The first revelation for me in the Agents for Change process has been that walking and talking feels really good. I mean, I’ve done it on away days, but not really as part of my normal working day. It really allows you to think. But walk we did, Alice and I, around the harbourside from Colston Hall past Watershed and the amphitheatre all the way along to Hotwells and then back up past the ss Great Britain and M Shed.
There’s such a lot of history on that walk. Colonialism, slavery, division, labour, leisure, gentrification. We talked about some of it. About Colston Hall’s name, about where we both feel welcome or not welcome in our own city. About how easy it is to assume everyone speaks your language (both literally and figuratively). We had a kind of rambling, free-associating chat about inclusion that felt like it threw up a load of possible avenues for our work together over the next few months.
This was our third meeting. The three of us – Alice, Kate and I – had already met twice in our office to kick off the process. We kept the conversation deliberately open – chatting about our work, our desires for this process, about how difficult it is sometimes to talk about ‘diversity’.
Agents for Change is about pairing artists with organisations to encourage the two to have a six month conversation about diversity. For MAYK, as a tiny organisation with four staff, this is an opportunity for us to look across everything we do – programming, recruitment, marketing, audience development, producing, how we work with our partners. It’s no siloed into ‘departments’. So these first three sessions have been about opening up some conversations about various different things to see where we end up.
Our challenge now is to start challenging these ‘open loops’ of ideas and discussion into a structure. Where do we want to be at the end of this process?
We’ll be using Miscellaney as a space to blog, share ideas, images, articles and so on, in an attempt to keep this process as open as possible. And we’d welcome your comments on what we share – you can do that directly onto these posts, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you find it interesting.