(3) Personal development

As George Bernard Shaw once said, ‘ A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.’ In a strange way this is encouraging.

But, while it’s nice to have some organic development, when I compare the way I’d organised the event with management systems I’m reading about now I shudder. If I’m being really honest, I was making it up as I went along. I knew about strategic planning but had no idea how to do it. Sure I made lists, made appointments to see people, organised catering and delivery, put out invitations and published blog posts and spread the word on social media, and I’d briefed volunteers on health and safety. You know, when I put it like that it doesn’t sound half so bad. But, if I’d been working for someone I wouldn’t have known how to show them what I was going to do. I wouldn’t be able to get a job in the industry and I would struggle to get others involved in things I wanted to pursue.

On the bright side, I was certainly growing, though. I could feel that at the time. The boost to self confidence, as attested to in Matarasso’s Use or Ornament? (1997) from being involved in, indeed organising, a social art experiment, was definitely there. I’ve often noticed, and said, ‘The more things you do, the more things happen.’ I’d noticed the effect before.

South Bank Mosaics had a programme for young offenders. Giving them them access to creativity as an alternative to destructive behaviour to help them avoid re-offending. A method backed up in a study by The Arts Council (Arts Council, 2018). I did an auction for them and it went really well. So well that an art gallery asked me to work with them on other auctions.

I can certainly attest to the research carried out by Matarasso (1997) that questionnaire respondents felt more confident for being involved in the arts. I am definitely one of the 80%. How often does something have that much of a positive effect?

Although this is certainly not solely because of the arts. The idea that getting involved in most things, especially if it involves learning new skills, will also give confidence (Jan Eldred, et. al. 2004). But, it does mean that development and confidence has a new string to it’s bow and broadens the spectrum of ways to develop

If only I’d known about Event management systems such as PRINCE (Projects In controlled environments) or Agile management system. If you’d mentioned Agile to me a few weeks ago I have thought you were talking about yoga. Then again maybe I wouldn’t have started if I’d known what was involved. Sometimes the fog is useful.

However, I’ve always found that doing something, whether it’s studying or being involved in a project gives life a sense of moving forward, as Dr Sandra Leaton Gray (2005) found with teachers that CDP gave them a sense of forward momentum and mental stimulation.

I guess I have a long way to go.


MATARASSO, Francois. 1997. Use or Ornament?The social impact of participation in the arts. Stroud. Comedia.

ELDRED, Jan. et. al. 2004. Catching Confidence.  Available at: https://www.learningandwork.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Catching-Confidence-Final-Report.pdf

GRAY, Sandra Leaton, Dr. 2005. An Enquiry into Continuing Professional Development for Teachers. London. Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. Available at: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/150131.pdf



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