We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Kirstin McLean has joined A Moment's Peace as our new Artistic Director.
We spoke to her at the beginning of her journey with us and think the reasons we chose her from a very competitive recruitment process shine out in her words below. Read on to find out all about Kirstin - her background, passion, values and amazing experience in participatory arts. We are so looking forward to working with her and can't wait to hear her ideas for the company moving into the future!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work background
I have worked freelance in theatre and film for 21 years - initially as an actor who did a bit of directing on the side and over the years, directing and participatory arts have become my passion. That’s where my focus has been for the last five years or so.
I have worked in many contexts, from primary schools on the Isle of Barra, to secondary schools in Southern Sweden; from multi-generational community groups in Glasgow’s southside to youth theatres all across Scotland - as well as directing professional actors at various theatres in Glasgow. From 2010 to 2019 I worked as a counsellor and latterly as a supervisor at Childline. Justice and equality have been common themes in my work, and earlier this year, I joined a team of performance professionals in Scotland who are establishing a new, member-led, trade union for our industry in Scotland.
What made you want to apply for the role of Artistic Director?
When I saw that AMP was looking for a new AD, I was immediately interested. I have long been a big fan of the organisation because the work it produces is always exciting and challenging. I know from working occasionally as a freelancer with AMP that the rehearsal process carries just as much value as the final product and this has always been a key belief of mine too – that when set up in the right way, the rehearsal room or workshop is a place where groups form strong bonds and grow a real sense of ownership of and immersion in the work they’re creating. I share AMP’s conviction that the journey belongs to the participants and that they are the experts in their own storytelling.
And on a very personal note, having been a freelancer for almost 20 years, I’ve felt like a bit of a lone wolf a lot of the time. I’ve become good at creating temporary communities quickly, but they always came to an end quickly too. So I’m ready to embed myself a bit more long-term into an organisation, so that I can support artists and participants on a longer stretch of their journey. And following on from that, AMP is looking at how it supports community participants to develop their own practice beyond our projects – something I am really keen to develop.
How does this job align with your skillset, values and creative goals?
I believe that no matter the group, we can always make something of quality. That means critical thinking, exploring artistic forms, challenging ourselves and insisting on high production values. AMP’s track record in this is exemplary.
I am a Nichiren Buddhist, and treasuring each person is a tenet of my practice. As I’ve gone along, I’ve become more sensitive to what that means in terms of widening participation and as a director and facilitator I want to continue AMPs brilliant work in really listening to individual artists and participants and tailoring our work accordingly. Everyone should be able to participate in a way that feels valuable and meaningful.
The collaborative model is how I work – with deep respect for participants and their experiences and stories. I share the belief that difference of opinion in the room is respected and welcome but that we can always find commonality too.
And finally.....What are three things you're most proud of in your life so far?
Becoming a mum to my two daughters and learning from my mistakes as I try to keep them healthy, safe, compassionate and brave.
Taking up Buddhist practice and using it daily to navigate unexpected challenges.
Devising what I believe is the perfect recipe for vegan spaghetti bolognese.
Thanks to Kirstin for speaking to us and watch out for part two of her interview next week! Welcome to the team!