GWL Creative Development Manager Adele Patrick is taking a sabbatical to embark on a Clore Leadership Fellowship. Here she tells us about the programme and what taking part means to her.
Between September 2018 and the end of July 2019 I will be taking up the opportunity of a Clore Leadership Fellowship.
Glasgow Women’s Library has received widespread public recognition in recent years; its work has begun to be cited as historically significant and my own role as a co-founder and one of the two Senior Managers is also being acknowledged (for example I have noted that my perspectives are now increasingly sought for conferences and publications). I have appreciated these opportunities to share my experiences of leading the development of a ground breaking feminist cultural institution. At a time when mainstream and independent cultural organisations are looking to develop more inclusive structures and programmes I hope through the work undertaken and connections made during the Fellowship to be able to be at the heart of discussions (alongside other GWL team members who are developing their own productive networks and research) with national and international colleagues. In particular, we are active in exploring how equality, diversity and inclusion can be meaningfully embedded and provide a framework for change in museums, libraries, archives and the wider cultural sectors.
The 25th anniversary of GWL in 2016 alerted me to be more mindfully considering how the organisation’s approaches and my own, grounded in values of equality, have shaped it into a unique resource in the UK. Being involved in the Clore Leadership programme will enable me to pause, reflect and grow my ideas on feminist leadership in a challenging but supportive, focussed and collaborative way. Having developed a personal cultural leadership trajectory with longitudinal impact, this programme will help me to contextualise and (re)define my own perspectives alongside the incubation of the leadership approaches of others. I have an enduring appetite for learning and embracing change and this programme will enable me to expand my thinking and capacity to fully and productively participate in national and international discussions at a critical stage of my life and an apt time for the sector.
This is a unique opportunity, beginning the week after the Library’s 27th birthday, to take time to focus on how my experiences can be galvanised for the wider benefit of others (the Scottish arts and heritage network and the international landscape of innovative cultural endeavour) and have productive impacts for myself and GWL. I am being encouraged by GWL colleagues and Board (supported by Creative Scotland and the Clore Fellowship programme) to properly invest in my future role as a creative agent and cultural leader.
The nature of growing GWL has been challenging (there are no counterparts in the UK, other women’s collections are either embedded in academia or are volunteer run). My hope is that this programme will enable me to forge a supportive network from whom I can learn, test ideas, and collaborate, providing invaluable ballast for the next phase of my career and maximise the ways I can make valuable contributions to the cultural sector.
Throughout the Fellowship and beyond I am keen to hear and read about and as far as possible visit inspiring models of feminist led and equalities focussed cultural organisations and to meet with people who are using feminist approaches to leadership in their work. Please let me know if you would like me to learn about your work. If you use Twitter please send me a message @AdelePatrickGWL. If you would like to email me details of your work please send me a message via firstname.lastname@example.org using ‘A Clore connection for Adele’ in the subject line.
I will be sharing outcomes of my Clore Fellowship in accessible formats.