Meet the team: Beth Powell
Updated: Jun 16, 2020
As part of our 2nd birthday celebrations, we asked our team members a few questions about what they do at Creative City, their proud moments and hopes for the future.
Creative City: How would you describe what you do?
Beth Powell: I founded Creative City, and am a very hands-on director and manager. I'm involved in the delivery of our work, working closely with the CC team and our community of creatives and collaborators to bring things to life. I love responsive work so I'm also very involved in reacting and responding to community-led projects to try to help bring people's ideas to life. I oversee the finances and administration too, and I work closely with the team on marketing and building up Creative City's vision and brand. Driving the organisation forward, getting ready for and generating what's next. I try to use whatever we are learning and encountering on the ground to influence others too, and create spaces for people to self-advocate.
CC: What motivates you?
BP: Day to day I'm motivated by my values and by the individuals around me. I love seeing people enjoy themselves, express themselves, gain confidence using their voice, and seeing how people get creative about improving their community. That motivates me to create projects that achieve those things.
I also often think about what kind of world we are going to hand on to the next generation. Sometimes I imagine a scene in the future. I imagine being old and my grandchild asking me what I did to challenge today's injustices. I think long term I'm motivated by the need to be able to look back at my life and say with all honesty that I did my very best in whatever way I could.
Some days though I'm more motivated by a cup of tea and some trashy telly!
CC: How did you become involved in Creative City?
BP: I founded Creative City two years ago :)
CC: What do you most enjoy about working for Creative City?
BP: I love love love working with people to come up with an idea for improving their community, helping them make it happen, and then looking back after all their hard work to reflect on that journey and hearing the pride and growth that that process has meant for them.
CC: What's been your proudest moment whilst working with Creative City?
BP: So many proud moments! One that stands out is Community Slice. Caroline and I had dreamed about piloting participatory budgeting with young people. Participatory budgeting is a way of putting budget decision making in the hands of the people most directly affected by the way that money is spent. It seemed like it might take us a long time to be in a position to distribute money, and we hadn't come across anyone else empowering young people to be at the heart of that process to learn from before. But happily in November last year, we supported young people in one of the UK's most deprived communities in Bolton to lead their own participatory budgeting event in a project called Community Slice. We are still learning loads from it but I felt extremely proud that we had been able to reach that goal so quickly. And I'm a whole other level of proud of the young people who led the event - It was mindblowingly impressive to see all that they had achieved.
CC: Have there been any moments of realisation in your life/career that made you know that this kind of work was what you wanted to do?
BP: I've tried different avenues of change-making through different jobs and projects, and through variety, I've learned about what I think works best, what I find most fulfilling and where I think my strengths are. That's helped me understand what I wanted to do. I also think I've learned from challenges within some of my jobs in the past. Through some frustrating experiences I learned I wanted to be in a position to shape the values and culture I was working within, and build a leadership team with strong ethics.
CC: What do you hope the future will hold for Creative City?
BP: I hope that Creative City will grow, in size and impact. I hope to be able to grow our staff team so that we can connect with more people and work within more of Greater Manchester's amazing communities. I also want to see our little project baby, Soap for the Future, grow legs.
CC: Who are some of your role models?
BP: My mum, who is a real roll-your-sleeves-up-and-graft kind of woman. I think a lot of my friends, colleagues, and peers are my role models in different ways too. Caroline is an endless inspiration. I also soak up bits of inspiration from women in positions of leadership who have bravely done things in their own authentic way. People like Michelle Obama, Greta Thunberg, Emma Gonzalez, Nicola Sturgeon, Marsha P. Johnson, Malala, Dr. Sylvia Sham, Maya Angelou, Caitlin Moran, and Beyonce.