Tag Archives: birmingham

Diversity, Superdiversity, Decolonise not Diversify

Some thoughts on ‘diversity’ and recent debates.

I recently completed an evaluation of RE:Present, a very successful programme which focused on developing the skills and knowledge of 35 diverse cultural leaders in Birmingham. As a result of that work, I can’t stop thinking about the term ‘diversity’ and whether it is helpful or not. Continue reading Diversity, Superdiversity, Decolonise not Diversify

RE:Present Symposium: Cultural Leadership & Diversity

96d82392353416abda2e135d3e625e27-jpg-500x300Since March 2016 I have been involved in the evaluation of the RE:Present programme, a new initiative aimed at emergent and established cultural leaders/ producers and artist/leaders from diverse backgrounds who are currently underrepresented in Birmingham.  Continue reading RE:Present Symposium: Cultural Leadership & Diversity

Diversity and Cultural Leadership

As part of my role as a researcher at Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Studies, I was recently invited to evaluate Re:Present, a new programme of activities which seeks to transform the diversity of Birmingham’s cultural leadership. As researcher / evaluator my focus will be twofold: the individual participants’ experience and the significance of the programme in relation to Birmingham’s cultural ecology.

Created and delivered by Helga Henry of Creative Shift and Lara Ratnaraja, Re:Present is funded by Birmingham City Council and Arts Council England, with the additional support of University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University and Aston Business School. But Re:Present is also best described as a very personal project for Lara and Helga. Having worked with Birmingham’s cultural industries for over 15 years, they have witnessed significant changes in the cultural landscape during that period of time. Re:Present was created in response to their concerns and what they perceive as a lack of opportunities for individuals from ‘diverse’ backgrounds. I will explore the idea of ‘diversity’ in future posts but for this first blog post, I describe the context for this initiative. Continue reading Diversity and Cultural Leadership

Beyond the Campus

What role does Higher Education play in creating platforms, spaces and networks for creative arts and the creative industries? This question was the topic for the third workshop in a series of events, Beyond the Campus organised by Dr Roberta Comunian and Dr Abigail Gilmore and hosted by my colleague Dr Paul Long on Wednesday 6th November 2013.

The workshop focused on collaborations, networks and spaces shared by creative industries and higher education exploring both formal arrangements and practices as well as informal  networks and shared activities. Different spaces and networks were discussed including a keynote talk from Sebastian Olma challenging us to re-think the nature of work and the environments conducive to current working practices. Olma’s work is based on his study of serendipity as a crucial ingredient in innovative and entrepreneurial models of work, discussed previously in this blog.

My own contribution was a study of Birmingham’s creative milieu and how it can act as a space for students in ‘becoming’ a creative industries professional.  My research suggests that an opportunity to interact with the local creative industries community can offer an environment for experimentation in preparing for the realities of creative industries work.

I argue that by engaging in a creative industries milieu, characterized by its networks, relationships, key individuals and spaces (on and offline), students experience the realities of cultural work. Some students contribute to the local dynamic, establishing relationships which last well beyond their studies. But the process of immersing oneself requires cultural and social capital, and, as a student, is by no means easy. The research highlights some of the challenges through my interviews with international students and networks such as Birmingham’s Social Media Cafe. I suggest that a focus on encouraging interaction to explore the realities of creative work leaves little room for contesting or disrupting the status quo. A lack of critical reflection could be dangerous for creative industries students entering what is often described by academics as insecure and precarious work.

I hope that as part of the Beyond the Campus research, some of these challenges will be further developed.

My presentation slides:

Tunde visits Sampad and takes a creative leap!

When I was first told I was going to interview someone for our Cultural Entrepreneurship blog, my heart skipped, mainly because I had never interviewed anyone before (except you count interviewing your friends about sports and music a real interview). However, the day came and I was totally excited because I had the opportunity to do what I hadn’t done before and it also gave me the opportunity to ‘travel’ and see the other side Birmingham. So I hopped on the bus armed with my phone for recording, my already prepared questions and my pen and paper for writing.

Continue reading Tunde visits Sampad and takes a creative leap!

Collette Waudby – A Cultural Enterprise Case Study

Collette Waudy Ltd started in 1995 as a jewellery designer-maker in Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter.Here she talks about her experiences of running a business within the creative industries.

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