Adam Kent

Re-working plans and the importance of trust

Our Chair of Trustees, Adam Kent, shares his thoughts on partnership building, trust and the importance of being brave when it comes to innovation.

My name is Adam, I’m one of the Directors of Blue Cabin. I’ve been involved in socially engaged arts and culture work for the past 14 years or so and have always been passionate about cultural education and the power of the arts to effect change, particularly for those who might be living in challenging circumstances.

At Blue Cabin I mainly focus on supporting Jenny and the team with financial modeling and chairing our quarterly board meetings.  One of the things that I have been reflecting on recently is just how important it is to invest the time in partnerships and to build deeper relationships with organisations, especially when venturing together into the unknown and taking risks. The unknown can be pretty scary stuff, even more so where you bare responsibility for children and young people within the care system.

To-date I have been so impressed by how fluid, agile and bold both Blue Cabin and partners such as South Tyneside Local Authority have been when it comes to adapting original plans, or even scrapping them altogether and following a different path when a more ambitious and groundbreaking model comes to light. I believe it’s precisely the kind of approach that supports innovation within systems and is, in my view, quite rare.

For it to work, there has to be a fundamental trust that exists between partners, and that kind of relationship takes time to build and maintain.

In coming into the organisation, I’ve observed this long term focus on partnerships as a real strength of Blue Cabin, and I can now see first hand, particularly in the innovative, ‘Creative Life Story Work’ approach in South Tyneside, how it is paying dividends. Through that focus on building trust between partners, an already ambitious programme of creative work has now been expanded to impact on every child and young person who is connected to the care system in the Local Authority.

What I’m interested in exploring further, beyond the eventual ‘product’ that will be created, is the process that was undertaken, the factors that contributed to creating a new model and how we can use and adapt that to support children and young people with experience of the care system. Looking ahead I’m really excited about the potential of Blue Cabin and the wonderful people and partners that work together and alongside them, to see what we might be able to achieve across the whole of the North East.