We had the opportunity to discuss topics that were playing on our minds such as change, uncertainty and the value of the work that we do in a world cafe format, which was a new method for me but allowed good, open discussions. It was useful to speak with people, who work in the arts but in different professions, as they have very different opinions and ways of verbalising viewpoints. We touched on topics as far ranging as Brexit and Trump to managing personal change and breaking down the barriers to engagement in our society. A big topic was the civic duty of arts organisations in this volatile time and considering why the 'Arts' are viewed as the baddie and 'other' by much of the population.
Kenneth Tharp, dancer and ex-CEO of The Place, spoke to us about managing uncertainty. He quickly noted that we don't manage uncertainty, we cope, and that uncertainty is around us all the time. A heartening nugget was that uncertainty is key to creativity and I think that many of us, certainly I, found this reassuring as uncertainty can be a frightening thing.
A main takeaway from his talk was about when to know to move on from your job. I think about this quite often, not that I'm considering leaving any time soon but how do you know when to make the leap? Especially if you enjoy your job. How do you know when is right for you and the organisation you work for? He said that you need to line up your aims and ambitions against those of your organisation and see, firstly, if they are the same and, secondly, if you are really needed to help the organisation meet its goals. If you take your leadership values into account and consider what you truly want to achieve in your day to day work then that will help you to come to these sorts of decisions. I'm still some way from identifying my values but this piece of advice really stuck with me. It is always useful to consider the bigger picture of your career trajectory and I enjoyed the opportunity to take a step back for a day and consider where I am and want to be.
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