Candid, Powerful Diary Entries Become Public Art in HBO’s Celebration of Women’s History

And the network's stars turned them into dramatic readings

The HBO experience ends this Sunday. HBO
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Private thoughts scribbled in a diary aren’t necessarily meant to stay that way, and hundreds of women are sharing their intimate stories for an HBO project called The Inspiration Room.

The pop-up exhibit, taking place this week in New York, gathered journal entries from women across the country and built a public space for the writing “to celebrate the power of authentic, unedited voices.”

HBO and agency Wieden + Kennedy New York created a video series that brings some of the diary submissions to life through dramatic readings from the channel’s talent like Susie Essman (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Dominique Fishback (The Deuce), Natalie Gold (Succession) and Poorna Jagannathan (The Night Of).

Those digital shorts, covering topics that range from the joy (and despair) of new motherhood to the comedy of bad dates, are part of the space on Lafayette Street, which includes audio recordings, compilation books and large-scale installations.

The Inspiration Room travels back in time (with audio files from Agatha Christie) while excerpting diaries of some of its most of-the-moment stars and creators like Lena Dunham (Girls), Issa Rae (Insecure), Lisa Joy (Westworld) and Michelle MacLaren (Game of Thrones). Jaclyn Crowley, the agency’s creative director, describes it as “a place filled with stories every bit as thriving and complex as the ones HBO puts on TV.”

It’s timed for Women’s History Month and as a boost to HBO’s upcoming diary-based period drama, Gentleman Jack. It’s a continuation of the ongoing #BecauseOfHer campaign that highlights women in creative behind-the-scenes roles at the premium cable network, home of Big Little Lies, 2 Dope Queens, Veep and other female-centric shows.

The experiential program, with media partners The Wing, Bustle and theSkimm, has been hosting nightly discussions, spoken word performances, podcasts and other events. Those continue through the weekend with a Girls Write Now workshop and a sneak peek of Gentleman Jack, inspired by the writings of the early 19th-century British entrepreneur often referred to as “the first modern lesbian.”

The Inspiration Room exhibit runs until Sunday.


Client: HBO

Agency: W+K New York
Executive Creative Director: Karl Lieberman
Creative Directors: Jaclyn Crowley, Sean Mclaughlin
Copywriter: Michelle Lamont
Art Director: Rose Sacktor
Head Of Integrated Production: Nick Setounski
Executive Producer: Alison Hill
Associate Producer: Ava Rant
Production Assistant: Jane Lee
Account Director: Samantha Wagner
Account Supervisor: Lee Ford
Brand Strategist: Brian Ritter
Social Strategist: Leah Greene
Project Manager: Lauren Aiello
Business Affairs Manager: Michael Moronez
Director of Public Relations: Theresa Collins

Film Production Company: HBO
Director Of Production: Louis Tancredi
Production Manager (N.Y.): Sophia Trilling
Production Manager (L.A.): Alicia Alexander

Film Production Director: Georgie Greville

Event Production Company: M Crown Productions
Executive Producers: Jessica Hannan, Gala Magriñá
Programming Producer: Kate Mcdermott
Scenics: Erector Sets

Design Studio: Studio Butch
Creative Directors: David Brady, Chris Giovarelli
Designers: Emily Steen, Emily Mcalister, Peter Adels
Executive Producer: Denise Wild

Editorial Company: Exile
Editor: Katie Turinski
Post Producer: Charlotte Delon
Executive Producer: Sasha Hirschfeld
Editorial Assistant: Ling Chua
Visual Effects Artist: Adam Greenberg

@TLStanleyLA T.L. Stanley is a senior editor at Adweek, where she specializes in consumer trends, cannabis marketing, meat alternatives, pop culture, challenger brands and creativity.