Sync logo

Sync: e-bulletin April 2010 easy read


Run away to the circus!

I remember in the circus learning that the clown was the prince, the high prince. I always thought that the high prince was the lion or the magician, but the clown is the most important. (Roberto Benigni)

photo from the intensives day: Robin Meader showing himself as a human canonball

We held our very first Sync Intensives day yesterday, in Bristol at a circus centre!

Lots of people mention of circus things when they talk about leading – leading people being like lion taming, people saying leading is like walking on a tightrope, or they feel they are being fed to the lions. On the day, we talked about feeling like jugglers, clowns, tightrope walkers, even human cannonballs!. Lots of experiences were shared around our roles and routines.

We'll be putting different people's thoughts and ideas of the event as well as some photos up on the website over the next week or so, so do check in and have a look.

To go straight to the website...

Rachel Bagshaw

Writing ... for Sync this month has raised lots of questions for me – but also highlighted how entwined being disabled is with who I am and where I’m going. (Rachel Bagshaw)

Rachel at the Dundee Disabled Artists Residency.

Each month for the next 12 months, our case study will be about one of the members of Sync Intensives – and this month it’s Rachel Bagshaw, who is the Training and Learning Projects Manager at Graeae, having a chat with Jenny Sealey, the Director of Graeae. Together they think about life, arts, disability and leadership.

In the case study, Rachel talks about how she learned to recognise herself as a leader:

I’m not sure I always see myself as a leader. I think I see how, as a director, I facilitate other people – which I suppose is leadership in a sense – but it’s only really in the last couple of years where I’ve started to see that leadership is not only about people but also about creating pathways.

Click on the link below to read everything she has to say.

Rachel's impairment causes her pain and she tells us how she uses her work as a way to manage her pain.

Working, for me, is so much a part of my pain management that sometimes I think I immerse myself in it rather more than I need to. It’s tough because working is so exhausting for me - but then when I’ve tried working part time in some ways I’ve found that even harder.

To go straight to Rachel Bagshaw’s case study…

Leading with all of me?

a black and white image of a naked person crouched in the corner, head in their hands. Spirals radiate off them illustrating pain.

Each member of Sync Intensives will also write an article too – sharing their own thoughts with us.

This month Rachel tells us how pain changes the way other people see us and how we see ourselves. In her article, Rachel tries to look at it in a new way.

When we started Sync, we ran a 'basecamp' for a year - a place where people could chat freely on-line with others in Sync. Members talked a lot about the social model of disability - and whether it was the only way of seeing things. Rachel's article ends by calling for a more individual model:

I am not my pain, but it does impact on who I am. I feel that having managed these symptoms of my impairment I have become a stronger leader and artist than perhaps I would have without it. I embrace my own individual model; I hope that others may too and that together we can support the view that this does not equal tragedy.

To go straight to Rachel Bagshaw’s article on Leading with all of me.…


Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I'll show you someone who has overcome adversity. (Lou Holtz)

a card saying applause please

Over the last few months many disabled artists and cultural leaders have had lots of success. For example, the Cultural Leadership Programme’s list of the top 50 women to watch includes Ruth Gould, CEO of DADA in the North West, Maria Oshodi, Artistic Director of Extant, Claire Cunningham, a dancer and Cathy Woolley, Participation Producer at the South Bank Centre.

Also, the first ten Unlimited commissions includes:

  • CandoCo for work with disabled choreographers Mark Brew and Claire Cunningham (yes, the same one as above!)

  • Graeae for more outdoor work with sway poles

  • Fittings Multimedia Arts for The Ugly Spirit inspired by the lives of conjoined Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker

  • Jez Colbourne to work with Mind the Gap on a site specific outdoor symphony involving Sirens called Irrisistable and (bringing us right back to the beginning of this ebulletin)

  • Mish Weaver and Stumble Dance Circus to produce a show based on the Bipolar Ringmaster (without a circus).

Isn't this fantastic? I am sure it wasn't easy for any of them - lots of hard work will have gone into all their planning so far.

In our small community, for every success story there are those who missed out and will be disappointed that they are not up there with those who won through...

Dealing with disappointment

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose... hope (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

a green cartoon man with his head in his hands - disappointed

No-one wins all the time (even if it seems like they do from the outside). What do you do when you don't get what you want?

  • Do you get mad?
  • Do you blame yourself or put yourself down, thinking 
“I’m not good enough for ….”?
  • Do you blame other people, "It's their fault. They should have..."
  • Do you instantly think it's because you're unlucky or nothing ever works for you? 

These are the most usual ways to feel, but they don’t really help. You just feel sorry for yourself and end up sad.

Next time you are disappointed why not ask yourself, “What do I really want?” That way you can think about finding new solutions so you can achieve your goal.

What's really important - your disappointment or working out a solution to the problem? It will probably help more if you look for other solutions.

So what else is happening?

a page of text - the word leadership is in red in the centre, the other words around it are in black and blurry and unreadable.

We are part of the Cultural Leadership Programme, and they have lots of things happening at the moment. Here are just a few, and but there are more on their website – see the link below:

Leadership Development Days and LDD plus

These were really successful last time so they are offering more chances to take part in one day workshops across the UK, running until March 2011.

Leadership Unleashed

Leadership Unleashed is a four-six day programme for 75 people from the creative and the commercial sector. It looks at four important words for leadership – courage, passion, curiosity and insight. They are taking new applications from April 2010 and is due to start again in September 2010

And that's your lot for this month,

If you were caught in the travel problems that happened when the volcano errupted, we hope you made your way home safely and showed how good you were at leading in the way you managed!

Bye for now,

Jo Verrent

Sync Project Manager

To go straight to the Cultural Leadership Programme website…

ADA inc logo    CUSP inc logo    People Create logo
Cultural Leadership logo

If you want to be removed from the mailing list please
email and put the word 'remove' in the subject line