Reflections from the Spring Festival


On a glorious day in late May, 80 risk-taking, resilient, and purposeful primary care leaders gathered at Tate Modern for the NHS Collaborate Spring Festival: The Art of Possible with little idea of what the day ahead would hold.

Exploring leadership qualities through the prism of art proved a powerful force in opening minds to the possible, even in times of exceptional  challenge. The ultimate aim of NHS Collaborate, a community of practice to support leaders in primary care, is to support leaders through listening and connection so that no leader feels alone. To spend time drumming in unison, understanding the role of art in positive disruption, and exploring leadership through Shakespearean characters enabled people to connect and share stories at a very human level.

Thoughts from the day:

“On fire! Ready to take action, inspired”

“I adored the way both art and theatre connected into leadership in a way that I hadn’t anticipated….”

“The day was amazing, exciting and inspiring, and I left feeling that I could ‘just do ‘ things – I can bring that back with me to my interactions with colleagues and my community. Look forward to meeting up again.”

“The beauty of this event was its format: ‘unique, bespoke, not done before. And definitely not sitting around being lectured to followed by questions’. This uniqueness made it challenging and rewarding at the same time and it would definitely make me want to attend the next one.”

“Seeing the living communities work and having a lightbulb moment about the reality of what we do to gather patient feedback”

“It is so amazing that someone somewhere went with NHS Collaborate’s idea to find and nurture future inspirational leaders. This is absolutely how the NHS could turn itself around. Thank you.”

“Thank you for legitimising risk taking and being bold. The whole structure of the day was a risk and totally “out there” for a group of medics/scientists and has set the tone that we need to step up and just have a go as best we can.”

“Could this style of gathering signal the end of the endless, dreary, death by powerpoint conferences? We can only hope!”

Despite its unusual format, this was a purposeful day enabling leaders to explore and experience the ‘raw ingredients’ of leadership identified throughout the Collaborate Connect gatherings that had taken place over the early part of this year: risk taking (Surrealists), resilience (Dadaists), purpose (Renaissance artists), listening (digital artists), vulnerability (Romantics). It was a day that deflected negativity, and allowed for quiet time on the South Bank, sharing and capturing stories on video. The energy and tangible sense of forward-velocity expressed at the end of the day continues through the Festival WhatsApp group. If you were unable to come to the Festival, but would like to keep connected  with those who went, please text the Collaborate phone 07725 555030 with your name and number.