an understanding of people. She drew on her own experience as a woman in business to establish a Project that would celebrate the inspiring stories from everyday life – those of women whose words might otherwise go unacknowledged.
Through the What I See website, women can submit their answer to the question with video, written text, or tweet responses. As more women contribute, the Project is weaving a global tapestry of voices, from which it aims to draw threads of common thought – the issues that matter to women today. Using these topics as a base, it will start creating conversations using its influential, engaging and inspiring network to generate discussion and debate.
The Project has also partnered with a variety of ambassadors – influential women who are huge successes in their chosen field, from politics, to science, to art. Feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez, lastminute.com cofounder Baroness Martha Lane-Fox and first female Keeper of the Royal Academy of Arts Eileen Cooper are all amongst their ranks. What I See has created mini-documentaries telling their stories, which are circulated via the website’s Features page.
But what the Project is really about is the voices: from those of the ambassadors to that of every single one of its 700 contributors… so here are a handful:
“I don’t take life too seriously. If you’re too serious, you don’t get out alive.”
“I see someone who works in an industry that can make a real difference to the world. I see someone who does something every day that will add a tiny bit of knowledge to our sphere… that could hopefully be used for applications that will make a real difference, and leave a legacy a lot longer than I ever will.”
“I see creativity, spontaneity, humour and fear: the fear of failing and, even greater, the fear of success.”
“I’m partially blind, and I don’t really see what mirrors are for. What I see when I look in the mirror is a world concerned with appearance and a world obsessed with what people look like.”
“I see memories. I’ve had a good life; I wish everyone could.”
“I see dark skin. For me, if you put all the colours of the world you get black. So my being dark-skinned, for me, means just endless possibilities… possibilities to explore and go in any direction that I want to go. To me that means there’s a history, there’s a story behind me – but there’s also a story ahead of me that I’m yet to tell.”
“I know that I need to be kinder to myself, to be proud of who I am.”
“So what do I see when I look in the mirror? Well it’s pretty crowded in there. There are lots of me looking back. But I am starting to see myself, as I am, all of me, without judgement.”
What do you see? Tell your story today.