In praise of the lost art of development

There was a time when the concept of development was widely understood but it has been spoken about less and less over recent years. These days I expect to be met with a blank look when I talk about it.  Yet, it seems to me, that the principles and practices of development  are as relevant and reliable as ever. Surely now,  when man’s arrogance has brought us to the brink of ruin,  the need for a more human, developmental approach is greater than ever?  So, I ‘d like to take a moment to praise those people who are prepared to go against the grain and engage seriously with their own development and build a development approach into their work.

Development is not easy – it requires an openness, an honesty and a vulnerability that is very much out of tune with these brash, confident times  – yet the rewards are immense and long-lasting. It is the only way to achieve long-term social change.  Recently, I have had the privilege of walking and working with a number of artists, who have put the hard yards in to hone, articulate and realise their own creative vision and I’m delighted that many of them have been able to turn their ideas into reality.

I’d also like to give a special mention for the team at PAPER Arts who are working really hard to engage all their stakeholders in understanding and enhancing the social impact of their work with young people. We had a great time working on this in Snowdonia recently and I’m really looking forward to an event they are hosting in April when they will share their leaning with the people and organisations in the creative community of St Pauls (Bristol).

Whilst all development centres on our capability to be ourselves,  in the work I’ve been doing with PAPER and others, we’ve been exploring the authentic creative development that occurs when we align our own development with those about us and the wider world.

My approach to development can be summarised in these three statements:

      • Only in development  can we be fully ourselves
      • Only when we are fully ourselves can we truly support each other
      • Only when we support each other can we create lasting change.

Exploring this multi-dimensional nature of development is one of the key aspects of our walks in development. (see some examples here) . One of the things I enjoy most about these walks is the moment when people realise how simple and natural development is and that, one way or another, it  is something we’ve been doing all our lives (it is just that some of us are more considered and conscientious about it).

I’ve been in development since 1962 and am still very much a work in progress. One thing I’ve learnt in that time is that change and uncertainty are inevitable but there are some very simple development processes and practices that can make our life and work much more positive and rewarding – particularly if you have someone to walk along side you.

So if you would like to explore a ‘strategic approach to creative development’ do get in touch and let’s go for a walk and explore the lost art of development together!

One thought on “In praise of the lost art of development

  1. Pingback: A few thoughts on walks and development. | Arts in Development

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