Discover Diaries: Gemma Wright | Week Two

In partnership with Clore Social, we’re delivering our pilot ‘Discover’ programme in Spring 2019: a four week online introduction to leadership. As part of this, we invited participants to keep ‘Discover Diaries’ – thoughts, insights and ‘notes to self’ about this new learning experience.

Gemma Wright: Week Two

My goals going into the second week were to focus my leadership capabilities within the wider context, and consider the bigger picture. I also wanted to continue learning, being challenged and building confidence.

My key take-away this week is that the best leaders understand why they do what they do. That communicating your passion and belief, in relation to what drives you to do your role, can nurture similar commitment in others. In Simon Sinek’s Ted talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action he states: “What you do serves as the proof of why you do it.”

As a passionate advocate I have spoken about the ‘why’ increasingly in my work, however I hadn’t realised the importance and impact this had on my leadership. For me working in arts education is driven by passion, belief, value and meaning. The tasks and resources in week two have enabled me to see the power within this and the skills I already possess.

This week challenged me to consider strategic foresight and self-reflect on my skills as a system thinker. What is my long-term goal to impact social change? How can I make a difference? Big questions! In deliberating this, The Permaculture Podcast: Systems Thinking for Personal Transformation and Social Change, challenged me to think about individual action, personal responsibility and collective change.

I was inspired by the long-read article, The Dawn of System Leadership, by Peter Senge, Hal Hamilton, & John Kania. I felt that this resource gave me confidence in how to approach change making as a leader. Whilst a daunting prospect, this article made me feel it is achievable, and shared case studies and guidance for moving along the path of change.

Some of my learning for this week has already been put into practice. I lead Camden Arts Centre’s Access Forum, which aims to improve access to the arts for audiences with Special Educational Needs. The forum currently has in excess of 70 members across London’s galleries, museums, theatres, and specialist organisations and is expanding. My learning from this week has highlighted the importance of building collaborative networks for systemic change, and has given me the courage to see what the potential and power of this collective group could be.

Read Gemma’s Week One Discover Diary here.


By Gemma Wright, Head of Education, Camden Arts Centre