Ready to go back to work?
Well that’s been a great Christmas. For me, peaceful, nourishing, quiet – a most appropriate end to a tumultuous year. A year in which so many of my creative heroes have fallen and one in which voters in the UK and the States made choices I would not have made.
That said, what lies ahead excites me immensely.
In June 2016 communities near where I live voted overwhelmingly to leave the european union. Many of these communities are barely surviving and if they are it is largely a result of funds that have come from Europe. Yet disenfranchisement, disappointment, unfulfilled promises and short term policies have left them angry. They see pressure on services increasing as populations grow. They can see no viable future, for themselves or their young. There’s a kind of systemic depression, medicated by pharmaceuticals and state-aid.
So the anger has been expressed, for now, and the decision has been made. And communities will have to start finding their own way, unaided, or unhindered, by the hand of Europe.
But as is seen elsewhere in the development sector – it is time for a change of approach.
Communities that survive on hand-outs serve to fulfil one thing in the future – The continued out-stretch of the hand that receives.
The futures for communities currently dependent on European funding are now very unclear. But as the Chinese politician Li Keqiang put it: “Changes call for innovation, and innovation leads to progress.”
It is likely to be a challenging road that lies ahead for the former industrial valleys of South Wales. But in that challenge will come the need to innovate and to look beyond government for stability, hope and comfort.
What will come is a new story – a reworking of the influences of history that made these valley communities the engine house of the industrial revolution and allowed their peoples to stand strong and proud.
Among the many stories of development we will be telling at Griot Creative this year will be the one that sees radical thinking back at the top of the agenda. Thinking that has created so many ground-breaking, world-leading innovations and policies from Wales. We will see Welsh passion, Welsh creativity, Welsh work-ethic leading a new industrial revolution. A revolution that is resilient in its heart, sustainable in its mind.
A revolution that puts the people first.
At Griot Creative we believe we are the sum of the stories we tell about ourselves. From our new offices in Wales we hope to create a new narrative. A narrative our grandchildren can share, with their grandchildren, about how Wales rose to the combined challenges of economic uncertainty and global warming to once again become the engine room of an industrial revolution – this time built out of cooperation and community, for the good of the people who live here and those who come to join them.