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Sync: e-bulletin March 2011 easy read


Sync thoughts

a drawing by Robin Meader, Artistic Leader of Open Storytellers

At the beginning of March, we had an event called Sync Thinking. It was on the 9th March at the Wellcome Collection - a venue in London.

This bulletin will tell you a bit about the day and who talked about what.

April and May's bulletins will also have more information from the day - there was a lot of important things said that we want to share with you!

So each bit below will tell you about one person's presentation - you can click on the link to go through to more information in easy read on the whole of their presentation.



The Culture Leadership Programme has prioritised diversity. (Hilary Carty)

a photo of Hilary Carty

Sync is funded by the Cultural Leadership Programme (or CLP as it is often written). CLP is part of Arts Council England and, sadly, CLP closes at the end of March because of the cuts.

At Sync Thinking, Hilary Carty, who is the director of CLP, told us all how important diversity - making sure that lots of very different people are involved - was to CLP.

They have run programmes that focus on

  • women
  • black and minority ethnic people
  • disabled people

but at the same time all those people have been welcomed on all the other programmes too.

This way of working is very important to Hilary:

"You have to do both things, in my opinion."

She said that when you do work just for people who have something in common, they may feel more safe. They can talk together and share the things they have in common. This means when they go back out into the real world, they are more calm, more relaxed, more refreshed. They have more energy to keep going.

Hilary said this way of working had been very successful. Nearly one third of the people who had been involved in CLP had been disabled people or black and minority ethnic people.

Hilary also told us what she thinks she does. She says it's like a window. Sometimes there is an opportunity in front of you, like a window opening. She likes to jump through the window quickly, before it closes.

But she doesn't just go through on her own. She sticks her hands behind her and grabs a couple of people to drag through too.

At Sync, we feel we have been dragged through the window with Hilary - and we say thanks!

To read an edited transcript of Hilary Carty's presentation…


As leaders - we don't all want to look the same. (Stephanie Fuller)

a photo of Stephanie Fuller

Stephanie Fuller works at Arts Council England, South East. She is a senior manager. She spoke about how Sync has helped her grow as a leader.

Steph feels that Sync has helped her find out more about her own special way of leading, a way that works with her disability and with the things she thinks are important.

“I think for me I was quite stuck when I started .... I didn't really know what I thought, and how I should be. I've been able to explore that and find out… That's been really, really important...... Now I'm really comfortable with being me - you know, I am myself, at work. I'm myself all the time. I do my job in a way that's about how I am.”

Steph was on the original Sync 20 programme. She has liked the way Sync has worked, especially the way it has let her solve her own problems.

“… I worked it out for myself. I think that's the magic of Sync for me, really, more than anything else. I remember saying to Sarah, actually you know what, I solved all my own problems. It's true, I was only able to do that because of Sync facilitating that to happen.”

To read an edited transcript of Stephanie Fuller’s presentation…


When access works it's invisible, but it is very important. (Stephanie Fuller)

a photo of Jo Verrent

Steph talked about how important access was - not just what access was there, but how it was provided too.

For Sync, someone's access can change. We don't think it's a fixed thing. We think access changes - because of the situations we are in, the information we have and how we feel about ourselves and the access we need.

At the event, Jo Verrent spoke about Sync's approach to access:

'Quite often in Sync we are working with people who might say to us "there is nothing ... we need." Then throughout the programme we get to know people and they do develop the confidence to say, "Actually I can sit down for 20 minutes and I need a stretch", "actually if you bring a pillow I can lay down during the break","actually the heat, the temperature in a room is really important to me." Those kind of things are just as important as ramps, just as important as interpreters.'

At Sync we also think access is about reaching out.

We think that some other people can leave people out of work to do with leadership and leading. We think that learning disabled people in particular, sometimes get left out.

They don't get left out of Sync though! As Jo said,

"But both Sarah and I, the backgrounds we have, we had found we have learnt a huge amount working with our learning disabled colleagues and couldn't imagine any kind of disability programme that said no to a particular type of disabled person. It seemed important that learning disabled people were included."

How do we do this? We have easy read materials, which are materials that are shorter, have shorter words, shorter sentences within them. Lots of people in a hurry read these first, and then go on to read through the other material, so they are not just for people with learning disabilities.

To read an edited transcript of Jo Verrent's presentation…


Sarah wearing glasses with a picture of herself in the lens

Coaching is really important to Sync, and that side of our work is led by Sarah Pickthall. She spoke about coaching at the event.

She said coaching really helps her feel different. She has limited energy and often is in pain. She could choose to feel sad and miserable about this, or she can choose to work with the little energy she has to achieve great things. In the past, she was a dancer and worked with puppets. She used coaching to help her not feel sad about the things she can't do now, but instead to feel good about all the skills she has. Now she is a coach, and works with other people to help them move forwards and feel better about themselves.

Sync coaching says there are 7 things to look at. They are called the 7 elements:

  • Choice
  • Talent
  • Passion
  • Values and Beliefs
  • Identity
  • Vision
  • Purpose

Sarah ended by reminding people about how important it is to stop and look back on your life. Everyone is different and together we can work much better.

"We are part of a flock, we have all got different wing spans and different beaks and we're all going different places, but together we're stronger."

To read an edited transcript of Sarah Pickthall's presentation…

Changing how I work

a photo of Mark Wright

Sync has changed how some disabled people think about how they lead - which is great.

We also wanted to change how other people work - particularly those who help people be better leaders. We don't want disabled people to just be kept working with other disabled people - we can do lots of things, not just that.

One non-disabled person who has worked with Sync is Mark Wright. He runs a company called People Create which helps lots of people to be better leaders - arts people and people who work in other areas too.

Mark said at first he was quite scared of getting involved in a disability project, in case he got things 'wrong'.

So why did he decide to work on Sync? This is what Mark said:

"I started to think about what was important to me, what has been important to me in terms of my thinking around leadership and all the other stuff that I do. What really interests me is the idea of diversity of thinking. I am interested in working with people who think very differently."

Working on Sync has made Mark work differently. It has made him:

  • think more about access

  • think more about how he designs stuff so more people can understand it more easily

  • more confident working with sign language interpreters and other access workers

He doesn't just support disabled people now - but anyone on his courses or programmes. It's about getting better for all people, not just about supporting disabled people.

To read an edited transcript of Mark Wright's presentation…

What next for Sync?

an arrow on the road

A few days before Sync Thinking we received the fantastic news that Sync had been chosen to have more funding.

This means we don't stop in March but that we move forwards into 2011/12.

We won't be part of CLP any more; we will be part of the new Organisational Development and Leadership Department at Arts Council England.

We are not sure what this means exactly yet - but as soon as we know, you will know!

So that's it for this month.

Do click through to more information from each person and watch out next month for more from the event.

Take care

Jo Verrent

Sync Project Management

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