Event | AMA 2016 Daily Blogs - Carol

Putting insight and inspiration into action now...

We came, we saw, we conferenced…and this year’s AMA conference theme set a challenge to the sector: how can we make meaningful connections with diverse people in our community?

The scene was set at the opening night social as we walked into Edinburgh’s incredible Dynamic Earth centre, greeted by an array of dinosaurs and nestled below the extinct volcano, Arthur’s Seat. This was perhaps our first nudge towards the importance of adapting to change and the need not just to know what to do, but to actually get on and do it.

This has been a constant mantra of the international arts consultant Roger Tomlinson whose significant contribution to arts and culture was celebrated by the AMA. His clarion call: “more people, different people, more often”, which he’s advocated across his long career, was echoed in his short speech with other comments that resonated with delegates: “we’re not as diverse as we should be and the only one permanent thing in life is change. We have to embrace it.” And “remember, you’re not working for an organisation, you’re working for the public.”

Roger set the perfect frame to this year’s conference with a series of four inspiring keynotes all flying the flag for relevance (Nina Simon’s book The Art of Relevance is a must-read), highlighting the dangers of not connecting with all our communities and the benefits that real engagement brings.

The main takeaways?

  • Give yourself permission to be brave.
  • Don’t get focused on the solution, concentrate on open dialogue.
  • Go to your community and listen (really listen).
  • You don’t need a big budget to make a difference – your investment can be time.
  • Cultural diversity can’t just be ‘an order of fries on the side’.
  • Don’t obsess with being in control, it won’t help you engage.
  • Interrupting ritual is key to social change.

And one from me: insight and inspiration isn’t enough – we need to take action and do it now.

Follow Carol on twitter @carol123jones