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Ripples in the Mainstream

photo of ripples in water

Mark Wright works with leaders making them better at what they do.

He runs his own company which is called People Create.

Mark spoke about the difference Sync has made to his work.

He spoke at the Sync Thinking event.

This is what he said - in easy read.


mark wanting to work with different people

I used to be a sculptor - making things from clay.

I was also a canoe instructor and then taught people to ski - then I went back to the arts. I ran some arts organisations and then I went to work at a big company called Ernst & Young.

I had a long job name: I was Head of Leadership Development, Diversity and Inclusion

Then I decided to start my own company - People Create.

I am not an expert on disability - or diversity.

When Jo and Sarah asked me to be part of Sync, I was very nervous.

I thought: What on earth do I know about this stuff? I'm not disabled.

So I was worried for a while.

Then I thought about what was important to me.

I am interested in how people think. I like to work with people who don't think in the same way I do.

I like to work with people who think differently to each other.

I am interested in what happens when you bring together people who think differently.

Sometimes people think differently because of where they live, or how their family is. Sometimes they think different because they are disabled people.

People Create and leadership development

a photo of Mark Wright

I have run 3 other programmes for leaders in the arts:

  • Leadership Development Days (LDD)
  • Leadership Unleashed
  • Wayfarers

These were not just for disabled people - but lots of disabled people did come on them.

It felt good when someone I had met through Sync had the confidence to come on a mainstream programme I was running.

Maybe Sync gave them enough confidence to go ‘you know what? This is for me too. It doesn't have a badge on it that says disability but this is what I want to be part of too’.

The caves and the plains

a cartoon  of the african savannah with a person on the plain and lots in the cave

So what has Sync done for me?

I think it has made my work better.

I take more care now. I am sure I don't get it right all the time, I am not an expert in disability, but I am learning as I go along I think.

I think more carefully about how I explain things.

There was a model I wanted to share called ‘System versus Self’. But it was very complicated.

Jo and I came up with a different way to talk about it.

We ended up talking about the plains, shelters and caves.

We ended up drawing a map where people can place themselves.

You can be on the plains - where you are free to roam, but its a bit dangerous because there are lions and stuff

Or you can be in a shelter - where you can rest but there is the chance that something will creep up on you.

Or you can be in the cave – a space where we feel really save because there are other people in there, and they all think like us. We can't see very much here, and its all focused on us and very safe. But we can't do much here.

For me, it was one of those little light bulb moments where I thought that sometimes I just need to explain things differently, just to make it easier for people.

To go to the Sync article on The Caves and the Plains in easy read

Lessons learnt

a photo of a man running round on an arrow that goes around in a circle

So now I think more about access issues. Everyone should be doing this.

I am now comfortable working with sign language interpreters and typists and people who draw easy read pictures as sessions happen.

What else? Silly stuff, sending stuff out by computer as a word document rather than a PDF.

And the important thing is about not just doing that when I am working with people who I know have a disability, but doing it all the time.

Out of all the work I have done, Sync is the project that I have found most interesting. I have learnt a lot through Sync.