As part of our commitment to provide opportunities for young creatives, IVE has recently been working with 3 young creative specialists to deliver some of our training to business. Here we spoke with them about how they got involved with IVE and how it benefitted them.
Altrad Services UK (formerly Cape PLC) are an international leader in the provision of critical industrial services principally to the energy and natural resources sectors. Having such a role in the power industry necessitates a strict environment which is heavily regulated with a strong focus on health and safety. However, in order to remain agile to client needs and flexible to technological developments and shifting global priorities, they have developed a team of middle leaders who they call the Fit for Future Team, who their senior leadership believe have the capacity to drive the company forward. This team is focused on building their creative capacity to embrace the change in which ideas can be translated into solutions and new innovations. IVE are working with the team, delivering a programme of development that addresses this need.
Part of the IVE delivery team are three young creatives who are just starting out in the field, and who we wanted to support in their development; Georgia Rae Kilshaw, Kevin Abanillas and Adeline Pitu.
Georgia is a musician who sings, plays the trumpet and the piano. During her childhood her parents ran a musical charity, which she got involved in from the age of 7 until she was age 18. In school she did work experience with the charity and loved it. She later went on to study at a music university for three years, studying specifically her voice. Now Georgia works doing functions and gigs with her acoustic duo called Afterglow Acoustic.
Kevin is a musical theatre performer. He came from the Philippines and has lived in the UK since he was 12 years old. After high school, he had a choice to go into Performing Arts or Psychology and at first did a three year degree in counselling psychology and got into an undergraduate scheme with the charity MIND. He was training therapists for 6 months before deciding it was not for him, switching back to performing arts. Kevin has finished a BTEC course and is currently trying to gain enough money to go to drama school.
Adeline is a performance artist, actor, dancer and musician. She is currently doing her Masters Degree at Leeds Beckett University. Adeline is also the ambassador at the Geraldine Connor Foundation, a role that involves being the voice for young people in what Geraldine Connor does and encouraging other young people to get involved. She explains, “Some young people would like to participate in performances but don’t have the courage or confidence to come and participate.” Adeline has been participating in their upcoming shows and performances such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Sorrel Black Cake.
We recently caught up with them to delve into why they have got involved and what they have been up to.
Georgia: “Drew (IVE’s Director of Development) was my old drama teacher in high school who I recently reconnected with on Facebook after five years. I posted that I’d achieved a first class honours in my Music degree and Drew asked me what I intended to do. I knew I wanted to perform, but understood that I needed other ‘strings to my bow’ so when he asked me if I would be interested in helping to deliver a professional development programme for business in which I could rely on my specialism as well as learn more about the creative process; I jumped at the chance. It is also not every day that you get the chance to work alongside someone as a colleague, who had inspired you as a child.”
Kevin: “I heard of the opportunity from a director of the Geraldine Connor Foundation. IVE had been supporting The Geraldine Connor Foundation to deliver the project I was involved in. I auditioned to be in the cast of a musical project, written by Geraldine Connor before she passed away, called Forest Dreaming. The musical is based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream but it’s in modern language rather than Shakespearian language. As a young performer, they liked my performance and my energy, so after that I worked with some of their young people’s projects as well, doing short films and advertising. When this further opportunity came to work with IVE, I dived in with both feet, because it’s new, I have never delivered workshops before and I’m eager to learn.”
Adeline: “I found out about the opportunity to work with IVE the same way as Kevin; through the Geraldine Connor Foundation. I had expressed an interest to look into businesses in performing arts and how it works behind the scenes and integrates with doing the performances that you want to create. Selina, a director At Geraldine Connor told me I could speak Sharon Watson, the Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance, so that I could tell her about my ideas. Sharon helped me by allowing me to watch one of her rehearsals offered to help me look about the market of what’s going on in Leeds and find a gap in the market. She taught me tips and techniques that I could look into and even offered for me to go in the office and observe how they work. All of this support was part of the Cultural Connections Programme that was funded by IVE.”
Adeline: “This is the first big project that I’ve ever done; it is great to see how Drew and Vicky use simple play and games as tools to unlock the creativeness of the people that we worked with and then how we scaffolded creative challenges so that they began to understand what creativity is and how they might apply it in their day to day work.”
Georgia: “We’ve been delivering a series of workshops to the Fit for Future team aimed at unlocking their creative ability. We’ve been teaching them skills through playful exercises and providing them with a number of tools and techniques to help them articulate their thinking in an imaginative and creative way. The aim of the workshops is to open them up to exercises that they possibly haven’t done before and teach them transferable skills to help support creativity when putting across ideas to their employees and colleagues within their workplace. I feel like I’m the music side of things. I have led a couple of little workshops doing rhythm and teaching how to create rhythm with body parts and thinking of different ways to make noises with your body, including the use of voice.
At the start of the sessions Drew always mentions George Land’s research;
In 1968, George Land devised a creativity test for NASA to help select innovative engineers and scientists. The assessment worked so well he decided to conduct a research study to test the creativity of 1,600 children ranging in ages from three-to-five years old. He re-tested the same children at 10 years of age, and again at 15 years of age. At 5 years of age, 98% of participants had ‘genius’ levels of creativity, but by the age of 15 this had reduced to just 12%. The same test, which has now been conducted with over 1 million adults suggests a meagre 2% have the same level of creativity as 98% of 5 year olds.
This really seemed to have an impact on the Altrad team as they recognised it in themselves and the parents amongst them started telling anecdotes of how creative their children were. Drew used this to start the process of deconstructing the adult mindset and take the participants back into the childlike state where ideas come more naturally and there are far less barriers to imagination; instead of sticking with the rules, think about how a child would try and solve a problem instead. So these workshops made them think outside of the box in relation to how they carry out a task or solve a problem. The ideas they come up with can then potentially be implemented for carrying out tasks or solving problems in work.”
Kevin: “My workshops are vocal workshops focused on communicating with confidence. These are the kind of exercises a performer would do to boost his or her creativity and to prepare for going on stage or write something. However we are going to do it in a setting of engineering or a workplace, which opened my eyes to how what I do can be transferred and the importance of communication.”
Georgia: “Most people in the workshops were very positive. Some were a little bit nervous as we were working quite a lot outside of their comfort zone. We young creatives were teaching them skills which they don’t use every day, and, to some, that was a bit daunting.”
Kevin: “In the very first session together, they didn’t know what to expect, so it was a big surprise for them. Simon, their Managing Director basically introduced us and told them that we were going to help them put on a performance. He told them not to worry as they were going to have people who are used to the industry to facilitate them, and then handed over to us. As you might imagine, our reception was a bit frosty to begin with! However, people eventually began to grow in confidence and got more involved in the workshop activities. Those who were quiet are not as quiet now and their ability to create new ideas has become far easier. Creativity wise, in their workplace, these people are not often required to use lots of creativity. So it was almost magical to see some of them create these ideas that even I couldn’t create.”
Adeline: “Some people had some creative hobbies, and others were not that into it or shy or scared if something was done wrong. That’s what I like in performing arts that nothing is wrong, you just develop and be the creative kind of person that you can be. Up until now I feel like they have achieved so much in the short time that we had.”
Georgia: “Although I have done teaching in the past, I have never worked as a workshop facilitator and certainly not with anyone over the age of 18. Therefore, to begin with, I felt rather nervous and unsure that what I had to offer would be worthy or accepted by the Altrad team. These people are all managers in their own right; used to giving instructions and telling people what to do. However, I quickly gained confidence as we started playing games that saw everybody having to let go, be silly and let their barriers down. It has also been incredibly rewarding to see these people genuinely thankful for what I have been able to provide. Working with IVE has sparked the fact that I can apply my skills in different contexts and made me realise that I really enjoy teaching others.”
Kevin: “I have learnt, you don’t need a lot to get started with creativity. I have always had this belief that you need a lot of training in order to come up with stuff. But I found a lot of the Altrad staff who have not had any creative training can come up with a lot of good stuff performance wise. It just depends how brave you are, such as the courage to speak about your ideas. Above all, I would like to say thank you for having me. It has been a rich experience working for IVE. From the very beginning, I knew straight away that what you do is good and will enrich people’s lives. That is why I was interested from the get go, until the very end. People are smiling a lot in these workshops. People are thanking us for helping them remember what It feels like to be a child again and know that part of themselves. It’s good to know you have this creative side still too. It has been a pleasure and an honour for me to be a part of this.”
Adeline answered: “I found the experience helped me be more aware about different situations and how to be a facilitator as it put me in the shoes of a facilitator. I learnt how the techniques can be delivered and how the techniques can help people discover different ways of thinking about things in work.”
The Young Creatives words speak for themselves and reflect the positive impacts on them, and for some, has even inspired them to pursue their new aspirations in their career path. The project seems to have enhanced their awareness of how they will apply their creative specialism, making them more versatile and agile to finding work in a broad range of cultures and sectors.
If you are interested in working with IVE please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0113 322 3050. For more information on our work with Altrad visit our Creative Leadership for Business page.
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