A little late I know but I wanted to reflect on this week's debate on a supermarket worker refusing to serve someone who was speaking on a mobile.  I don't know all the details of the case but two things are obvious to me. Firstly it is just plain rude to ignore the hard working PERSON who is serving you.  Second - I make a point of not taking calls when I am at the front of the check out queue - I once had an incoming call just as I was getting to the front and stepped out of the line...finishing my call I rejoined the queue and the person at the checkout smiled broadly (as usual in this store) and thanked me for not chatting away in front of him.  Moral of this tale...I get even better service and a chat every time I go in because I showed respect.

This week I have been privileged to be involved in training a wonderful group of Asda staff - I was very struck by the culture of respect that they displayed, individually and collectively.  They are great people who respect their customers and colleagues...I think they deserve our respect too.  As do all people working in the demanding retail and service sectors.
Great to be back in Redcar and Cleveland this week - meeting new and inspiring people.  It was also great to get some sunshine and sea air on the beach in Saltburn.

Just a reminder...

If you would like 15 hours of free mentoring support then please contact me direct to access this great opportunity funded by Redcar and Cleveland Council.
Project part financed by the European Union and the European Regional Development Fund 
This week I am really looking forward to working again with the lovely creative people in Redcar and Cleveland.  It has been great to see ideas and businesses develop over the past 18 months so I am pleased to be back after 6 months offering mentoring and other services (if you are interested please get in touch with the Creative Advisor at Redcar Council).

This week it was great to facilitate an introduction to Artsmark for schools in Newcastle Gateshead and Northumberland.  Really good to work with teachers who want to develop their practice.

On a related note I am now working with Futurelab @ nfer to develop and deliver the Enquiring Schools programme, - I am one associate in a network of exciting colleagues with a wide range of skills and experience and we want to build a national network of Enquiring Schools.  The good news is schools can join the programme or they can get a taster of what we can offer with a cpd session in your school.

Get in touch if you want to find out more

This week Arts Council announced the results of Artsmark 12.  

Congratulations to the students and staff at all of the schools involved - especially to the many schools I worked with in the lead up to submission.

Now you have the 'badge' what does it mean for the future?  How can you work together to develop your practice?  How can you work with other schools?  How can you develop your partnerships?

Let me know what you think and what you plans are for celebration
What better place to start Artsmark 12 support than at the wonderful Woodhorn Museum in a room surrounded by the works of the pitmen painters of the Ashington group - great art by everyone!  Yesterday saw a great introductory support session and there are further opportunities for schools to get support for their Artsmark applications
Woodhorn Museum, Ashington, 16:30 to 18:30
15 November – Group surgery – Applying for Artsmark

13 December – Group surgery – Applying for Artsmark

Queens Hall Arts Centre, Hexham 16:30 to 18:30

19 October – Introduction to Artsmark 12 and application process

16 November – Group surgery – Applying for Artsmark

14 December – Group surgery – Applying for Artsmark
At the moment Reiver is talking to a number of school clusters about how they can sustain and develop their creative teaching and learning.  It is wonderful to see that the momentum developed by programmes like Creative Partnerships has not dissipated.  It is a joy to be working with innovative people unafraid of partnership and change.

The importance of this was underlined last week when schools and creatives from across the North East gathered at the Sage for Creative Exchange.  This event, part celebration, part learning event, is perhaps most significant for pointing the way forward.  A network gathering like this gives reassurance - 'there are others like me out there!' - and strengthens our resolve and ability to continue to develop creative and engaging teaching and learning.  See me and colleagues talk about this here.
Reiver is really pleased to announce that Patrick Chapman has been recognised as an Arts Council England accredited trainer - supporting schools, colleges and youth justice settings to attain  Artsmark.  Starting in September Patrick will be offering a range of group workshops, surgeries and in-school support.  Get in touch if you would like to know more.
If you know me then you know that partnership is at the heart of what I do so it was a pleasure to be at Northern Stage today for the Arts Council supported Stronger Together event.

Much discussion and debate centred upon collaboration and networks...this got me thinking about how important it is to define what we mean by these two very different beasts...

For me a collaboration is the coming together of people with shared goals and complementary skills and attributes to work towards something...partnership in a defined space.

Networks are different (or perhaps should be) they may be catalysed by an external agent but they grow organically, through encounters, and become self sustaining based upon the benefits derived - outcomes from networks are unpredictable and spring from synergy and synthesis.

I work with both - in one I facilitate and offer leadership, in the other I provoke, share and tell stories...

What do you think?

PS really well done to Erica and the Team at Northern Stage!
Opportunity for young people and creative practitioners in Redcar to explore and shape the future...facilitated by Reiver  http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=5d8d1aa0561cc8d9aae37befe&id=5ea6268099&e=6c81231136  
The Fusion Reloaded Creative Network for Redcar & Cleveland brings you an exciting opportunity to take part in a session to help support the development of The Hub on Redcar Seafront and  Tuned In! @ MyPlace, the brand new centre for young people to experience, explore and develop their creativity