As a holistic approach to diversity in cultural leadership, New Visions goal is: “... cultural institutions changing to model micro societies of care and empathy and inclusive leadership. Patriarchal white supremacy of leadership has been normalised, part of our goal is to deconstruct and denormalize it, and then normalise leadership that is based on care and love. To make it normal that people care for one another.”
New Visions aims to affect cultural leadership to be more inclusive, equitable and holistic. They work with consultancy for cultural organisations and run workshops and events, some of which are free to join. Drawing on a small expert team and an additional group of diversely skilled advisors they are continuously developing their methodology and building an educational program for women led cultural leadership in Eastern Europe. There are several layers to this methodology: The first layer is a free ‘Toolbox for diversity’ ; the second layer is a series of workshops and the third layer is consultancy. All layers entail engaging with methods to challenge systems of inequality in cultural leadership and institutional hierarchies. New Visions have produced a guide advising cultural organisations of all sizes in how to make work places safe spaces with room for organic growth and staff development, while avoiding discrimination within cultural hierarchies. This is freely accessible by signing up to the organisations newsletter. In addition to the guide New Visions by run a number of different workshops and undertake consultancy for organisations/ institutions, working to set the seed for more inclusive leadership and by offering development for female aspiring cultural leaders in Eastern Europe. Lastly the new visions work with consultancy for large and small cultural organisations and institutions. This can take the shape of a 6 month, or longer, consultancy relationship, and involve a thorough analysis of the internal hierarchy and power dynamics, what effects them and how they can be improved or rectified. The company aims to have a certain intake of free and low cost consultancy offers across all their activities, to assure that financial situations do not become the stopping block for organisations actively seeking solutions for a fairer more equal leadership structure.
For an organisation/ collective/ community interested in making their leadership and general organisation more diverse, and it’s structure flatter and more egalitarian, there are first conversations to be had establishing the organisational specific issues. -As this is a tool which aims to directly address power dynamics it’s important to first create a genuinely safe space for dialogue, where everyone is welcome, seen and heard. These are some steps towards starting to make changes, using the tools and methodology provided by New Visions, described by directors Agnieszka Bułacik and Liene Jurgelane: Doing things differently: Agnieszka Bułacik: You'll be invited to do things differently. And you will be encouraged to try out something you've not tried before and get out from your normal way of doing things. That can deeply, strongly, immensely enrich your experience of working together, and therefore change the way you do your work. [afterall] That’s how people spend a majority of their time in a week. Recognising and nurturing strengths, refocusing your work accordingly: ...I constantly remind myself that it's such an amazing gift and privilege that I work with people I love and admire, and that this work is really fitting my soul in my body. It's enabling me to be human, we are learning how to be our full selves at work. That's where the shift from business environments, towards more cultural artistic spaces came from, because this is where we feel that we can grow. And this is where we feel that we can also contribute the most of our powers and skills and talents. It's an invitation to to find the spaces, or create the spaces for yourself and your community. Seeing the bigger picture without losing sight of the attainable change: Liene Jurgelane: I think what describes our product, whether the toolbox or the workshops, is always thinking about the bigger picture, and having a constant relationship with that. There are these two extremes are always present in this work; Either people are saying: “Just tell us what to do!” And it doesn't work like that: We are working with systems of oppression that have been built over centuries, so it's not going to change overnight. It’s not like... if you check all these boxes, then you earn your inclusive organisation. There's also the other end, where you only talk about this massiveness of the issues, which also makes people paralysed. -So we try to kind of show the bigger picture, but also create space for possibility and hope and action. Suggesting starting points, not final solutions: In the workshop, that's what we're also trying to say: This is one or two examples of how it can look, and try this. And it's not the only way, and it's not the right way. It's not the magic wand that will fix everything, but it's somewhere to start. Normalising caring and making it the core of your leadership: ..In our work environment, so many things are normalised when it comes to disruptions of power and care, kids, etc. So, when we think about normalising care at work, what would this mean? -You could be really caring towards one another, and then you would know that the space is caring for you! It’s an invitation to imagine things differently. This is part of New Visions' own process, and the development of their organisation and the methodology they not only base their own work on, but also suggest as a tool for change in cultural institutions.
5. Background (500 words) New Visions is a relatively young Berlin based organisation, having existed formally only since 2019. However the two co-founders and Agnieszka Bułacik and Liene Jurgelane met in 2014 as facilitators on an international internship programme organised by the German Foreign Ministry, which brought young people from the global north to do internships in the global south. This started a course of collaboration on workshop facilitation and a gradual shift into the direction of exploring power dynamics and developing anti-discriminatory education After having worked in the cultural and education sectors for years, with the groundwork laid over years of co-designing and facilitating workshops, courses and lectures in various settings, they decided to start the company in 2018. The idea was socially ambitious and quietly radical. To “strive for positive systemic change in our communities and society at large on an everyday basis.” In 2019 turning this idea into reality was helped by a fellowship from the Echoing Green Foundation, which supports future leaders and instigators of radical movements and bold ideas and supports in new Visions’ a” program, which embraces a holistic approach to learning, is rooted in a feminist, cross-generational, social justice approach and aimed at creating an international network of social innovators to fulfil the vision of a world where differences are embraced and cherished.
Subscribe to New Visions newsletter and download The ‘Toolbox for Inclusivity’ - the newsletter is monthly and gives suggestions to further develop inclusive leadership practices as well as offering access to free workshops and s a great starting point for discussing and contextualising issues of diversity internally, and how to change policies and approaches to addressing these.Subscribe to New Visions newsletter and download The ‘Toolbox for Inclusivity’ - the newsletter is monthly and gives suggestions to further develop inclusive leadership practices as well as offering access to free workshops and s a great starting point for discussing and contextualising issues of diversity internally, and how to change policies and approaches to addressing these.
Agnieszka Bułacik and Liene Jurgelane and the New Visions team and advisory board.