We decided to commit to hosting these Blackout days and open calls quarterly to ensure we always had a check-in point and an opportunity to hold ourselves to our account whilst giving our community the chance to do so too. We locked in and published quarterly dates for the next two years immediately after the call.
This meant that projects we are working on had built-in deadlines for presenting progress, not just to ourselves, but to our engaged and supportive network.
This opportunity to receive constructive feedback from key stakeholders and respected individuals on our work is invaluable. Key partnerships and relationships have been made and efforts have been accelerated due to this initiative.
One particular example of how this forum has helped us take a project through from conception to launch, is a programme designed to help black women founders start successful and profitable businesses. The process of playing back ideas to the group and refining and developing the concept with input from experts and those with lived experience has left us with something we believe can have real impact.
We spend the mornings of Blackout Tuesdays making progress on our own internal projects such as ensuring our recruitment process is fair and equitable and setting targets for shortlisted candidates or developing a training programme for our founders to help them build inclusive organisations. We then have an open call in the afternoon where we discuss our ideas and ask for feedback, talk about issues on a broader societal level and offer the opportunity for black-run businesses, organisations or performers to share their work with a group where the potential for future collaboration is high.
Some topics of discussion we’ve had at events so far have been: Identity, Education & Social Mobility, Mental Health, COVID Vaccinations, Decolonising the Curriculum, New Organisations Supporting & Funding Black Founders.