Clore Fellow Pooja Ghai reflects on her Fellowship journey, starting as a Freelancer and finishing as the Artistic Director of Tamasha Theatre Company.
I have been at Tamasha Theatre Company since November, and the welcome from the organisation and the board has been both heartfelt and engaged. It has been a privilege to listen, absorb and understand the talent and skills of everyone on the team.
Our starting point has been to cultivate a space for ideas to foster. This process has been about understanding the culture of the organisation and the values that we stand for. We want to create work that responds to the world that we live in, that is both relevant and bold and platforms the voices of those so often left in the shadows.
I firmly believe that now is the time for artists from our Global Majority to take up space, to celebrate the stories of our colonial histories from the perspectives and lived experiences of our colonial migrants. Organisations dedicated to Global Majority retain this perennial status of ‘emerging’ in the sector. We need to overturn this thinking and re-evaluate what we deem to be a risk.
The Clore Fellowship has taught me how to draw on my own experiences both professionally and personally to be the best leader I can be. The power and impact of my fellowship is clear: I started as a freelancer, and I left the fellowship as Artistic Director of Tamasha -an organisation that aligns so closely to my own artistic values and principles. It is literally a dream come true!
Clore Leadership has given me the unique opportunity of building my leadership toolkit both practically and holistically. Interrogating and unpicking all the systemic issues in the sector in a safe space with my peers and with those who have been working and leading the sector for many years. Alongside these more difficult conversations, we celebrated the brilliant work being done by organisations in the sector that we could learn from. The year demonstrated the power of conversation, where we can challenge the silos that we are in and build visions for change.
By drawing on each other's strengths and expertise, experiences and passion, strong bonds have been made, with so many opportunities for collaboration and support between us as a cohort. This is and has been one of my biggest takeaways. The kindness, compassion, courage and laughter that we shared over the year will continue to resonate and influence me as I head into my next journey. I cherish this network of humans and the incredible Clore Leadership team.
If there is one piece of advice I can give – build a strong network of people around you who will be honest, who will keep you accountable. Do the work on yourself, find the compassion, generosity and integrity that lies within you – and work with that.