msb ~015 Tinker tailor soldier artist

Tinker tailor soldier artist

Alec Guinness’ classic portrayal

Yesterday’s post mentioned embedding artists in public bodies to stimulate cultural responses to climate change. The idea lodged in my mind, mixing with John le Carre’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the classic tale of moles, sleepers and agents I’m rereading … What if climate-aware artists were smuggled into all central and local government, working in the shadows for a safer, fairer, better-connected ecology, economy and society? What art might moles make within policies, positions and forecasts? On the texts’ margins? Hijacking the headings, footnotes and charts? How long would it take for creative subversion to move beyond satire? A diverting daydream …

Then I realised, of course, these agents are in place: sleepers embedded deep, waiting for the signal to create space for change. Of 5.5 million people in the public sector, how many write, paint, draw, stitch, sculpt or sing in their home lives? How much of the artistic energy feeding our communities away from the office trickles back into watercooler conversations, unminuted edges of meetings, doodles in notes? How large is the potential for public servants to speak their ideas, hopes and fears into the record, shifting the public agenda?

How to wake the sleepers?


2 Replies to “msb ~015 Tinker tailor soldier artist”

  1. Very true. I find people all too easily get trapped by function and let their job define their limits when in actual fact everyone has the capacity to imagine and create. I think the world of work will start to become more multi-disciplinary as jobs evolve and require less manual input (with the likes of AI etc) and more creative input. For now, it’s a big leadership challenge to give people an awakening, but the leaders first have to be enlightened!

    1. It is a capacity we all have, yes! And right there is the power to subvert the ‘conventional’ wisdom and unsettle things, shake them up, and make the enlightenment, one sketch, skit, song or story at a time… Thanks Simon!

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