Saturday, 9 June 2012

I am not a Clore Fellow

In February I decided that I would apply for a place on the Clore Leadership Programme.

What is the Clore Leadership Programme?

From their website:
The Clore Leadership Programme is an initiative of the Clore Duffield Foundation which aims to strengthen leadership across a wide range of cultural activities. 
This includes the visual and performing arts, film, heritage, museums, libraries and archives, creative industries and cultural policy and administration.
I had been watching the Clore space for a few years and deemed myself ready to apply for one of the 25 places using the 4am Project and my experience as the basis of my application. I thought there was a very slim chance that I would secure a place, and that it was worth a shot even with the knowledge that the competition would be fierce. If you never try, you'll never know!

As the title of this blog post has already revealed, I didn't get a place. When I received the letter in late April, it didn't come as a surprise, but I was glad to know their decision one way or another so I could make plans for the rest of this year and next. I had to keep my diary clear on the small chance I would be accepted on the course; as the Leadership Programme is quite a commitment time-wise, would have taken up some of the latter part of this year and the first 6/7 months next year.

Even though I didn't get a place, going through the application process was a worth while endeavour! There were multiple parts to the application, and it really gave me a chance to review where I am, what I am doing, what I have achieved, what I contribute in cultural terms and where it all fits in together.

There were quite a few questions to answer, such as 'Why apply now? Why do you want to lead? Give an example of when you demonstrated leadership..'.

As I mentioned, the main basis of my application was the 4am project and of course, my experience.

If you haven't heard of it, the 4am Project is a ground-breaking, creative, collaborative arts project based around photography, and it's a project where I've demonstrated my leadership qualities by using my vision and planning to engage a diverse global audience.

To date the Project has engaged thousands of people in over 50 countries and has amassed over 6500 digital images in its archive.

It's a thought-provoking project which has inspired and challenged participants, from the absolute beginner in photography to experienced photographers. Motivating people around the world to get out of their beds at 4am is no mean feat!

Chiado/Cais do Sodré [4amproject 4:00am]
Photo by Pedro Pinheiro
I think the project is a platform for people to improve on their photography skills and their artistic potential as it asks them to do something out of the ordinary. It challenges people’s concept of photography and directs them to an exciting and positive experience which leads to them being able to show their art to the world, inspiring them to continue their creativity.

...the end of the world
Photo by Steve Anderson
Being the figure-head and driving force of the Project I do my best to lead by example and have shown my ability to inspire others into taking action and participating in an exciting art-form. I've used my creative drive and ambition for the project to reached a wide and diverse, actively involved audience.

4am Project Project Brutal Birmingham Library 24th April 2011

In my application wrote about how the 4am Project has increased access to the visual arts by engaging individuals, who have enjoyed the medium of photography as an art form and how in turn this has developed participants personal and professional growth in the photography medium.

I also mentioned how the project contributes economically to education in the arts sector; students of photography have used the Project as part of their course work and I offer my insight as a leader in the photography field by sharing my knowledge and speaking to students and photography groups. Also 4am Project website itself provides a source of inspiration and reference and I hope the project will leave a legacy for future artistic practice.

4AM Project – Birmingham City Library 08
Photo by John Garghan

I run the 4am Project in an environment of economic difficulty through my sheer grit and optimism. In this climate of financial difficulty, I think that now is an especially crucial time to nurture, engage and encourage people to involve themselves in creative art forms.

I nourish and replenish the Project by encouraging people to develop their skills and interests in the art and photography world, and I hoped that the Clore Programme would help empower me in creating a sustainable model for leadership in the arts sector. That's not to say I can't do that on my own, but sometimes it's nice to get some help and support. It's an ambitious project, but where there is a will, there is a way!

94/365: Warner & PCH
Photo by Jaubele1

One of the things that I love about the project (although of course I am biased!) is that it's inclusivity means that anyone can take part. I haven't put any restrictions on age, location, gender, or photography ability.

It's had an inspiring effect on participants, observers and established artists and has been very favourably reviewed by the media.

Crazy photographers
Photo by Hrish Thota

The 4am Project inspires, affects and challenges; from people experiencing an often unseen time of day, to taking part in a community collaboration, to challenging participants to learn more about photography. It's a unique photographic collaboration and offers great potential to engage people in photography and in turn supports people to develop their skills and ambitions.

I hoped that a place on the Clore Leadership Programme would enable me to forge and establish new connections and skills, which would support my leadership opportunities and in turn, support others better and empower them. I was ready for the challenges that the programme would bring!

A place on the programme would have been amazing and given a me a boost in terms of self development. However, it's also not the end of the world that I didn't get a place. I'm used to forging ahead with my own learning and personal development and making and creating my own opportunities. Going through the Clore application was worth it as it made me stop and properly review what I'm doing now, what I want to do and where I want to be and I'm very glad I took a chance and applied!

A huge thank you to Helga Henry, Will Perrin, my best friend and my ace mum who gave me their help, support and advice during the Clore application! :)

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