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governance News ways-of-working

Pocket guide: environmental responsibility in arts organisations

“In a climate emergency, what is the role of an arts organisation? How can we create an environmental responsibility policy and action plan which is meaningful?”

Towards the end of 2021, we had a workshop-style board meeting*, looking at environmental responsibility and the climate crisis.

(*We’ve changed how we do board meetings to make it easier to get lots of different perspectives in our organisational leadership.)

We gathered (virtually, on Zoom) a group of artists, event organisers, climate specialists and activists alongside our staff and trustees to get our teeth into the topic.

Lots of people emphasised the importance of transparency in that discussion – so we’re sharing ideas and wisdom that came out of the session so that anyone can use any bits that are helpful.

NOTE: at this stage, these are things that people suggested or mentioned in the workshop. We can’t claim that these are all things that we are doing already, or even that we definitely will do. Like everyone, we’re ‘on a journey’ with these changes. We want to go as fast as we can but we’re also conscious of how far we’ve still got to go. We’ll at least try to be open and honest about our progress along the way!


In a hurry? Hate gifs? Download or share this as a 2-page ‘pocket guide’ (Google Docs)

5 ways arts work can directly help with the climate crisis

  1. We support creative work, stage ‘public spectacle’ events and have the marketing skills to reach audiences. Harness these elements of our work directly to the climate cause.
  2. We know and work with brilliant artists – experts in powerfully engaging people’s attention and emotions. Team these creatives up with scientists.
  3. We regularly put on events with hundreds of people in attendance. Use our skills to launch citizens’ assemblies to debate and pressure.
  4. We have ongoing communications with loyal audiences who love what we do and will listen to what we have to say. Work with our audiences to make our voice louder.
  5. We are part of a ‘place infrastructure’ – people travel to our venues and events and we contribute to the shape of our area. Play an active part in making travel environmentally-sustainable where we are based.

9 things we can start doing right now to bring climate policies to life in our day-to-day operations

  1. Put sustainable activities in our Business Plan. Build climate considerations into business planning and KPIs.
  2. Specifically allocate staff resource and time to environmental responsibility.
  3. Audit suppliers and artists we work with to make sure they share our values and commitment to combating the climate crisis.
  4. Pay people more! (Climate justice and economic justice are inextricably linked).
  5. Climate considerations should cut through everything we do: the way we procure, the way we market, the way we do our cleaning… So make sure climate considerations are on every meeting agenda.
  6. Train up our staff on Carbon Literacy. Create a Carbon Literacy Toolkit for the organisation for training purposes.
  7. Calculate our digital carbon impact as well as our physical one.
  8. Keep talking about climate justice. Be public and transparent about our policies and progress (or lack thereof!). Share what’s working and what’s not with other organisations. Share our climate values in communications other than dry, internal policies.
  9. Increase sustainability in physical spaces we control. Plant some bee-friendly plants! Find ways to harvest rainwater!

3 big picture perspectives to keep in mind across everything

  1. The system’s got to change, not just actions. This needs to go beyond small modifications to ‘business as usual’. We should articulate the view that the relentless drive for economic growth and exploitative, colonialist capitalist ‘norms’ are fundamental drivers of the climate problem, and that clear alternatives must be sought.
  2. Resist ‘growth-at-all-costs’. ‘Green growth’ may be a contradiction in terms. Slow everything; reduce quantity of output to allow more space for thinking about the quality of our sustainability.
  3. Vote with our wallet. Be choosy about who we work with: don’t spend our money with companies that deny the climate crisis, or work against it; do develop creative partnerships with companies striving for positive climate action. Support our staff to take dedicated time for sustainability efforts.

4 examples of handy resources/further reading

  1. Big picture: read Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics
  2. Practical changes: use Julie’s Bicycle‘s carbon footprint spreadsheet.
  3. Practical changes: use online services like Networked Condition that can help analyse websites and the digital impacts we have on the environment
  4. Harnessing our work to the climate cause: check out I Stand For What I Stand On at COP 26 – a co-created show about the climate crisis

Future board workshops

We’re planning to continue with this format of board workshops. If you’re interested in participating in future sessions, follow us on socials so that you know when the next workshop is coming up!

Credit: Ed Rees/Pigfoot Theatre
Categories
Arts manifesto governance News Past Opportunities ways-of-working

Workshop board session: climate crisis and the arts

“In a climate emergency, what is the role of an arts organisation? How can we create an environmental responsibility policy and action plan which is meaningful?”

🗓 Tuesday 2 November, 1pm
💻 Online (via Zoom)


Our board and staff team are working on our environmental responsibility plan and we want it to be more than just a policy about recycling paper in the office. We’d love to chat to other people about how they’re approaching this kind of work and hear about different, bold or experimental approaches from the arts and from other sectors.

If you have experiences, opinions or ideas you could share with us in the workshop we’d love to hear from you. You might:

  • be an artist or company that has navigated making carbon neutral or net zero work
  • have worked on a project which has done things differently when it comes to environmental responsibility
  • have experience or knowledge of leading an organisation through environmental sustainability or climate justice work

Why workshop sessions? 

Earlier this year, we outlined our new approach to our governance: how decisions are made about how Strike A Light is run, and how we could make sure that more voices were heard in this

Like a lot of arts organisations, Strike A Light is a charity and so our board of trustees meet regularly throughout the year to oversee, advise and support the running of the organisation. We want to open up this process and have written a couple of blogs about why we think change is vital for us and across the sector. 

In short, we will move the primary focus of our governance activity to workshops rather than board meetings – where artists, communities and industry work alongside board members to directly influence and support Strike A Light’s approach. 

Read more about what happened in our first workshop.

Rather than a single, static board who feel they have to drive the strategy and make decisions on every topic, this arrangement provides dynamic support and skills for the governance of Strike A Light.

We’ll be doing a workshop on a different topic every three months and each different workshop will involve quite different groups of people. 

There will be a combination of trustees, freelancers, arts professionals, professionals from other industries, community members and artists.

The size, make-up and dynamics of each group will change to best reflect the workshop topic. 


How does it work?

If you have knowledge, experience or a professional interest in this topic and are interested in being part of the workshop on Tuesday 2 November, then just drop us an email to let us know who you are and why you’re keen and we’ll be in touch with more details about the workshop and so you can ask any questions. 

The workshop in November will take place on Zoom, will be informal discussions and last for 1 hour and 15 mins. 

  • Workshop attendees can be paid for their time. We know there’s an issue with asking freelancers, artists etc to put in unpaid time. After the workshop you can invoice us for £75 towards your time. Alternatively you can choose to donate your time as a trustee would. You don’t need to tell us which you’re opting for – just send us an invoice afterwards, or don’t. 
  • There’s flexibility to the time commitment. You might attend future workshops too if you feel you can contribute to several topics, but equally you might just attend the one workshop that’s your bag. 
  • Workshop formats can vary to suit attendees and topic e.g. we can do one small group discussion or a structured activity with breakout sessions etc. 
  • Options for digital or hybrid meetings give much greater opportunities to work with people from across the country or even internationally. We’re planning this workshop on zoom. If you’re local to Gloucester and would prefer to meet in person for a chat on the topic or would prefer a one to one phone call we can do that too.

We hope these sessions will also give people an opportunity to find out more about how the Strike A Light board works, meet trustees and demystify the governance process.

Categories
News

I Stand For What I Stand On 2021

In October 2020, Gloucester Youth Community Action performed a ‘work in progress’ of I Stand For What I Stand On at Gloucester Cathedral under Luke Jerram’s Gaia. The show was also live streamed so it could be watched all over the world.

Trailer for I Stand For What I Stand On

“Getting a glimpse into the lives of these Gloucester activists is so inspiring, whilst also highlighting the absurdity of the situation: that children enamoured with pop heartthrobs and preoccupied with studying for their GCSEs are simultaneously having to worry about a global crisis that international governments are simply brushing aside.” – Claudia (Producer)

Cheltenham Science Festival

The group continued meeting over the start of 2021 (on Zoom). In the school holidays they managed to spend some time together and further developed the show. In June 2021 they shared the show so far at Cheltenham Science Festival. They also did a talk with other activists including Gina Martin, Tolmeia Gregory and Aja Barber.

Gloucester Rooftop Festival

They then performed the work in progress sharing at Rooftop Festival in Gloucester in July 2021.

“Performing at the Rooftop Festival was really cool and it was inspirational to see other people performing and linking their art to issues in the world. It was a friendly atmosphere and despite the heat, it was great to take our performance to people who weren’t familiar with us. Our previous performances had been in front of people who mostly knew us already, so it was a crowd of new faces.”

📸 Fluxx films

R&D at University of Gloucestershire

In the summer holidays the team worked together at the University of Gloucestershire to further develop the show. They were joined by Movement Director Rosie and Lighting Designer Will (and Strike A Light office dog Winnie and one of her gorgeous puppies). They also spent the summer reaching out to other young climate activists both nationally and internationally for them to tell their story as part of the show.

“It has been amazing to be able to have in person rehearsals again at the beginning of the summer to develop the show.  Working with a wider creative team has been so much fun and we have all really enjoyed learning about and coming up with ideas for set design and video. As well as adding more movement into the show – although we were definitely exhausted at the end of the 4 days!!”

“Over the past few weeks and months we have been reaching out online to global climate activists to recruit them to become part of our show. We’ve made connections with around thirty young activists from across the world – some of which we already knew, alongside others who we have been getting to know through making parts of the show together! It’s been amazing to hear from activists from so many different backgrounds and listen to their stories, thoughts and beliefs. I’m very excited to feature content from these incredible people in ‘I Stand For What I Stand On’, as it means we are able to give a more balanced and in depth view of the experiences and meaning of youth climate activism for people across the movement.”

National Theatre Workshop

At the end of their R&D week the team were very excited to be invited to lead a workshop for the National Theatre as part of their programme for young people ‘Shaping the Future: Theatre-Making and the Climate’.

“We ran a workshop for the National Theatre which was great fun although we were a bit nervous beforehand. It was great to get a chance to talk to other young people who care about the environment especially as we have lost so many opportunities to do this during the pandemic.”

Next steps…

We’re incredibly excited the show is almost complete and they will be going on tour this October/November. Catch them at Tobacco Factory Theatres in Bristol, Gloucester Guildhall, Warwick Arts Centre and COP26!!

“We are all really looking forward to performing ‘I Stand For What I Stand On’ on tour and hopefully getting to meet more young activists as this has been a huge highlight both at cheltenham science festival and with our global digital cast.”

We’re beyond proud to be working with these awesome young people and creative team on this kickass show and know this is only the beginning.

“Being a young activist at the moment is very scary to say the least. Everywhere you look there are natural disasters and humanitarian crises, many of which have been caused or worsened by climate change. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed and feel totally hopeless but working on this project has given me the opportunity to understand, express and manage those emotions. I’ve realised that despite this, there is still so much we can save if everyone works together, and that is one of the main messages I’d love to give to anyone who watches our show.”

Categories
News

My Stand For The Earth

“In 2019, I was arrested as part of the October XR rebellion outside Whitehall. It was the day before my birthday. I didn’t particularly want to be arrested and I have mixed feelings about the efficacy of it as a way of protest but I felt out of options.

I’ve stood for the Green Party several times, marched, shouted, signed petitions and done some stuff; probably not enough. I often feel like I am the conscience at work and the voice of doom around climate and our behaviours. To be clear: I do not always practise what I preach, definitely not. But having some awareness of it makes for uncomfortable living.”


Since 2019, I have been lucky enough to be working with a brilliant group of young climate activists from Gloucester. I met this group of striking young climate activists shouting in the streets.

They are a small group of extraordinary young people aged 14-18. Protesting with banners and their voices and shouting for their future with words of wisdom and speeches beautifully crafted that would put many  politicians to shame, they were often met with abuse.

We offered them some office space to hold their meetings in and two years later we have co-created a new live show with them co-written by them and writer/director Anna Himali Howard.

It feels more meaningful to me than being arrested and a better use of my skills. It’s going on tour in October/November this year and we’re all coming up to COP 26 to perform the show and be present for the conference.

I stand for what I stand on is a live show performed by four young climate activists from Gloucester and a global digital cast. The show is performed directly to each audience member through headphones with original sound and digital design. Drawing on autobiographical experiences, a love of Harry Styles and Abba, an extraordinary understanding of the climate crisis and using cardboard protest signs, I stand for what I stand on share’s the young international casts’ thoughts and fears about the impending climate crisis and explores the reality of being a teenager and growing up in the shadow of the climate emergency.

Here’s a link to a trailer from the scratch performance from last year.

I read the final draft on a train journey this week and I laughed out loud and cried. I’m proud of lots of the work that I have been involved in but this is maybe the one I’m most proud of.


Apart from helping make this brilliant show, I’m not sure what else? What else to do and who else to talk to. I know that there is loads of brilliant stuff going on and I don’t want us to reinvent the wheel.

We’d like to connect with other artists/arts organisations/people in Glasgow when we’re up there. People who are thinking about their work, young people, co-creation, the climate emergency and actually what the fuck do we do?

We had three brilliant away days at Strike A Light last week and we started talking about our response to the climate emergency. Frankly it was uncomfortable. Not because we don’t care – we do – but it’s overwhelming and scary and loaded with bombshells.

One of our producers said that “it feels like posh white people talk about it and it annoys me; I know that it shouldn’t but it does”.

I am definitely one of those ‘posh white people’ and I get it. I get it can be annoying and seriously depressing. At the end of the session it was suggested that we did something to cheer us all up. I said that maybe it was ok to sit with discomfort; it’s real.

We also all agreed that we felt passionately about I stand for what I stand on and the support that we want to give to the brave young people who have made this show and literally feel that they are fighting for their future. That did cheer us up.

So in summary; I don’t have any answers. I feel sad and frustrated a lot of the time. I’m bursting with pride that we have genuinely co-created a performance with some amazing young people. We’d love to meet up with you in Glasgow if you’re there. Maybe organise an event, have a conversation, share some ideas, cry together but essentially be together in this, be a community.

I’ve lifted some text from I stand for what I stand on. It says it so much better than I can.

Everyone in their lives inevitably runs into something that they can’t deal with alone, or faces an issue that is affecting many people…We realised that climate change is not an isolated issue, there are so many other factors that contribute to how heavily you are affected by it, like social class, race, gender, age. In order to tackle climate change there are so many other issues that simultaneously need to be addressed. You as individuals may have interests and goals too, issues you care about that you’d love to take action on, but on your own you don’t know where to start. You need to make connections and find people who share the same view, or even convince someone to change theirs.

A community allows you to give and receive care, to look after one another and to have people to rely on. We need these local and global communities to be stronger than ever as we face the impacts of the climate crisis. Living life only doing things for yourself is difficult and needless, and the world would be such a better place if we all communicated more and cared for each other.”

A personal response from Sarah Blowers (Co-Artistic Director)

Categories
Coming up Events Listening to artists News Past Opportunities

Let Artists Be Artists – experiment sharing session

What is it?

A 1.5 hour online sharing session, reporting back on what we’ve learnt from the first few months of our ‘Let Artists Be Artists’ experiment.

This ‘industry sharing’ event is aimed at anyone interested in the idea of finding new ways to work with and support artists – in particular, organisations or individuals considering trying out a similar approach, testing out a new model for commissioning or reviewing how they work with artists.

The focus will be on sharing what we’ve learned so far, with three main goals in mind:

  1. to continue to be transparent in the whole process
  2. to hopefully make it easy for others to try out something similar for themselves
  3. to stimulate ongoing conversation about how to build a fairer, more adventurous arts industry

We will share:

  • How the project came about
  • The purpose of the experiment, but also the nuts and bolts of how it worked in practice
  • How we involved artists in its development
  • The recruitment process: how it was run, what worked and what didn’t (both from our perspective and that of artists)
  • The 3 appointed LABA artists will share their experiences so far
  • Specific resources and documentation from everything so far – everything from the overall project framework down to the Google Sheets and Apps Script we used to make shortlisting more manageable

Practical details and how to join

The session will take place online, via Zoom (live captioning available)

Places are free, but you do need to book in advance so that we have an idea of numbers! (You’re also welcome to make a donation towards our work if you’d like to!)

We will send out the Zoom link and joining information to all bookers closer to the date of the session (Weds 15 Sep)

Funders and partners

We’re so grateful to all of the organisations who are joining us to make this a reality:

Action Hero | The Arts Development Company | Bristol Ferment | Create Gloucestershire | GL4 | Gloucester Culture Trust | Jerwood Arts | MAYK | Pound Arts | Theatre Bristol | Theatre Orchard | Travelling Light Theatre Company | Trinity Bristol

Categories
governance News

Our first new, workshop-style board meeting

How do we make world-changing art which is relevant to the real world and doesn’t shy away from the issues affecting communities we work with, whilst ensuring that we keep within the legal restrictions relating to charities and political campaigning?

That was the question under discussion in the first board meeting following our new workshop format.

(Backstory: we recently came up with a new plan for our board meetings and governance because boards need to change – and we wanted to be able to include lots of different perspectives in our board meetings.)

How it went

I opened up the Zoom call and started letting people in: a combination of our formal trustees and the guest participants who wanted to join this workshop session.

As the screen began to fill up, I genuinely had tingles of excitement – not something you usually associate with a charity board meeting!

Over the course of the meeting, we heard from artists, lawyers, producers and trustees. This was a room full of fantastic people. People generously shared their own experiences: of the police turning up at their show, of changing legislation through theatre, of being censored by their government, of being asked to tone down their work, being asked to make it ‘less political’.

We talked a lot about the big things – if you aren’t engaging with the real world and people’s experiences then what is the arts even for? – and about the more specific things – how does ‘education’ function as a charitable object in this context, for example?


Below are our notes from the session, which we’re sharing for anyone who might want to use them. We’ll be using this to write up our staff and board procedures for how we create and manage work which could be considered political. 

A massive thank you to everyone who joined us in this new venture and who so openly shared their experiences – we really value it.

We’ll be hosting workshops in future on different topics. If you’d like to be kept up to date, let us know.

Notes and actions

Framing question

We believe that failing to engage with the challenges of today’s society isn’t apolitical. Saying nothing is not a ‘neutral’ position. It’s an active choice to maintain the status quo and the privileged which that status quo serves.

It’s true that charities have legal obligations about avoiding party politics – but this is something else. This is the word ‘politics’ being weaponised to attack charities that are engaging with the real world.

Over the next year, Strike A Light will be supporting artists and communities making work about food banks, the climate emergency and Black history.

Is it possible to do this without being ‘political’? Or should we just stage plays about the upper middle classes, written by dead white men? Is that less ‘political’?

Participant comments

  • Art is about sharing stories and sharing experiences, and it responds to the world around us. Therefore it will always include current events, people’s opinions, reflect society and to brand this as political in its own right is inaccurate. 
  • Charities are not able to undertake political campaigning unless it supports their charitable purposes – and such campaigning cannot be the continuing and sole activity of the charity (official guidance here). For many arts charities their purposes are related to promoting the arts and/or education, rather than specific social or political causes.
  • It’s important to separate ‘political’ themes and actual political campaigning – the latter is only allowed for charities in some specific instances. The former often gets branded as campaigning but it isn’t. Engaging with social justice or social change could be branded as political activity or it could be about an organisation’s responsibility to the communities it serves, about equality, human rights or simply relevance in their work.
  • Partnering with a campaigning body or organisation that does have a remit or purposes related to the cause can be a way of enabling the campaigning work without it being led by the arts charity. Academics or organisations with a policy remit will have expertise and knowledge that can drive this process, with conversation and public engagement facilitated by the arts activity. 
  • Co-creating with the communities that the topic directly affects, using verbatim theatre or asking the audience for their suggestions/ perceptions, means that as the arts charity you are providing the creative facilitation for the conversation but it’s not the views of the charity that are being presented. The charity themselves are not actively campaigning so this can be a way of managing risk as well as ensuring the work is authentic.
  • Nervousness and risk-averse messages often come from venues and funders and very often from within the arts e.g. not external censorship of an artistic product but a risk-averse culture which stifles it. For example, venues won’t programme something out of fear of local authority funding being pulled or unspecific fears that it might ‘cause trouble’. For example, conferences asking for less ‘political’ work because they are concerned about a Charity Commission investigation etc. 
  • Do your research and explore what the real risk is – for example, what really counts as defamation of character. Just expressing a negative opinion about an individual’s conduct isn’t defamation. There may be occasions where it is appropriate to speak unwelcome truths to achieve change. Conversations with funders and venues in advance help determine the actual risk of funding being withdrawn. If funding was withdrawn what are the alternatives, is your reputation strong enough to withstand it etc. Is it actual risk or perceived risk?
  • We talked a lot about balancing risk and ‘walking the tightrope’.
  • Funding that is tied to central government funding is more at risk of being allocated or withdrawn in response to government policy
  • Some organisations who want to explicitly campaign on government policy will choose a legal structure which allows for this or establish a separate campaigning organisation linked to the charity. 
  • You can create processes around a show to allow a space to air things that you might not be able to say publicly, so that you’re not closing down that dialogue for participants. Or you could signpost to action people can take outside the show – again the arts organisation is a creative facilitator not the campaign vehicle. Think about the provocation to the audience and plan this into the project.
  • Be clever and well-researched if you’re engaging with individual politicians and policies: know the action you’re trying to achieve and why. If you’re trying to affect change, what is the best way of doing that? That’s not necessarily by making political statements in the script of a show. 
  • Index on Censorship have some great resources for arts organisation and give clear guidance on topics where there is an existing legal framework, for example Obscene Publications, Counter Terrorism or Public Order.
  • Have open discussions from the outset, look after the people involved in your project and your staff, prepare for the emotional toll and put in support mechanisms.
  • The way you run your organisation and how you use your resources could in themselves be ways of affecting social change. It doesn’t always have to be about an artwork provoking change. The arts are robust when they have a civic role and they matter to people. That can be about who’s at the table, who gets a platform, challenging barriers to access, providing opportunities for creativity etc.
Categories
governance News Past Opportunities Uncategorized

Workshop board session: the arts, charity and politics

Listen to an audio transcription of this page

How do we make world-changing art which is relevant to the real world and doesn’t shy away from the issues affecting communities we work with – whilst at the same time ensuring that we work within the legal restrictions relating to charities and political campaigning?


Charities and arts organisations are coming under fire for being “too political”. But we believe that failing to engage with the challenges of today’s society isn’t apolitical. Saying nothing is not a ‘neutral’ position. It’s an active choice to maintain the status quo and the privileged which that status quo serves.


Why workshop sessions?

Earlier this year, we outlined our new approach to our governance: how decisions are made about how Strike A Light is run, and how we could make sure that more voices were heard in this

Like a lot of arts organisations, Strike A Light is a charity and so our board of trustees meet regularly throughout the year to oversee, advise and support the running of the organisation. We want to open up this process and have written a couple of blogs about why we think change is vital for us and across the sector. 

In short, we will move the primary focus of our governance activity to workshops rather than board meetings – where artists, communities and industry work alongside board members to directly influence and support Strike A Light’s approach. 

We’re making this happen and our first workshop will be taking place on Tuesday 20 July at 1pm – focusing on arts, charities and politics. 

Rather than a single, static board who feel they have to drive the strategy and make decisions on every topic, this arrangement provides dynamic support and skills for the governance of Strike A Light.


We’ll be doing a workshop on a different topic every three months and each different workshop will involve quite different groups of people. 

There will be a combination of trustees, freelancers, arts professionals, professionals from other industries, community members and artists.
The size, make-up and dynamics of each group will change to best reflect the workshop topic. 

  • Workshop attendees can be paid for their time. We know there’s an issue with asking freelancers, artists etc to put in unpaid time. After the workshop you can invoice us for £75 towards your time. Alternatively you can choose to donate your time as a trustee would. You don’t need to tell us which you’re opting for – just send us an invoice afterwards, or don’t. 
  • There’s flexibility to the time commitment. You might attend future workshops too if you feel you can contribute to several topics, but equally you might just attend the one workshop that’s your bag. 
  • Workshop formats can vary to suit attendees and topic e.g. we can do one small group discussion or a structured activity with breakout sessions etc. 
  • Options for digital or hybrid meetings give much greater opportunities to work with people from across the country or even internationally. We’re planning this first workshop on zoom. If you’re local to Gloucester and would prefer to meet in person for a chat on the topic or would prefer a one to one phone call we can do that too.

We hope theses sessions will also give people an opportunity to find out more about how the Strike A Light board works, meet trustees and demystify the governance process.

Categories
News Participation Uncategorized Youth Theatre

Can you solve the Youth Theatre murder mystery?

The Strike A Light Youth Theatre have gotten themselves mixed up in some worrying business:

Camera Cameron has gone missing 😱 – but nobody is willing to say what happened…

Who is hiding the ultimate secret? Is somebody guilty? Which of the six suspects is the true culprit?

Watch what everyone has to say. Put the clues together. And see if you can guess whodunnit.

Win a prize!

First to send the right answer to rhiannon@strikealightfestival.org.uk wins a doorstep show from the Strike A Light Youth Theatre! 🎉


The suspects

So…whodunnit?

Send your guess of the guilty person’s name to rhiannon@strikealightfestival.org.uk – first to get it right wins a doorstep performance from these legends! 🎉

Categories
Arts manifesto News Past Opportunities ways-of-working

OPPORTUNITY: 1 year paid arts leadership placement – Executive Directors of the Future

Listen to an audio transcription of this page

We’re delighted to be partnering with Artistic Directors of the Future to host the second instalment of the Up Next arts leadership programme – a scheme designed to hand over power and resources to visionary people of colour within established theatre organisations.

Under the scheme, one successful applicant will get a 1 year, 4 day/week placement with Strike A Light in the role of Executive Director. This will include mentoring, training and support from Strike A Light and the ADF network. 

This is a paid placement, at a rate of £35,000 per year pro rata.

Candidates must:

  • be from a Black, Asian, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islander, Indigenous, Native American, Hawaiian, Hispanic/Latinx or Mixed-Race background
  • be an ADF member (free to join)
  • be available to work in the Strike A Light office in Gloucester at least 1 day per week
  • be available to work for Strike A Light 4 days per week from October or November 2021 for 12 months

The programme is NOW OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS.

Key dates:
5 July 2021: Applications open
20 Sep 2021, 9am: Applications close
Week commencing 4October 2021: Interviews
Oct/Nov 2021: Up Next Executive Director 12 month p/t contract

How to apply

  1. You must be a member of ADF to apply. It’s completely free to join.

2. Complete the application documents


3. Email your completed documents to admin@adofthefuture.com, for the attention of Sandra Thompson-Quartey


About the scheme

Up Next is designed to hand over power and resources to visionary people of colour within established theatre organisations. The initiative is a catalyst for progressive change within organisations that participate in the programme and supports the diversity of their workforce.

This no hand-holding initiative presents a one of a kind opportunity for ADF members to take the keys, take the budgets, take the space and change the game.

Artistic Directors of the Future (ADF) launched this revolutionary leadership programme in 2017, in partnership with Battersea Arts Centre and Bush Theatre and supported by the Arts Council England Sustained Theatre Fund.

The initiative saw five ADF members from culturally diverse backgrounds take up positions of leadership – bringing change to tomorrow’s arts and cultural landscape.

 “I would never have this job if it wasn’t for ADF. There were times when I really couldn’t continue theatre and it was the great community I had through ADF that made me feel there was still a place for me in this industry. I only got this job, partly through my relationship with BAC, and the Up Next programme.”  – Tarek Iskander, Battersea Arts Centre Artistic Director and Up Next 2017 participant

This year, Up Next will offer a one-off opportunity to a candidate who will bring their perspective and lived experience as a person of colour to Strike A Light and share new ideas and strategies to shape the organisation.

The main goal of the placement is that, by the end of the year, the Up Next candidate will have gained valuable experience that can support them to demonstrate the skills, knowledge and confidence to step into a senior leadership role within the cultural sector.

About the placement

The scheme will offer one person a one-year placement with Strike A Light in Gloucester in the role of Executive Director.

The Executive Director is a key part of the Strike A Light team, working alongside the Co-Artistic Directors to lead the organisation. The role is one that holds, shapes, supports and drives the entire organisation.

Primary purpose: with the Artistic Directors, to drive the strategic and creative direction of the organisation, leading on planning, finance and organisational development of Strike A Light.

For this placement, Strike A Light are looking for someone to join the team who is excited about the organisation’s work, who understands the principles underpinning it and who wants to bring new ideas and ways of working to the organisation.

The placement will be best-suited to someone who enjoys being the go-to person in a team, and who has a broad range of experience in different areas and job roles in the arts. 

About Strike A Light

As a small charity, Strike A Light has been punching above its weight in terms of national profile and innovative thinking which is influencing the industry.

We believe that for the arts industry to change, the leadership needs to change – and that artists and communities need to be at the heart of developing cultural programmes. We use 7 Key principles for creating cultural events and these inform the whole organisation and its decision making.


Next steps

The programme is NOW OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS.

Key dates:
5 July 2021: Applications open
20 Sep 2021, 9am: Applications close
Week commencing 4 October 2021: Interviews
Oct/Nov 2021: Up Next Executive Director 12 month p/t contract

How to apply

  1. You must be a member of ADF to apply. It’s completely free to join.

2. Complete the application documents


3. Email your completed documents to admin@adofthefuture.com, for the attention of Sandra Thompson-Quartey

Deadline for applications extended: Closing Monday 20 September, 9am

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Interning with Strike A Light: Aimée Lewis

A photograph of Aimee Lewis
Aimée Lewis

What’s your name and where do you come from? 

I’m Aimée Lewis and I live in Cheltenham but went to university in Gloucester and aim to keep working in the city. I want to be part of the huge cultural changes in the city that aim to make an impact in the surrounding communities.

What were you doing before joining Strike A Light?

I was fresh out of finishing a film degree at University and working in a coffee shop, striving for something more creative.

In March 2019, Gloucester Culture Trust launched the Creative Leadership Trainee Programme. I was accepted on to the programme and began working for Gloucestershire Libraries as a Cultural Leadership Trainee. My role allowed me to experiment and challenge new ideas for arts and culture in libraries, bringing new ways of approaching projects and events for communities. Then I was offered the chance to do part of that role with Strike A Light.

I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have got the experience to work with Strike A Light because I wanted to still stay in Gloucestershire. It was the perfect opportunity to move into for me.

How did you hear about the opportunity and what made you think it sounded interesting?

My mum actually tagged me in a post on Facebook! That’s how I heard about my cultural leadership trainee role. At first I didn’t really understand what it meant because it was a completely new role for myself and the organisations but it was exciting to have a creative job opportunity pop up right on my doorstep at the perfect time for me. 

I had no idea that Strike A Light existed before and wasn’t involved in the creative Gloucester community. All I can say is that I was impressed with what I learned, and honoured to have memories of taking part in events and supporting artists for exciting things happening in Gloucester!

Can you remember what your first day was like?

Yes, mostly because I hadn’t met anyone prior from Strike A Light so I really didn’t know what to expect. I remember Jess opening the door to me and making me feel so welcome. I remember the office vibe being so chill and bright. On my first day, Jess talked me through everything and I felt super comfortable to get on with stuff right away, even if I didn’t know what I was really doing at first.

Any particular highlights or lowlights?

Highs 

So many but I’ll keep them breif! 

  • Front of House 

I really enjoyed being chatty and welcoming to audiences. It really helped with my confidence and also being able to watch every performance was a bonus. The time spent with Jess and others on front of house was so fun and there’s a few memories I’ll cherish forever (like that one time I thought a pigeon needed saving so went to pick it up to move it but it totally mugged me off and moved right back)

  • Producing a show for Jonny Fluffypunk 
Aimee produced ‘The End of the Pier Show’ with Jonny Fluffypunk

Working with Jonny and Christina has been such an experience that was really enjoyable but difficult at times because I was in a new environment. I noticed the support that everyone had for each other straight away and it was something I definitely needed at times. It was magical to see the show come to life and to see first hand how those experiences were really enjoyed by children and their families. Even though lockdown ruined live performances, I still got to see how far the show developed and had fun working on the audience facing interactive parts of the project like the workshops plus we got to create a digital copy of the show.

  • Filming with Barney/Fluxx Films

The time I spent directing some videos for Strike A Light with Barney was awesome. I got to interview audience members and really understand their experiences with the events that we put on. It was great to be a part of putting it together into a video to shout about what Strike A Light do best. 

Lows 

  • Lockdown

What a downer!! Working from my bedroom all day wasn’t great. I quickly noticed that not being in the office with people being easily able to turn around and ask for help was hard. I got a little bit more of responsibility with producing Jon’s show in lockdown so the pressure of being stuck inside along with it wasn’t the best. However, I’m proud of myself that I stuck it through and it was really useful to have those 1:1 conversations with the team about it all in the end. 

Was the year how you expected it to be?

I didn’t know what to expect at first because when I applied for my trainee position it was focussed around libraries and Strike A Light was a sort of extension. Therefore, I had no clue how the two organisations were going to click together but in some cases they did. I look forward to keep crossing the Gloucestershire Libraries & Strike A Light bridge. 

When I started, I had no idea that I’d be working on a new children’s theatre show and later on producing a digital version in lockdown. I didn’t think I’d have as much control and freedom in the role which has been nice but also terrifying at the same time. 

I didn’t expect everyone to be so welcoming and friendly or to be sometimes watching the team take part in 30 second planking competitions! I also didn’t imagine myself enjoying front of house at events so much but it’s really helped with my confidence over the year. I loved talking to communities about the exciting stuff we were doing! 

Favourite and least favourite things about the work?

My favourite has to be meeting all of the team and working with them to put on awesome and exciting events in Gloucester! The least is working from home during lockdown and leaving without a proper goodbye however, I know the journey hasn’t properly ended yet and I look forward to working closely with them again in the future. 

What are you going on to now?

I’m going to continue my journey at Gloucestershire Libraries as part of the development team and keeping supporting and perhaps push for more exciting events and activities to happen inside our libraries. I also hope to keep in touch with exciting projects happening in Gloucester and get involved as an individual for self growth and making new connections.