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CAKE Mix 25: Exploring Diversity Connecting Creativity

Our Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) events returned after a short summer break. The 25th CAKE was held in partnership with Assist – a professional women’s network based in Tees Valley. Covering the theme “Exploring Diversity Connecting Creativity” a diverse range of speakers shared ideas on how to achieve diversity and inclusion on the workplace in everyday practice.

The mission of Assist is to support women in business through networking and mentoring, this focus on collaboration made the prefect recipe for CAKE 25. The event was hosted in the oldest building of Middlesbrough, MyPlace, this pre – Victorian building is now used for a wide variety of purposes as Community and Recreation Centre.

Here’s what happened on #FuseCAKE – the live-tweeted reflections of the Creative Fuse community.

Our first speaker was Ladan Cockshut, from Durham University. Ladan is a postdoctoral researcher and she has been supporting and delivering Creative Fuse activities in Durham. In her presentation, Ladan gave a comprehensive overview of her recent research which includes Gamification, asking whether games can be considered as a conduit of inclusivity and diversity in business practices.

Ladan drew attention to using principles of games as a method to enhance business practices and as a way to increase engagement. As well as this she explained how workshops have been used as different ways to aid in adult learning and skills development. Trying to build something together, Ladan outlined different aspects that are related to the game itself. Here, adults showed different capacities which required different levels and styles in teaching and learning.

Our next speaker was Julie Harrison, an active member of the Assist Network and supporter of the Big Bang Near Me programme, which aims to inspire the UK’s future scientists and engineers at a regional, local and school level. Seeking to celebrate and support science & engineering for young people, Julie spoke about learning diversity within the context of Nature and her own experience in STEM subjects, describing how Science and Engineering businesses – which are traditionally male dominated areas – are beginning to practice inclusivity.

Julie shared with us insightful and inspirational ways to nurture passion for learning, explaining diversity to young people and learning new skills as well as raising awareness of Nature.

Using the image of a tree, Julie explained the importance, and essentiality of diversity in nature, not only are there a diverse range of trees but they support many other lifeforms and in turn are supported by them, for example mushrooms and fungi provide a communication network between trees. This thought provoking discussion displayed how diversity should be essential to everything we do.

The third speaker was Folasade Sangowawa – Sade is a cultural awareness trainer, and helps businesses understand the benefits of, and how to achieve better inclusivity and integration. Her heartfelt presentation brought to the audience the power of cultural difference, which she’s trying to intertwine with community engagement.

The following Q&A session with all our speakers three speakers raised the issue that the creative sector needs to embrace and celebrate diversity. Hearing from the speakers, there was general agreement on the need to challenge unconscious bias and how moving and challenging perceptions can be key to having a more inclusive workforce.

CAKE ended celebrating National Poetry, and Dianne Casey, who read her poem “Diversity” leaving us with a hope and a sense of empowerment that we can broaden participation and increase diversity and inclusion.