I felt genuinely inspired last Wednesday at our Social Design co|Create, where social designer Chloe Meineck, artist Barney Heywood from Stand+Stare, and Arts Programme Producer, Martha King, from Knowle West Media Centre, delivered a fascinating and eclectic session on how they are fusing their creativity, social purpose, and entrepreneurship alongside new technology to create products and services for care home settings, cities and communities. Martha spoke about The Bristol Approach, and their collaboration with Barcelona-based company Making Sense (http://making-sense.eu/), using sensor technology to create smart cities and more precisely, for a community in Bristol, to measure damp in their homes. In a fascinating Q&A afterwards, all three speakers agreed that the starting point for any of these or similar projects, is to start with identifying the need, rather than finding a use for technology. I look forward to seeing how their projects evolve over time and hope that we at Creativity Works can develop some of our own ideas that have emerged through the work that we have been doing with Elders and in our work within Mental Health.
I was very fortunate recently to spend three days on a Leadership and Sustainability course held at the School for Social Entrepreneurs in London. I was amongst an array of colleagues from a number of different charities across the UK. What was so evident and striking was the astonishing work that the 3rd sector undertakes. Organisations working with the homeless, with sex workers, with domestic abuse survivors, with adults with learning difficulties, amongst others, shared and learned from each other. Our commonality was marked not only by our constant struggle to survive as businesses and the increasingly desperate funding climate, but more so by our determination to succeed for our clients and participants and the extraordinary skill and experience of the people working in these organisations. Again, it was a truly inspiring and humbling three days. I am lucky enough to have two more 3 day sessions in January and in March and will report back.
And so another year has flown by. But what a year: an extraordinary tangle of rhetoric, revolt and revulsion. Never have the arts had so vital a role to play in the healing of communities, in the facilitation of dialogue, in the creativity needed to re-envisage our communities. Our effort at Creativity Works is often unseen, it is often unmeasurable but it is always integral to the lives of the people we work with. As the poet Elizabeth Alexander wrote, “to bother to engage with problematic culture, and problematic people within that culture, is an act of love.”
On that salient and sentimental note I, and all at Creativity Works, wish you a very Merry Christmas!