Rising Stars: What happened next for Salma Zulfiqar


WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star Awards are now in their sixth year.

The Rising Star awards were introduced to showcase the UK pipeline of female talent below management and to create female 100 role models across 25 different industries and professions.

Over the year’s, the awards have recognised over 500 women across the UK and India.

In this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.

We spoke to Salma Zulfiqar, who won a Rising Star in Diversity Award in 2019.

Salma Zulfiqar is an International Artist and Activist empowering refugee and migrant women, promoting integration, working towards preventing hate crimes and extremism.

Salma has also highlighted the underreported plight of women and children all over the world with the United Nations.

In 2017, she was voted one of the most inspirational women to hail from Birmingham and her work was documented in the book Women Who Dared to Dream alongside Nobel Laureate, Malala Yousafzai.

How did you feel when it was announced that you’d won a Rising Star award?

It was a phenomenal experience and privilege to receive the Rising Star Award. Being recognised not only for the work that has gone into The Migration Project and ARTconnects workshops, but also the impact of the project in raising awareness about the lives and experiences of vulnerable groups of people is a wonderful achievement. It is incredibly rewarding to share this recognition with the women who participated in my projects and who have shared their experiences with me to allow my work to be possible.

Please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards?

Since winning the Rising Star Award, my project ARTconnects has joined the Peace One Day Global Peace Coalition.The coalition marks the International Day of Peace annually in September and all year round.   I’ve recently had the opportunity to speak about my work at the European Parliament and raise even more awareness of the need for understanding, peace and tolerance within communities on an international platform.  I have also released a film created in partnership with refugees to be screened in London on 29 November 2019.

I am also holding a special campaign workshop on 22 November at Royal Greenwich Museum in London calling for an end to violence against women.

There has been BBC coverage for ARTconnects and The Guardian / Observer newspaper has featured my work twice since July 2018!

These links are included below:


BBC: Refugee research inspires new artwork

BBC: Workshop tackles LGBT equality ‘tensions’

The Guardian: A stitch in time: how craftivists found their radical voice

What advice would you give to someone else going through our award’s process?

Find your passion and believe in yourself and your value. Encourage support structures and have genuine people in your own life that also believe in you and your work. I really like the African proverb of, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

What tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

Never lie about your experience and dream big! With big dreams, comes hard work. But achieving the goals you never thought possible, will advance your own confidence, capabilities and success and enable you to greatly increase the positive impact you can have on others.

Nominations for our 2020 Rising Star Awards are now open. Find out more here.

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