The sector: A room with no windows

When I think about the arts sector I am reminded that we, for so much of the time, are one big echo chamber. Too often we’re discussing diversity in relations to the time and space within which we operate – taking the conversations from where we are as a sector rather than where we areContinue reading “The sector: A room with no windows”

Why I’m happy when discrimination hits headlines.

I’ve had a number of conversations with people about controversies exposed via social media or the news and the thing that quite often surprises people is that, regardless of how I ‘feel’ about the incident in question my overriding emotion is not shocked or angry, it’s glad. Glad that it’s reached a level of nationalContinue reading “Why I’m happy when discrimination hits headlines.”

Do our funding patterns halt diversity?

Is it ever too soon to start thinking about the legacy or exit strategy of a funded project? We work in a sector where funding can be taken away faster than it’s given and where nothing is permanent. But when projects are in place to support and enrich peoples live – sometimes to provide essential,Continue reading “Do our funding patterns halt diversity?”

Introducing myself to the children’s sector…

Recently, I was asked to introduce myself to the children’s art sector through a network called Assitej UK. Here’s what I had to say… ‘My fondest memories of ‘art’ are of dancing in the kitchen to a mix of reggae, funk and R&B with my family on a Sunday afternoon. This early love of dancingContinue reading “Introducing myself to the children’s sector…”

Why I will now be talking to white middle aged men about race.

Over the past few years I’ve been gathering a network of supportive senior people of colour in the arts sector. Mainly women, they have been a huge part of my career so far and have helped me to make great connections, make sense of my feelings and build confidence in a majoritively white sector.  AtContinue reading “Why I will now be talking to white middle aged men about race.”

Diversity … are we really still talking about this?

Over the past few months of working on my first positive action programme, I’ve noticed something. People who are totally liberal and on the side of diversity giving off a sense of ‘but we do this already’ or even ‘why are we still talking about this?’ I’m not here to discredit the work anyone isContinue reading “Diversity … are we really still talking about this?”

What is my true voice?

The other day I was speaking to my mentor about my personal goals. Immediately I began to speak about the goals I have for the programme I am delivering. Once she pointed this out I realised that in the intensity and excitement of setting Vital Spark up, I had lost sight of what I wantContinue reading “What is my true voice?”

The importance & problem of language

There’s no denying that language plays a massive role in our day to day communications, but what problems can language cause when it comes to tackling more difficult subjects with a wider group? I have spent the last 5 or so years entering in to discussions about race, identity, privilege and, more recently, unconscious bias.Continue reading “The importance & problem of language”

Don’t Ask; Don’t Get

I have been amazed at the generosity of leaders in the sector. Having reached out to a number of individuals I’ve been able to learn more from an hour speaking with them, than days of reading leadership books or researching online. What has this taught me? Don’t be afraid to ask. Before now, I neverContinue reading “Don’t Ask; Don’t Get”