Arts for Policy Making – conclusions by Venu Dhupa

What role should the arts and creative sectors and people active within them have in creating our future? Creative and Inclusive Finland organised a seminar called Arts for Policy Making in Helsinki, Finland, on December 11, 2017. The seminar consisted of a keynote speech by Venu Dhupa, commentary by Jyrki Kangas and three workshops.

From the fruitful discussions of the afternoon, Venu Dhupa drew eight conclusions in the form of notions, declarations or questions:

1. We should not think of leaders that need to fit a 'Platonic' ideal.  Leadership is about context. This is why judgement is so important.

2. We need to think about our education system and the experienes we are offering our students: thought Labs, interdisciplinary projects? Our current systems are based on a bit of an outdated perception of creativity.

3. Our best and brightest need to put themselves into other sectors and propagate creativity outside their comfort zone.

4. Is our arts / creative education system preparing us for a different kind of world? Or to work in different country contexts?

5. Arts should be integral.

6. We need to think about teaching people how to sell ideas rather than only having them. Many good ideas don't make it, because they are not sold well – we need to teach the '10 words or less' test.

7. How can we change things? Bottom up or Top down. The discussion group thought top down, but probably both are important.

8. Creativity is not by attendance it is by attainment.  This means that if you put 100 children through a creativity programme it doesnt mean they will all come out creative.  It is not about them going on the programme, but what each child might take away from it.  The quality of reflection and application is important.


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Venu Dhupa is a world-renowned speaker, lecturer and consultant, who has lead and executed a number of ambitious and successful programs dedicated to furthering holistic thinking and the role of leadership, arts / cultural knowledge within different sectors of our societies. She is director, VSDB Consultancy, Visiting Professor at School of Art and Design and Nottingham Trent University. She’s been Director Arts for the British Council, Creative Scotland as Director of Creative Development. Fellowships include Director at NESTA, the UKs National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts where she managed a portfolio value of £13million; She was appointed as the inaugural Chair of the East Midlands Cultural Consortium by the Secretary of State at the DCMS.

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