Celebrating the women who have inspired us for International Women’s Day


This is the day we can all look towards a gender equal industry and world. A day when the women of Maccreanor Lavington can collectively celebrate women’s achievements and raise awareness of bias, stereotypes and discrimination.

Four women from our team talk about inspirational females who have inspired them in life and career. 



Andreea Vasilcin, Urban Designer

‪I first came across Agnès Varda’s work when I was a teenager when together with a friend we set up an improvised cinema in a theatre room screening indie movies. Agnès has always inspired me with her movies that are staples of a deeply playful, witty, experimental yet thorough documentation of our world. ‪When you encounter her on screen you feel her care, generosity and appreciation for the ordinary. Her movies portray a care-full observation of its context and this is her recipe to make the ordinary become the extraordinary.

Trained as a photographer, in her six decade long career, we can say that she was a piece of walking cinema history — she initially pushed the boundaries in Nouvelle Vague, achieving mainstream appreciation with Cléo de 5 à 7 (1962), but subsequently carved a space in cinematography that is truly her own. 

I had the luck to meet Agnès at an ICA event where we briefly spoke about how one can talk about context not just with images, but with our voice. For me, she pioneered exactly this – what seems that our society promotes to be a dichotomy between a personal take and a rigorous take in work, she brilliantly mended this gap and made them harmonise.

Her shorts, fictions, ethnographic studies and documentaries might at points feel quiet but they are not silent. They are rather alive and timeless. Restlessly inventive, Agnès appreciated the mundane and exposed its subtleties that she imbued with new meanings and poetry. 

Agnès made space in the film industry for a femininity that is not trying to copy or mirror masculinity, but rather one that prevails with care, appreciation and generosity. A true inspiration, her always curious mind translated ideas into so many different styles of movies and one could argue that her diverse body of work is political too. 

‪I would like to take Agnès on a walk around my neighbourhood and talk about the spaces and places that make it what it is today. A bit like in Daguerréotypes (1975), I can imagine Agnès coming along with her cameras to photograph and film the area whilst we would walk up and down Rye Lane & around and chat with neighbours. We would probably talk about Peckham’s biggest asset, the local community, but also about its continuous struggles with greed. 

Something to remind us all about creativity – that if used and channelled well, it can trigger, challenge and change big issues in our society! ‪

Merci Agnès


Emily Watt, Architect

There are many women who have inspired me from a young age, from authors to astronauts. However, it would be foolish for me to ignore the inspiration closest to my heart, the woman who instantly pops to mind when asked the question ‘who has inspired you in life and your career?’ As cliché as it is, for me this is without a doubt my mother, Lindsay.

In younger life Lindsay enlisted as a reserve in the RAF and would learn to fly, taught by my father. Somehow, she had three degrees: Biochemistry, Bio aeronautics and Pharmacy. She taught biology to students in the Isle of Man, and to me and my sister’s delight would return with the lab animals including tarantulas, guinea pigs and cats in need of a home.

Later working as a pharmacist, the 16-year-old me had the pleasure of a part time job in the dispensary, where she trained me how to dispense and we’d exchange giggles.

Her extraordinary array of achievements and wicked sense of humour taught me you can be whatever you want to be and it’s never too late to try new things.

Lindsay passed away when I was 19 years old. In a world where we could go for a walk, we’d once again enjoy the rural route of Helsby Hill with our mischievous chocolate Labrador Poppy. This time, I’d truly be able to say thank you.


Fiona Smallshaw,
New Business & Marketing Assistant

When I was ten years old, Delia Smith was on the news for standing in front of the Norwich football club fans during half time and shouting ‘let’s be avin you!’. The motive was to spread enthusiasm to the team she chairs by getting the crowd cheering louder. She was swaying and her heals were stuck in the grass. I have been obsessed with her ever since. Some may argue this isn’t synonymous with the behaviour of a role model, being branded in the press as a crazy drunk lady, however it was iconic seeing a woman unapologetically and passionately let loose on live television.

On a more serious note, Delia has provided consistent inspiration. She left school at sixteen with no qualifications, however forged her way into becoming one of the most successful celebrity chefs of all time. This was achieved by persistence and not fearing failure. She is tightly woven into British culture from teaching multiple generations how to cook. Her main priority was to make cooking and food education accessible for all regardless of gender and class – with no judgement or competition. Delia was accidentally a bit rock and roll too, cooking the cake which is on the Rolling Stone’s Let It Bleed album cover in 1969.

‘Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course’ book has unified the generations in my family. Delia is a great representation of the female blood in my family specifically my sister, mother, and grandmother. All who are loving, hardworking, humorous, great cooks, no-nonsense and all a little bit accidentally rock and roll. Although there is a long way to go for gender equality, these women remind me to continue striving for intersectional feminism to be the norm, to not be afraid of failure, sharing each other’s successes and most importantly, to celebrate the everyday achievements of women.


Beth Mogey, Architectural Assistant

In my experience studying architecture, I’ve been fortunate to have strong female tutors who have been a constant presence throughout my studies. Each one comes from a unique and diverse background, instilling valuable insight and knowledge into my understanding of the built environment from a female perspective. As I progressed through my education, I actively sought out the work of female theorists within architecture to gain a better insight into gender bias within design.

One such theorist whose work I found particularly inspiring is Leslie Kern, author of  “Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World”. Kern’s work challenges traditional notions of urban planning and drives the concept of “feminist urbanism,” which advocates for more inclusive and equitable design that reflects the diverse needs and experiences of all people.

Similarly, Caroline Criado Perez, an activist and author of “Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men,” has identified that gender bias is embedded within data, research, and design decision-making. This bias has led to gender inequality in healthcare, urban infrastructure, and the workplace. It’s essential that we work to raise awareness of these issues and strive towards a more equitable and inclusive built environment.

While my current office has a nearly 50:50 gender balance, women are still underrepresented in senior leadership roles. To strive for true equality, more needs to be done to ensure that women have equal opportunities for advancement and recognition both within the office and in the profession.

On this International Women’s Day, it’s important to celebrate the achievements of women architects and designers while acknowledging the challenges we continue to face. I would like to acknowledge all the amazing women within the Rotterdam office, who are constantly working, supporting, and encouraging one another to actively create change within the profession.  Architecture firms must work towards creating a more equitable and inclusive environment where women can thrive and contribute their unique perspectives to the profession. By embracing diversity, we can create better-designed buildings and communities that truly reflect the needs and aspirations for all who live within the built environment.




Andreea Vasilcin - Agnès Varda
Emily Watt - My Mother, Lindsay
Fiona Smallshaw - Delia Smith 'Complete Cookery Course'
Beth Mogey - Leslie Kern & Caroline Criado Perez