Creative Connections

Creative Connections - Session 13

Topic: Balancing responsibility and innovation in volatile times

Date: 8 May 2020

Time: 11 am

Location of guest panelist: Ananth Gopal - Gunai, Kurnai

Location of host: Frances Robinson - Eora, Gadigal, (Sydney)

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Guest panelists:

Ananth Gopal Director and Facilitator, Polykala & Polykala: Ananth Gopal is the lead facilitator of Australia Council's Future Leaders program. He is a Harvard-trained facilitator, actor and geographer. He’s an associate artist with Melbourne Playback Theatre Company and teaches cultural geography at the Universities of Melbourne and Wollongong. 

Tom HendersonDirector & Facilitator, Polykala & Polykala: Tom Henderson is a specialist facilitator with experience working in a range of complex social and cultural environments. He helped facilitate the extensive public consultations of the regional forestry agreements (RFAs) in Victoria.

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About this episode

What forms of formal and informal authority do we have in our contexts? How do we feel about providing strong guidance, clear communication and directives? Who's going to be hurting most in your sphere — what plans do we have in place to mitigate harm, reassure them or at least acknowledge their hardship?

In volatile, uncertain and complex times we need to think adaptively. The first step requires distinguishing between leadership and authority and defining each as distinct but complementary functions.

We all have a set of responsibilities that we need to uphold (authority). At the same time, volatility and uncertainty present opportunities to innovate (enact leadership). Balancing these is like a dance of push and pull forces.

Join Ananth and Tom from Polykala as they explore the balance and boundaries between authority and leadership.

About the series

Creative Connections is an online webinar series for the cultural and arts sectors and will offer practical, accessible and useful content delivered by industry experts on key topics and emerging themes.

The series is focused around the theme of adaptation, and sessions will explore digital adaptation, leadership adaptation and arts practice adaptation. Sessions will be facilitated by experts in specific topic areas, with over thirty sessions available.

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For questions about the series, please contact the Capacity Building team at

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