April 8, 2020

Last November we published our third research report, Taking Care- The Art of Kindness. To accompany the report we produced a companion resource called Navigating with Kindness – a metaphorical map that reflects the different kinds of terrains and journeys you might experience in the life of a creative project and a set of beautifully illustrated prompt cards that were designed to keep kindness in mind at all stages of your collaboration.

Hand illustrated metaphorical map entitled "Navigating with Kindness" which shows a rainbow, mountains, a beach, woods, flowers and wild animals.

Here at People United, and amongst our friends and colleagues, we have found our map and cards to be useful in other aspects of work – and life generally. For example, some people have used the map think about where they are and where they are heading at the beginning or end of the working week, and others have picked a random card each day or each week to focus their mind on different aspects of their creative practice.

During the current COVID-19 crisis we are all facing new and stressful situations, yet at the same time many of us are experiencing, observing and enacting extraordinary kindness. As borders are closed and barriers are placed between us, we are connecting and reconnecting to ourselves and our communities in ways that we would not have thought possible just a few short weeks ago.

We want to capture some of what is happening; to think and reflect on stories as they develop, to learn from what we are seeing and doing in the midst of the crisis – in the creative sector and beyond.

We’d like to use our Navigating with Kindness tools to do this – to help us to share thoughts, observations and reflections on where and how kindness is flourishing and how we might be able to sustain and build on this in the future.

A hand against a blue background, fanning out five cards from the "Navigating with Kindness" prompt cards, each with a hand illustrated image on to reflect each prompt.

So, we have asked a number of our friends and colleagues to create a series of waymarks and milestones in response to a card from the Navigating with Kindness pack. Their response might be any form – a blog, a piece of artwork, video or audio. Each reflection will pose questions or challenges that we hope you will respond to, building a rich tapestry of creative words and images.

When the weaving is complete, we will collate and edit these reflections, and your responses, into a representation of thoughts and experience. It will be no more than a small snapshot, but we hope it will provide potent and creative testimony as well as asking some compelling questions about how we choose to live our lives from now on.

We hope the cards that we share and the responses to them will prompt your own reflections and help you to find some focus, to feel more grounded and perhaps to be able to experience a few moments of mindfulness.

We aim to publish these reflections on a weekly basis (with some ‘bonus blogs’ in between), starting next week with an emotive and hopeful written piece from the wonderful artist and writer Bernadette Russell.

We’re having conversations with a whole range of our colleagues and associates to see who might be able to contribute to this project. Some names we have confirmed already who we’ll be hearing from in future weeks are- artist and People United trustee Maria Amidu; artist and academic, Sue Mayo; Mary Ann Le Lean, founder/director of Year One Consulting; Ben Thurman from the Carnegie Trust, who is involved in ground-breaking work and research on radical kindness; and Liz Flynn, once Head of Creative Programmes at People United, and now a trustee. 

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