Talking About Emergence

Key contributors to Emergence discuss the ideas and inspiration which led to their involvement with the project.

After two years of going from one Emergence project immediately to the next we decided that it would be a useful exercise to take stock, look at the impact of the project so far and speak to a number of key people who have been instrumental in making Emergence happen.

In the spirit of action research and creative enquiry we decided to open up the conversation and see where it wanted to go. In the Summer of 2013 nine in-depth interviews were conducted with key artists and creative practitioners who had been involved in organizing and supporting the CardiffSwansea or Caernarfon conferences, the document launch, the Emergence Summit or Creu Cymru Emergence.

Fern Smith from Emergence and Pete Telfer of Culture Colony conducted and filmed the interviews. Each lasted between and sixty and ninety minutes and together give a rich sense of the origins, context, challenges, opportunities and aspirations of the project. The interviews appear here in their full length and speak about the project from the many different viewpoints of those involved. Some of the interviews focus more on emergence and systems theory, others on leadership and activism or on what a sustainable future might look like and what role artists have in making this happen. Interviewees include; Rhodri Thomas, Lucy Neal, Paul Allen, Jenny Mackewn, Fern Smith, David Alston, Nick Capaldi, Deborah Keyser and Nicolas Young.

The interviews serve as a rich resource for those interested in organizing similar projects, researching arts and sustainability initiatives, marrying inspiration, strategy and outcomes and of course for us at Emergence to look back in order to travel forward.



“Is there a sector or group of people you perceive are ‘leading the change’? How important are the arts in all this?”

Fern Smith

“What is the connection between inspiration and practical action for change and how do we move from one to the other?”

Fern Smith