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The SELFestival Continues to Inspire!


19 July


Reflections Day 7

This morning we were joined by Sarah Drummond who shared her experience of co-founding Snook then leading it to scale and it becoming an award-winning service design agency and moving into a new career as a film-maker. Throughout the conversation, Sarah’s commitment to creating people-focused change shone through along with a sense of placing communities at the heart of her work. She shared her feelings of loss and grief when she learnt about Section 28 at the age of 30 and how this has inspired her to create a film archiving its impact.  Themes of connecting, collaborating, creativity and inclusion were apparent throughout her conversation and we were left feeling inspired by her optimism and fueled by her activism.  


In the afternoon we had a provocative conversation led by Sara Flay, CEO of the Ani Group. Sara delighted us with discussion of how getting to know herself and owning who she is as a business owner, CEO and now co-founder of an agency has led to a self-awareness and self-belief she previously never thought possible. Sara also discussed her diagnosis and the ways in which systems are not built for helping communities persevere. She spoke at length about how some people might not even have access to perseverance, and how it is the responsibility of those with access to be disruptors and barrier breakers, making the world accessible for everyone.  


In the early evening we welcomed John Newbigin to discuss the creative potential of our High Streets with the London Borough of Culture and his experiences globally and locally of the positive impacts of creativity. A traversed storyteller, John used the stories that his work has taken him to, giving insights in to  some of the histories of communities and  spaces. Under the view of the Borough of Culture, he spoke of how place is something to be celebrated. He spoke of young people taking ownership and creating podcasts about the truth of COVID for their area. In another tale, he spoke of how to give a town a makeover, and how it is so important to look at things differently.  The summaries were to remember that new perspectives and finding the gems or the assets of the community are the keys to rejuvenating our neighbourhoods.  To use ambition, creativity and  ideas of reinvigoration to think and build long term, to set up the future for the next generation. We were finally reminded that with the climate crisis we need to think and  work differently, to make sure there is a change. That there is such potential – we need to push and  collaborate to ensure it is reached. 




Rosie Neave

Coming up tomorrow, we have Goldsmiths alumna Rosie Neave at 11am who will be sharing some of her research into nature connection and how it can support both women and the planet.  Rosie is the founder of the Vertelle Nature Project which empowers women through fostering a deeper connection to nature. Rosie works across a range of disciplines, working at the intersection of art, photography and the written word. She has developed nature-focused workshops which bring women together and inspire creativity and she has used both social media and journaling to further engage women. Her work creates environments that encourage social connection and reflection. Rosie aims to support wellbeing whilst fostering a sense of responsibility towards the world around us. This will be an interactive session. 




Gillian Easson

Following Rosie, in the afternoon we will speak to Gillian Easson who will discuss creating a culture where equality, diversity and inclusion are central in a city. Gillian is Director of Creative Dundee, an organisation which believes culture and creativity are essential catalysts for positive change. A creative network which amplifies and connects creativity locally, Gillian has grown Creative Dundee from the ground up, since co-founding it as a blog, by catalysing opportunities for people and their place. With a background in design and innovation, she has used this to improve access routes to education, employment and enterprise. Gillian is a fan of complexity, messiness; and embracing open and collective ways of working, to find the ultimate murmuration. 


As always, tickets are free to access and can be reserved via the links below: 


11am: Using Pathways to Nature to Create Motivation & Resilience with Rosie Neave  

2pm: Creativity and Connecting: Creating a Culture where Equality, Diversity and Inclusion are Central in a City with Gillian Easson 






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