We’ve got this.

Ethics public service and art

I’m really excited to be curating my first mixed media art exhibition exploring the theme of ethics in public life. We’ve never needed a debate like this more. What’s so compelling about the show is the creative connection between artists and public servants. It’s stretched thinking, created possibilities and shines a light on what’s still right and relevant about the principles of public life.

We’ve Got This – speaks to both the ability to hold firm and the sense that we’ve got all of this, the grit, mess and the challenges. Fantastic project to work on, great art and thinking, commissioned by the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives.

Here’s some more info and we’ll be sharing pics throughout next week.


Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty, Leadership – 25 years on from their inception, chief executives and artists collaborate to ask if the Nolan Principles are still a guiding light in public service today.

We’ve Got This: ethics, public service and art is an innovative mixed-media art exhibition that connects council chief executives with artists from across the country. 

The collaborative artworks are responses to the Nolan Principles – the 7 principles of public life first set out by Lord Nolan in 1995 and included in the Ministerial code to this day.

The seven principles apply to everyone who works in the public sector, from a front line social worker, to a chief executive or councillor to the Prime Minister himself. The project reimagines these principles, putting them in a contemporary context.

14 artists and chief executives have collaborated on the artworks, which range from reconstructed metal road signs by artist Richard Knight to ceramic coffee cups by Emma Buckmaster to a punk song by band Cockwomble. Following interviews with their assigned chief executives, the artists took inspiration from the principles to create innovative artworks.

Martin Swales, President Solace and Chief Executive, South Tyneside Council said, “This exhibition is stunning. Chief executives and artists have been collaborating to start a new debate about ethics and principles in local government. In these difficult times where ethics can seem opaque at best, a creative approach makes us engage and think in different ways. We’ve Got This – is about the heart of public service, it’s about why we do what we do.”

Merran McRae, Chief Executive of Wakefield Council said, “We need a creative conversation about Nolan, public service and what that means for us in these challenging times. It’s been fantastic to work with local artists on the project. As individuals and organisations, we need to be more creative, imagine the future, spot patterns, make the invisible visible.”

We’ve Got This takes a fresh look at ethics: re-inventing the Nolan principles in public life through a cutting-edge cross disciplinary art exhibition. The project aims to make sense of the challenging contemporary context, as well as celebrating the good stuff at the heart of public service.

The exhibition will be presented at the 2019 Solace Summit in Birmingham 16 – 18 October, with plans for it to tour in 2020. le 3 Ac

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