We are only half way through 2020 and you can be forgiven for thinking ‘whatever next?!’ It is a year that will not be forgotten by the history books. Already challenged by responding to climate change and environmental sustainability, we encounter a global pandemic, looking to dramatically shift the way we work and engage with culture – doors firmly closed, collections moth-balled, creatives bound by the limitations of culture in only two dimensions…
Then the persistent trauma of racial injustice - challenged in part, but not yet sufficiently to address systemic inequalities, structural privilege and deep-seated prejudice.
#BlackLivesMatter. There is no room for equivocation.
So culture is affirming that #BlackLivesMatter… it’s an important statement, a welcome acknowledgement. And then...? Who holds to account the changes we do or do not make? How do we shift the responsibility for change from the activist to the institution? From the excluded to the entitled? How to ensure that #AllActionsMatter, #AllOutcomesMatter and #WordsAreNotEnough?
In this respect, the seismic eruption of Covid-19 gives us an opportunity. As we start the ease out of lockdown, there are tough conversations being held and tough decisions to come. Business models, income streams and hierarchies are all being re-assessed, restructured and remodelled. Change is inevitable. So why not act with clear intention? Can we dismantle that which no longer serves us well and build to our aspirations? Can we lose the ‘re’ (return, rebuild, resume), which encourages a look back and, instead, engage afresh with our purpose and values? And create the new norms, protocols and practices to bring about the change we want to see happen?
Can we genuinely open up our circles of influence to inclusive leadership and share the power that must inevitably be shared for change to be experienced? It’s time for big questions, honest conversations and transparent shifts. Empathy, care, deep listening, equality, fairness and kindness are vital as we set a new tone for the future of our sector and create the society we want for future generations.
Now is surely the time to #BeTheChange.