We talked initially about my being an 'ambassador' for Dreadnought South West, I think this was a – very flattering – idea for staying involved in DSW's future development when it was clear that I couldn't do so on a more day to day basis. But then we got on to the terminology. 'Ambassador'- with its connotations of state diplomacy and official representation in a foreign
county – produced ironic amusement. The secondary definition of a 'representative or promoter of a specified activity' covered some of what we had in mind, but carried little emotional heft. 'Champion', on the other hand – once we'd got past notions of a 'person who has surpassed all rivals in a sporting contest or other competition' and closer to 'a person who vigorously supports or defends a person or cause' felt more like something we could work with and on. We were also clear that what this meant in practice would need to evolve in the doing.
At this point the role seems to be threefold:
First, to advocate for DSW's work and its work as a connector of people and teller of great and courageous stories about women, whenever and wherever it is good and useful
to do so.
Second, to act as a critical friend for the DSW team and board, at points where they feel that an additional insider-outsider perspective might be helpful: this is a creative and values-based association that is dedicated to ensuring congruence between what it does and how it does it, something that can be hard work when your nose is to the grindstone.
Third, to be a sounding board for new ideas and directions, usually with cake.
If all that sounds a bit woolly and general, then I hold my hand up. This is a bit of an experiment, for DSW and for me. Or – rather – another (small) story that begins with a notion or an idea, without necessarily knowing where it might lead. And that's where the real excitement lies, doesn't it?
Sue Kay has over thirty years’ experience in arts management and cultural administration. She has worked as a producer, programmer, venue manager, planner, project coordinator, senior lecturer (Subject Director: Cultural Management, Dartington College of Arts) and now operates as a freelance consultant, educator and trainer. Sue has a particular interest in cross-sectoral working; cultural policy and organisational development; and curriculum design, teaching and learning in the field. She has a PhD in Leadership Studies from the University of Exeter, which focused on small scale theatre companies in the South West. Formerly a board member of the European Network of Cultural Administration Training Centres, Sue teaches abroad (in Central and Eastern Europe, the Southern Mediterranean Region and Nordic-Baltic countries) on a regular basis.