Last week I had the opportunity to travel down to Letchworth Garden City not just once but twice(!) through the worst of the snow(!) to collaborate with the amazing ‘Create’ family. My initial involvement with Create was through Create Seven - I swapped skills with the team back in November 2018 (illustrations and documentation in exchange for a leadership programme at the Centre for Alternative Technology). Since then, I’ve been in regular contact with the Create Seven team and my first trip down to Letchworth (including a quick spin round the UK’s first every roundabout or ‘gyratory traffic flow system’ according to the BBC) was to pilot some work around young leadership with St Christopher’s School. More on these experiences to come in future posts.
My second trip was an opportunity to meet more of the people who make up the wider Create network which operates under three distinct but complimentary streams:
Create Community is supporting, developing and enriching the lives of people within the community who are looking to fulfil their full potential.
Create Network are Organisational Psychologists and Coaches working to create a more prosperous and sustainable society.
Create Seven is a not-for-profit Co-operative developing and enabling leaders to co-create a more sustainable society.
The day was designed to give us space to learn about each other and the work of each part of Create. Towards the start of our time together, the founders picked objects which they felt represented each entity: a recipe book; a piece of rock; a length of rope. Each one made me think of nature, of outdoors, of safety. The team moved on to a metaphor about us all being present in a field which I struggled with on the day but the never ending green grass and glaring, low sun I imagined felt too vast and boundaryless for me in the infancy of my contribution. In my vision of the Create field, the edges might still be hazy on the horizon but the tangible ground underfoot is split into a collection of allotments, some well-tended and bountiful, others a little more rough around the edges. Mine has a Frank Sidebottom scarecrow, of course. The Creators (as I’ve termed the people at the heart of this metaphoric community space) are the gardeners - sharing their expertise and produce over low fences and thermossed tea. Different times of year yield different results, growing conditions and visitors to the plots. Some people visit their poor every day, others are more occasional guests. The pace is thoughtful and reflective. You get the gist.
Amidst the variety of my current and evolving professional identities, this collaborative expedition into the unknown is perhaps the one that feels the most exciting. That I found Create at a time when I was questioning my professional identity and personal impact is not coincidental - I was actively looking for a space to belong and all the positive trimmings that go with it. What I’ve found is actually more than belonging - it is opportunity.