Illustration of a man with glasses in a circle frame on top of a yellow background with the words Leaders Focus

Leaders Focus

Gemma Colley

Leaders Focus

Posted in Editorial

A new feature series on leadership beginning with thoughts and reflections from Steven Michael, Independent Board Chair of Creative Wakefield

Q. You joined Creative Wakefield in early 2023. What are your reflections from the last 9 months?

A. My reflections on the last 9 months are there is so much inherent creative potential in Wakefield, but it still needs unlocking to see true impact at scale.

Q. What conversation has excited you most?

A. There have been so many exciting conversations, but two spring to mind. The first was the round table discussion prior to the digital network event. The sense of genuine entrepreneurship and associated opportunities for Wakefield was inspiring. Secondly, a conversation with Sue Austin at her exhibition at Wakefield Exchange (former Market Hall).

Q. As independent Board Chair of Creative Wakefield, what is your primary focus?

A. As independent Chair my focus is to broker conversations across the creative network and try and create a culture where every voice is heard and important.

Q. You describe Creative Wakefield as a Cultural Compact. What are Cultural Compacts?

A. For me, a Cultural Compact is a coalition of the willing with a shared desire for creativity in all its forms to make a real difference to people’s lives.

Q. How do you see Wakefield changing in the next 5 years?

A. Wakefield has real potential to see its citizens have their lives enhanced through creative participation, appreciation and celebration. In five years time hopefully this will see a genuine sense of collective pride emerge.

Q. Today’s leaders face an increasingly complex and volatile political and economic landscape.  What type of mindset and skills do leaders need to navigate these circumstances and thrive?

A. In terms of leadership I think we need to think more about the importance of leading as hosts rather than heroes.

Q. What’s your attitude to the ‘traditional’ models of leadership and governance? Do you think there is a better/more modern way?

A. True leadership in complex systems comes not from the telling, but in unlocking the answers that exist within local networks and communities.

Q. What’s the best collaboration you’ve been involved in?

A. There have been so many collaboratives over recent months but the work we’re doing around creative health has the potential to be ground-breaking.

Q. What’s the next big thing for Wakefield?

A. Why, Our Year 2024 of course!


Want to connect with Steven? Message – subject line: Board Chair

You might also be interested in the ACE Programme Transforming Governance

You might also be interested in

Creative Close Up

Creative Close Up

Creative Close Up takes a closer look at the amazing work of the creatives who live and work in our
Polaroids of Wakefield's cultural assets layered on top of each other. On the top of a pile is a polaroid with an illustration of Steven, our Chair by Abbey Withington. He is a white man with a shaved head wearing glasses and a blue polo top.

Introducing Our New Chair

Meet Steven Michael OBE. As Chair, Steven will help deliver our vision and take Creative Wakefield to the next level.
Empath Action CIC: a group of 97% performers

Creative Spotlight: Empath Action CIC

We sat down with Empath Action CIC to learn more about the work they are doing to uplift and empower
Taylor Film Mentee

How do Mentorships Work in the Creative Industry? 

Meet Taylor, a CDF-funded mentee, and find out how to make the best of a mentorship.
A textile brain by artist, Mandy Shepherd

Exploring Art and Mental Health

Explore organisations in our district making a difference through art-based therapies and how you can practice art-based mindfulness.
Quote over Rob broad photoggraphy

Creative Spotlight: Robert Broad, Photographer

We catch up with Wakefield-born photographer, Robert Broad.