When invited to attend a leadership development day at New Art Exchange with Quad and the Clore Leadership Programme, I was unsure whether I should attend. Is this me? Could I be classed as an “emerging leader”?
However, I grabbed the opportunity, shook off my imaginary creative cobwebs and proceeded in to the “dark and misty waters”. Safe to say I was not engulfed by the waves and thoroughly enjoyed the day! Informative, thought provoking and somewhat spiritual provocations from the get-go by directors of the Clore Leadership Programme, New Art Exchange and QUAD Derby really set the day off on a high note.
For me, the most influential part of the day, and there was an abundance, was the monologue-like keynote talk from Kwame Kwei-Armah, surrounded by the collage of creative leaders from different parts of the region. I was drawn in, captivated with every word that followed. To hear from someone, a leader, from within the same area as you, speak of a small fraction of their life; being able to share in those anecdotes (and a group selfie); and take on the wisdom that they are overflowing with was truly something special.
Left reeling from this man who held us all in the palm of his hand and shared with us the importance of not just the Vision but the Love, there then came an important aspect of the day…lunch! After we had all sated our hunger, the time came to do some in-group discussions and really get to grips with what it is to be a leader. These are the times I would normally slip away seemingly unnoticed; however, daring to push beyond my comfort zone, I stayed in my seat! Group work throughout the day was incredibly useful and inspiring, and in many ways. It was good to have a group of 6-8 similarly minded people round a table, talking, exploring, planning, and sharing their varied experiences and thoughts from different backgrounds and practises.
I left New Art Exchange on that day inspired. I left with my creative juices bubbling, I left with questions, questions I do not know the answer to just yet but am eager to explore and reflect on: my practise, how can I use my art to inspire debate, but more predominantly how I am leading through my art?