PUTTING MY HAND UP: Walking the talk of what I proposed in an op-ed, I responded to UK Parliament’s call for COVID-19 Outbreak Expert Database, as well as a separate call by the UK Government Cabinet Office’s Open Innovation Team for a similar database. I am offering to help strategise ways to solve problems creatively, share new approaches/responses to combat negative impact of social distancing, self-isolation, and/or to work on public engagement through art and creativity to educate, persuade, fight the virus, fake news and bigotry, and give communities agency. Working with others will allow me to learn and grow too.
PRO BONO WORK: This draws on some of my existing pro bono work, including as Creative and Cultural Consultant of UK Adult ADHD Network (network for mental health professionals), Advisor to PsychART (linking psychiatry, creativity and the arts, funded by Royal College of Psychiatry), trustee of Hear Me Out (charity to support detained migrants through the arts), as Co-Founder & Co-Manager, Neurodiversity In/& Creative Network.
CREATIVITY HAS A KEY ROLE TO PLAY: None of these calls have explicitly asked for people from the creative arts, but you can’t be heard if you are not in the same room, or only lock yourself in ‘safe spaces’ and echo chambers with like-minded. While in these new same rooms/sites, you can and must still maintain autonomy of thought. As you introduce/share/assert/defend/counter, you must also allow yourself to be vulnerable/porous and step out of your comfort zone, to learn, to be challenged. When/if you have a platform, use it. If you’re not allowed into the space, you knock/mock harder, kick the door down and slip way in. Once your toes are through the door, also help others to move in from the sides/outside – and don’t ever become a gate keeper. Give way/lean out/co-chair. Power in itself is abstract/vacant/meaningful. Artful leadership is all about empowering others.