Fabric – A Creative Leadership Programme

Fabric – A creative Leadership programme lead by Creative Dundee to fuel, teach and inspire the people of Dundee for future creative endeavors.

From Creative Dundee‘s website:
“Fabric is not a course or training on leadership, but an informal peer-to-peer development programme for people who want to grow their confidence and agency for leading creative initiatives and projects that will have positive impacts in Dundee.
A selected group of 20 people will come together monthly to share ideas, inspirations and experiences, from March to June 2020 in various spaces, and meet with current doers and connectors across the city. The programme is designed to immerse participants in new contexts, and widen their knowledge and understanding of the city.”

I was keen to take part in this to further develop my skills and to connect with more people in the creative sector. I’ve really enjoyed the process of running Fun A Day Dundee over the past 4 years, and continue to focus on it’s purpose in Dundee and what it can do for individuals long term. Fabric has helped strengthen my own ideas for how to lead Fun A Day, while also posing some strong ideas, changes, and concepts which will help me develop and grow FADD, as well as opening new doors to future projects.

If you’re keen to get involved creatively with Dundee, I would recommend joining the AMPS community. During lock down, the social breakfast meet ups have been moved into zoom which has been incredibly beneficial for staying in touch, and feeling connected to the city. (Especially being out in the countryside!) There are loads of great reasons to join, not just for the social meets, but for the potential to work on new projects, have access to updates and information about the city, and to be inspired by a diverse group of people while being supported as a creative. 

In anticipation for session 4, and our final installment of the project, we were asked to map our Fabric experience highlighting people, challenges, insights, future learning, and promising ideas. I drew up a simplified version of my thoughts and findings in krita:

Key notes from sessions 1-3:

20200709_194757_0003Session 1

  • “kindness is currency”
  • “think global, act local” – issues, impact and need for locally as well as globally
  • “leadership is not defined by the exercise of power but by the capacity to increase the sense of power among those who lead. The most essential work of the leader is to create more leaders.” – Mary Parker Follett
  • Be aware of your own practice, skills, experience, and achievements. Look at your past, present and future. I evaluated my art goals, achievements, as well as looking at what I wasn’t doing, finding out why, and what changes to make. Even what attitudes and practices I needed to start doing again that I used to. (One thing I have done is get back into sketchbooking. Testing ideas and reflecting.) It was really good to hear from the group about their findings with this activity posed by Johnathan Baxter, our guest speaker for session 1.
  • ‘delegate and encourage skill development’ – by doing this not only are you helping others and providing an opportunity for skill growth, you are strengthening your project/idea/business
  • ‘take risks’
  • ‘adapt’ – being flexible allows you to overcome challenges and to be sustainable
  • ‘reflect and evaluate’
  • ‘create a vision that includes everyone’ – have a collective vision
  • ‘bringing people together – facilitating the right connections’
  • ‘bring in experts/ other insights’
  • ‘communication’
  • ‘adapt when something doesn’t work’
  • ‘educate yourself on the past’20200709_194757_0000Session 2
  • ‘many people confuse leadership with control’
  • ‘great things happen when you let go of control’
  • having open sessions with the group where there’s freedom and nothing planned – organic conversations and ideas
  • let others lead meetings
  • ‘young people disrupt projects in a good way as adults tend to try and please each other’
  • “leadership is revealed meaning, embodied in action”
  • fluidity of the leader role – someone from the group can bring an idea/passion/thought to light and fill the leadership role
  • having an environment where other members able to take over when the current leader is in a negative mindset and is creating a negative influence on the project/tasks
  • ‘dispersed leadership’
    different leaderships structures
  • ‘all members have a permanent role which you can rely on them to fill’
  • ‘community over activity’
  • ‘a space that people belong to’ – safe – trust – self worth
  • not focusing on numbers/figures, but on meaningful and emotional achievements
  • for funding applications, include a variety of perspectives
  • ‘listen’

    Session 320200709_194757_0001
  •  ‘civic spaces’
  • using a variety of spaces in the city when you don’t have a main base
  • some people have misjudgments for the arts and it can limit audience/widen the gap
  • ‘reaching those who aren’t tech savy/ who don’t have access’
  • ‘being affordable – suits many needs – accessible’
  • ‘making small bets to see what works and doesn’t’
  • ‘communicate with others who have experience’
  • ‘art stigmas’
  • ‘creating a community space that feels like home to create a relaxed environment for conversation and ideas’
  • ‘being available and recognizable’
  • ‘being flexible’
  • ‘sharing why the project exists – why are you leading this’
  • ‘trust, space, nurture, time’
  • ‘process vs end product’
  • ‘process of arts are often hidden and that can cause disconnect’ – for example, there is often so much work, even the majority of the project is about the process rather than the end result, yet often enough it’s only the last wee bit that we showcase to the public.


Session 4 (& the last) in following blog post >

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