Two Hackney women have been made MBEs in the Queen’s annual birthday honours.
Art gallery director Ingrid Swenson and Kath Moore, founder of gender equality group Women Into Construction, received the gongs for achievements in their respective fields.
Swenson was awarded an MBE for services to the arts in East London.
Over two decades as the director of PEER gallery in Hoxton, she has overcome funding hurdles to cement the organisation’s reputation in the local community for critically acclaimed exhibitions.
PEER chair Isabelle Nowak said Swenson’s award is “well-deserved”.
“She has built an organisation that has meaningfully enriched Hoxton, engaging deeply with local audiences by offering the highest quality art as part of daily life,” she said.
“PEER’s programme has contributed to building and cementing community relationships in a socially, culturally and economically diverse area.
“Ingrid has delivered superb proof that art can act as a catalyst for social change.”
In 1998, Swenson began working with the Pier Trust, as it was then known, during a time when it was leading a nomadic existence.
Four years later, she secured a permanent home for the organisation in a 1970s shop on Hoxton Street with gallery and office space.
Since then, Swenson has overhauled PEER’s funding approach by building relationships with local trusts and foundations, and by 2012 had raised enough money to buy the property next door, doubling the gallery’s space.
Improvements have since been made outside the front of the gallery, with Swenson commissioning a 10-metre long sculpture for local wildlife to enjoy by London Fieldworks, and an illuminated pedestal clock by Turner Prize winner Chris Ofili.
Kath Moore received her MBE for services to the construction industry.
The WIC founder, who lives in Hackney, has dedicated her career to improving gender diversity in the field.
She is described by insiders as “industry royalty”.
Moore trained as a carpenter 39 years ago before working on building sites across London – where she was often the only woman.
In 2008, she was chosen to lead the Women’s Project for London’s 2012 Olympics. The aim of the initiative was to increase female representation in the construction of the Olympic Park and athletes’ village.
Under Moore’s stewardship, the number of women involved in the work more than doubled over three years.
Moore says the increase also changed the culture on the site: “The Olympic build became much more welcoming to women in the workplace.
“It became quite normal to see women brickies, digger drivers, engineers and health and safety operatives.”
In 2014, the Women’s Project became Women Into Construction (WIC), with Moore appointed as managing director.
The non-profit organisation now helps women find work across London, Birmingham and the West Midlands.
It has provided training for 1,500 women, and supported more than 700 of them into work.
WIC is recognised in the industry for providing best practice in increasing gender diversity, and helps major projects such as Crossrail, Tideway and HS2.
It is currently working on reducing the gender pay gap in construction.
Commenting on her MBE, Moore said: “I feel very honoured to receive this award. But it isn’t just for me.
“It’s for the wonderful WIC staff team who support our trainees so well, the amazing contractors and clients working with us who feel passionately about increasing gender diversity in construction, the Construction Industry Training Board, which has sponsored us and continues to believe in the importance of the work we are doing, and – of course – the wonderful women we place within the industry.
“It’s particularly timely to be recognised in 2018 as we celebrate 100 years since the first women gained the vote in the UK, and 50 years since the Dagenham and Halewood female Ford workers went on strike for equal pay.”