After two years of going from one Emergence project immediately to the next we decided that it would be a useful exercise to take stock, look at the impact of the project so far and speak to a number of key people who have been instrumental in making Emergence happen.
In the spirit of action research and creative enquiry we decided to open up the conversation and see where it wanted to go. In the Summer of 2013 nine in-depth interviews were conducted with key artists and creative practitioners who had been involved in organizing and supporting the Cardiff, Swansea or Caernarfon conferences, the document launch, the Emergence Summit or Creu Cymru Emergence.
Fern Smith from Emergence and Pete Telfer of Culture Colony conducted and filmed the interviews. Each lasted between and sixty and ninety minutes and together give a rich sense of the origins, context, challenges, opportunities and aspirations of the project. The interviews appear here in their full length and speak about the project from the many different viewpoints of those involved. Some of the interviews focus more on emergence and systems theory, others on leadership and activism or on what a sustainable future might look like and what role artists have in making this happen. Interviewees include; Rhodri Thomas, Lucy Neal, Paul Allen, Jenny Mackewn, Fern Smith, David Alston, Nick Capaldi, Deborah Keyser and Nicolas Young.
The interviews serve as a rich resource for those interested in organizing similar projects, researching arts and sustainability initiatives, marrying inspiration, strategy and outcomes and of course for us at Emergence to look back in order to travel forward.
“Is there a sector or group of people you perceive are ‘leading the change’? How important are the arts in all this?”
“What is the connection between inspiration and practical action for change and how do we move from one to the other?”
Fern was born in London and now lives in Swansea, South Wales. After studying for a degree in Psychology and a Masters in Industrial Relations she formed Volcano Theatre Company with Paul Davies in the 1980’s.
Since then Fern has performed, directed and taught workshops for Volcano and as a freelancer nationally and internationally for 25 years. Fern is co-initiator and creative producer of Emergence.
fern [at] emergence-uk.org
Cynnal Cymru / Sustain Wales
Instigator, theatre maker and educator, Lucy Neal is interested in the art of social sculpture and how celebratory events act as a catalyst for change. Co-founding director of the LIFT Festival, recent projects, The Trashcatchers’ Carnival and the Tooting Transition Shop explore how artists nurture collective space to imagine a more ecological and life-sustaining society. Co-author of MMM’s Sustainable Ability, she is Happiness Associate on the Happy Museum Project and co-founder of Case For Optimism. Active in the Transition Town movement since 2008, she is currently writing Playing For Time, the Transition Book on the Arts. She was awarded an OBE in 2005 for services to drama.
Designer and facilitator, Emergence Summit 2012
External Relations, Centre for Alternative Technology
Paul is currently CAT’s External Relations Officer, heading the ground-breaking Zero Carbon Britain research and communications programme, liaising directly with key policy makers in Government, business, public sector and the devolved assemblies. Paul holds an Honours degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from Liverpool University and joined the Centre for Alternative Technology in 1988. Since then Paul has held many positions at CAT and helped spearhead many projects local to the Dyfi valley and further afield including Dulas Ltd – a CAT spin-off renewable engineering company and Eco Dyfi, a local organisation facilitating the regeneration and sustainable development of the Dyfi Valley (a UNESCO Biosphere reserve). Paul took up the newly created position as CAT’s Media and Communications Officer in 1995 acting as principal spokesperson for the centre and has played a key role in shaping CAT’s direction over the past three decades. He has also been influential on Wales’ position on climate change and sustainability in roles as Wales’ Climate Change Comissioner in 2007 and part of the Wales Science Advisory Council in 2010. Paul is also a sound engineer and musician, playing double bass, guitar, bouzouki bodhran and low whistle.
Facilitator, Emergence Summit 2012. Jenny Mackewn is an organizational consultant, creative catalyst, constellator, systemic coach, trainer and author working across sectors – ranging from educational and environmental to business. She specializes in catalyzing creative conversation and dialogue and in whole systems approaches to leadership and organizational development. She has recently designed and led pioneering programmes in eco facilitation and eco constellations for schumacher college.
CEO, Arts Council of Wales
Nick Capaldi has been Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Wales since September 2008. The Arts Council is Wales’s national public body responsible for developing and funding the arts. Prior to his appointment in Wales, he was Executive Director of Arts Council England South West, and before that Chief Executive of South West Arts. Nick Capaldi has been a Board member of Culture South West, Chair of the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership (a pioneering public/private initiative). He was also the Chair of Arts 2000, a nationwide organisation that promoted a year long celebration of the individual artist through the commissioning of projects, performances and exhibitions. Arts 2000 supported over 1,000 artists in 1,000 locations across England.
A graduate of Manchester’s Chethams Music School, Nick Capaldi went on to study Piano at the Royal College of Music (where he was awarded the Hopkinson Gold Medal) and City University. Nick Capaldi’s career in the arts started as a professional musician. This included a diverse array of activities from playing in bars and restaurants, to teaching to formal concert performances. He made numerous broadcasts on radio and television and was a prizewinner in the first BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 1978. Nick Capaldi is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Director and founder, Culture Colony
Born in Bangor 1963, grew up in Dyffryn Ardudwy and attended Ysgol Ardudwy Harlech. He was educated through the medium of hitch hiking around Europe at the age of 17. Pete took the foundation course in Bangor (with tutors Paul Davies and Peter Prendergast) and then studied Fine Art/Painting at Maidstone Art College until 1984.
After two years as photography teacher at a secondary school in London Pete became a freelance photographer until he joined BBC Wales’ new Arts Department in 1992. He left BBC Wales to become a Freelance television director in 1995.
He has worked for all the main independent television production companies in Wales, working in many countries around the world. He has made a lot of TV in all genres including over 70 documentaries. In 2001 he set up his own production company ‘Pixel Foundry’ and they have made programmes for BBC Wales, S4C, ITV1 Wales, Channel 4 and BBC 4.
Over the past six years Pete has been involved in developing and setting up the on line cultural network ‘Culture Colony – Y Wladfa Newydd’. This network runs cultural conferences, events and exhibitions and operates from a web site (see below) where content and ideas can be shared by its membership. Culture Colony also creates content for the web site and for other cultural organisations and individuals who may require a video production service.
Culture Colony supports the documentation of Emergence and provides a platform for the projects’ films.