This report tracks the longer term impact of the RE:Present programme one year after it officially finished and seeks to gain an understanding of the indirect outcomes of the project. Written by Helga Henry and Lara Ratnaraja.
The RE:Present programme was a new initiative aimed at emerging and established cultural leaders/producers and artists from diverse backgrounds who are currently underrepresented in Birmingham.
Taking place in 2016, RE:Present was delivered by Helga Henry of Creative Shift (previously Director of Organisational Development at Birmingham Hippodrome and an independent consultant) and Cultural Consultant Lara Ratnaraja.
The programme comprised three strands and most participants undertook all three:
Strand 1: A four day “intensive” development course delivered over 1 month (2 x 2-days) with a cohort of peers.
Strand 2: Brokered mentoring with industry specialists including 1-2-1 diagnostics and learning support/guidance at the beginning and end of the mentoring activity.
Strand 3: 6 x evening speaker/networking events delivered in partnership with Aston Business School. These sessions were designed to attract guests from the corporate, academic and cultural sector.
36 participants overall took part in the programme. One of the success factors of the programme seems to be the range of interventions used. The programme design was based on the premise that no single type of intervention is guaranteed to bring success: the combination of interventions that the individuals were exposed to has proven to be more successful in bringing about individual change and development.
This report shows how the impact of that programme continues to reveal itself. From informal WhatsApp groups between former strangers who now have a virtual water cooler around which to pool ideas and resources, to artistic collaborations between participants who wish to make work around the same issues – the network of RE:Present graduates continues to thrive.
As this document will show, new collaborations, employment and initiatives have regularly unfolded. These opportunities have not just developed between the cohort. Our mentors (predominantly national leaders in their fields) have also been impressed by the talent and commitment of their mentees opening up a host of opportunities for RE:Present-ers.