The Art of Living Dangerously

The Art of Living Dangerously is a new platform whose purpose is to help creative people achieve more sustainable livelihoods.

This feels an urgent task given the profound disruption we are experiencing. Climate change, resource depletion and growing inequality are some of its more visible signs, but the number of people who are trying to earn a living in an environment of increasing unpredictability and insecurity is less visible, increasing in size and range and spanning no end of occupations – including those in arts, culture and creativity.

If you are one of those experiencing this growing ‘precarity’ and are:

  • striving to help make the cultural ecology where you live and work thrive
  • seeking to strengthen your capacity to work in ways that will unleash even more of your creativity toward realising your vision and your goals
  • searching for new ways of capitalising on all your different assets

Then welcome to this community! Join us in finding new ways to work, risk and live so that we can build a more sustainable world for ourselves and for others.

We call this The Art of Living Dangerously!

Developed as a result of Fleet Collective’s first learning programme in 2014/2015. You can read up about what we did in the archives below:

Content for the programme was informed by the findings of Fleet’s recent ‘open dialogue’ project “Enquire Within About Everything” which you can read about here: and all the work that Mission Models and Money has been doing around the issue of overextension and undercapitalisation over the last 10 years which you can read about here.

Running over 6 day-long sessions from November 2014 to November 2015, Fleet offered a learning programme which combined “doing” with “dreaming”. We first concentrated on sharing great skills that participants would find useful for the stuff that really bugged them now and then we moved on to looking at how we could all be part of a conversation that would help improve our collective future in Dundee.

Session One, 19/12/2014

The Art of Living Dangerously programme launched on the 24th November 2014 and below you can read the feedback from the sessions together with Diane and Russell’s talks:

Diane’s Talk

Russell’s Talk

Session Feedback

Session Two, 18/02/2015

The second session was held on Wednesday February the 18th in Dundee at WASPS. It focused on a deeper dive into articulating our values in the morning followed by a session in the afternoon which focused on asset identification and development using the following questions:

• What assets do you hold?
• How have they been created?
• What are the characteristics of those assets?
• What are the challenges associated with those assets?
• What actions could you take to monetise/leverage each of those assets further?
• Are those actions aligned with your values?
• Does your current legal structure help or hinder your capacity to capitalise on those assets?
• Does your current operational structure help of hinder your capacity to capitalise on those assets?

We prepared some background materials for the day:

MMM Asset Categories

John Hagel on Finite and Infinite Games

Sian Prime from Goldsmiths College on Alternative Financial Modelling and the need for all of us working with arts & culture to ‘return to our boldness’: video

Rachel Sinha from the Finance Innovation Lab sharing her insights on the design principles that they use to incubate and accelerate new forms of prosperity for people and planet: video

Below you can read the presentations made by Rich Hawkins of PIRC and Clare Cooper and Donna Holford-Lovell and you can view the feedback pages from the interactive sessions:

Rich’s morning presentation: Common Cause

The Common Cause Handbook

This is Water full speech: text & audio

Framing worksheet: Framing analysis

Donna and Clare’s presentation: Presentation

Exercise Feedback Pages: Exercise Feedback


Session Three, 20/o5/2015

The third session was held on Wednesday 20th May in the Vision building in Dundee. It focused on beginning to design what we are currently calling a personal ‘alternative balance sheet’. A new way of expressing the value of the intangible and tangible assets we hold as individual, cultural and creative practitioners and the impact each of them has on our stakeholders.  The day was facilitated by Hazel White and Mike Press (open change) and you can look at the structure for the day in their slide deck below.

Alternative Balance

The programme is being designed and delivered by Clare Cooper and Donna Holford Lovell from Fleet Collective, Dundee with input from Russell Willis Taylor, President and Chief Executive of National Arts Strategies in America:  and Diane Ragsdale, cultural economist and author of the influential arts journal blog.  The programme is being financially supported by The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and The Foyle Foundation It is the first of what will be a regular learning programme offered by Fleet Collective which will aim to help Dundee’s arts and cultural ecology grow and thrive.