We have officially appointed two members of staff for our new Community Development Roles. Michael Bowdidge (also Street Arts coordinator) has been recruited as Community Development Lead for two days per week and Tiki Muir as Community Development Coordinator for three days per week.
The community Development roles link together a range of strands of our work focused around membership development and engagement. This includes: – Collaborative work on a local community-led regeneration project to create a Local Place Plan for Wester Hailes. – Community and membership conversations aligned with our upcoming community asset transfer – Growth and development of our membership, including introducing a young membership. – Furthering our work on co-production and nurturing new projects and volunteering opportunities locally, based on residents ideas and interests. – Building confidence locally so that people feel empowered to take leadership roles in developing new activities and opportunities with and for the residents of Wester Hailes.
Together, Michael and Tiki will develop a new programme of creative activities and services for WHALE members to take place at WHALE and across the local area. This will support members to improve wellbeing, economic prospects and the physical environment. They will also encourage WHALE members to participate in the conversations around our Asset Transfer (our plan to buy the land underneath WHALE Arts from the local authority.) Additionally, they will be responsible for the creation of a Membership Engagement Plan in order to recruit new members and to support, evaluate and report on their participation and involvement in a wide range of activities.
Michael and Tiki will also do important work with local people on projects based on their ideas, responding to local need in a way that is not linked to specific or pre-defined outputs. They will also work with Wester Hailes Community Trust and other local partners and consultants on local engagement for an upcoming Local Place Plan for Wester Hailes.
Michael Bowdidge is an artist, researcher and educator who has been working in a variety of different roles at WHALE Arts since 2009. After being initially employed as one of our Street Arts artists, Michael went on to work with the Westburn CAN project as one of the three commissioned artists who made work in and for the community garden. He then began running our Street Arts outreach project in 2017 and co-led our recently completed Creative Placemaking Project with Rebecca Green. Michael also works in a variety of other creative, cultural and academic contexts and really enjoys doing so, as he feels that the insights gained whilst working in one sector are usually directly applicable to others.
Michael is unfortunately a lifelong West Ham United supporter, but in his favour he does have a lovely rescue dog called Amber. He lives with his family just outside Glasgow.
Tiki Muir became interested in collaborative and collective working after studying Fine Art at Edinburgh College of Art. She returned to Edinburgh in 2020 after living in New Zealand where she worked at The Shift Foundation, a charitable trust working to improve young women’s wellbeing. There Tiki created a youth-led podcast called The Conversation Collective.
Tiki is also a volunteer at the WHALE Arts community garden and the SCOREscotland community fridge. She loves reading, eating tasty food, learning how to grow things, and spending time outdoors. Most of all, Tiki can’t wait to get out of lockdown so that she can start meeting new people and building connections with the Wester Hailes community.
We wish them both the very best of luck with their new roles!