Not long ago, we introduced one of the first recruits to our new team: our Finance Officer, Amsel von Spreckelsen. It’s now time to introduce the next new recruit, our brand new Communications Manager, Ranjit. And if her blog inspires you to want to work alongside her, you’ve still time to apply to be our Communications Officer as the deadline isn’t until 20 Dec 2021!
Hello, my name’s Ranjit Kaur Atwal some of you may know me as I’ve worked in the creative industries for 20 years now (eek!). Some of you may have seen me in an audience or sat next to me in a theatre, but for many of you we are meeting for the first time. As I join the Unlimited team in the role of Communications Manager, I look forward to getting to know you.
I’m an independent communications and marketing consultant, mentor, and facilitator. This means I work with people and organisations to create the space for critical thinking and listening to work on aligning purpose and values across all areas of work. My work is underpinned by doing better; better at reaching out to communities, better at having conversations, better at storytelling, better at discovering new ways of working, better at supporting diverse talent, better at showing up and taking action to build equitable spaces.
People are natural storytellers, looking for connection and communities. I’m no different. I’m really looking forward to listening to our artists, allies, partners, investors, supporters, colleagues, and board on the platforms, spaces, and channels that Unlimited should occupy and the stories we can tell together to open up access and create change where everyone can feel themselves represented.
I’m not quite sure how I got to be doing this job in a sector that I didn’t know existed when I was growing up – indeed, neither did my careers advisor! Smethwick, Birmingham, where I was born and raised in the 80s, was thick with multiculturalism and Thatcherism. My school was pretty special to me, with my teachers as gatekeepers to the doors of creativity. My primary school Head of Music, Mr Farr, regularly let us sing our hearts out to the Neighbours and Home & Away (vital viewing for my generation) theme tunes in assemblies alongside the more traditional hymns. He even let us co-write an anthem on how great our school was!
Mrs Hendrickson introduced me to the magic of steelpans, sharing her West Indian heritage. I later embraced my own heritage with lunchtime Punjabi bhangra classes where I felt I could share my love of music and dancing with my friends. I loved drama, dance, writing for the school magazine, playing the viola badly, and letter writing for Amnesty International campaigns. I was expressing myself and my ideas; high on the creative flow and empowered to be who I wanted to be in a society that didn’t know how to deal with difference.
Why am I sharing this, you might be thinking? Well, when you’re from a marginalised, misunderstood, or minority group you learn fast that you are different, other, alien, and that people have preconceived ideas and narratives on your life and its direction. I had a Secondary School French teacher tell me that I wouldn’t go to university as I’d be having an arranged marriage. I subsequently disengaged in her classes and failed my French GCSE (Something I’m proud of alongside going to Uni and getting married at 40!).
What I now know is that not everyone gets the chances that I did to access creativity in safe spaces that have nurtured my secure sense of self. This is why I work in the creative sector today. As we move into 2022, there is still so much inequality and lack of progress in social justice, so Unlimited becoming an independent company with its trailblazing ambition has never been more timely and relevant. Unlimited already feels like home, even though it’s been a few weeks on the inside for me, thanks to the warm welcome I’ve received, the company’s inclusive work practices, incredible track record and ambition, and our aligned values. Watch this space…