Type of Fellowship: Specialist
Year of Fellowship: 2014
Esmee Fairbairn Foundation Fellow
How have the last few months been, Maria?
This quarter has been one of the best, for consolidating ideas, meeting movers and shakers from across different sectors on urban placemaking and green spaces. It was great getting to do some of this in New York, one of the cities where placemaking is acting as a hub for the convergence on environment, community development, business, inclusion, architecture and more. I met up with some place making founders, communities and brilliant urban entrepreneurs while I was there.
As usual the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation (Maria’s Specialist Fellowship funders) have been totally supportive of my work. We jointly ran a round table on ‘Placemaking: Environment and Green Space Funding’ and got some leading environmental funders around the table to share my research findings with.
What has been your greatest challenge? There are so many ways to understand the connections to the environment sector and the connections to place making. As with most things there are some are complex connections, but many are simple - all offer opportunities for system change and a form of modernity. No surprise then that the challenge (in a good way) is to tell the story clearly.
How has your leadership been having an impact on those you work with or for?
I think my research is having an impact on helping to understand how placemaking is a framework for thinking through the future of the environment and green spaces in a diverse urban and city context. And, the catalytic role funders can play in this. I'm also currently working with funders, investors, communities, progressive developers and academics about strategies and projects. Plus, based on some lovely conversations at a Clore recent residential, it looks like I've got some of my fellow Clore Social Fellows thinking about just how crucial place making is for the wider social sector.
In what way you are a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship?
I'm coming to terms with the fact that sometimes time out makes for a sharper more strategic mind.
Tell us about an important lesson you’ve learnt so far during the Fellowship.
Looking after your self is not soft. And ‘busy busy’ can really be counter productive.
How have your fellow Fellows been helping you on your leadership journey?
Where do I start? The last few months have been full of opportunities, offers of help, meetings of minds and plotting of plans with a whole posse of Fellows.
Personal website/ blog: www.mariaadebowale.com
Current principal role: Director
Current principal organisation: Living Space Project
Other leadership role 1: Patron and Matron
Other organisation 1: United Kingdom Environmental Law Association and Women Environment Network
Other leadership role 2: Board member
Other organisation 2: Shared Assets
Other leadership role 3: Board member
Other organisation 3: Trust for Conservation Volunteers
Research: The place factor: modernising the environmental sector and disrupting the way it is funded
Research topics: Charity; Community development; Environment; Governance; Private sector; Public sector; Social enterprise;
Secondment host: The Berkeley Group