“The world is changing around us, just as we are changing the world… Yet it is in times of great change that art provides its most vital function – it is the crucible in which the consciousness of tomorrow is formed, and always has been.” (Cooper & Dods, 2007, p.13)
I am excited about being in creative spaces where I can learn, grow and change with others. This passion has led me to work in the development of creative programmes where I can be considered an artist, an educator, a facilitator and a creative coordinator.
I have spent many years working in a community based arts programme with children, young people and adults; responding to interests within a community and looking for opportunities to stretch boundaries of experience, creativity and learning.
A theme that emerged again and again in the work that I would deliver in the local community, was the desire for connection and belonging. This need for a sense of belonging is expressed by Brene Brown;
“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” 
Over years I developed the opportunity for young people from Mayfield, Cork to collaborate in creative projects with young people from around the world, particularly from Central and South America; where we developed friendship with cultural organisations, also working with local communities. The exchanges were about collaboration and mutual exchange.
These international opportunities were for me and all those involved an opportunity to expand, connect and to extend a sense of belonging in the world, a sense of being a global citizen.
For me, moving to an understanding of global citizenship means broadening the definition of community from a sense of local belonging to a broader sense of belonging in the world. It broadens the realm of our responsibilities to a global level and considers the impact of our actions to this broader realm.
My understanding of being a global citizen involves the heart, head and hands. A global citizen feels a sense of belonging and responsibility to others with whom they share the planet. A global citizen uses their heart and mind to develop values and attitudes towards justice and equality and have an open, curious and questioning mind. They use their hands or take action towards creating a fairer world.
Over the last year I have taken time to reflect on my creative practices and the focus that I want to take in the future. I have been thinking about how I can grow as a global citizen and how I can open creative spaces for others to grow.
Below is a summary of some of the mindsets/ competences I believe are important.
Being able to make meaning in the inner and outer world, bringing ideas to forms of reality.
Being able to let go of inhibition and purpose, to, experiment and get into flow.
Being able to ‘see’ the unseen and imagine future possibilities.
Being curious, tuned-in and aware of self, others and the surrounding world, can see and perceive in creative and flexible ways.
Empathetic & Outrospective.
Being able to connect with others, step inside their shoes and to collaborate and embrace diversity.
Feeling alive and being able to respond and be ready to be part of change. Being able to connect head,(knowledge) heart (emotions) and hands (behaviours/actions).
Being hopeful and able to adapt to change.
Critical, big picture thinking
Being able to question frames of perception and underlying power relationships; having an ability to see the bigger picture, deal in systems and synthesize ideas.
Wise and ethical
Being able to use discernment and make responsible choices.
I believe that creative engagement can make a contribution to nurture all of these different mindsets and can support our young people and all of us to grow as global citizens.
 Browne, B. (2010) The Power of Vulnerability [online], Ted Talks, available: https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability [accessed 4 Jan 2014].
Jessica Carson is a freelance trainer, facilitator artist and consultant. Her experience spans work in the cultural sector, non-formal education and third level education, where she supports, develops, manages and delivers programmes. Her work reflects a strong belief in the transformative potential of creative engagement. Along with her colleague Nora Furlong, she coordinates a programme called Creativity and Change in CIT Crawford College of Art and Design. The programme includes an accredited level 8 Special Purpose Award, international youthwork training and regional training for youth workers. She is a trainer on the Leargas training network for the youth sector. She has also developed and managed projects and actions through this programme in seminars, exchanges and volunteering. Jessica maintains her practice as a visual artist and has carried out a number of international residencies.Jessica says: "Over the next few posts I am sharing my thought about the connection between creativity and global citizenship.The first post shares some of my journey in creativity that lead me to place importance on the theme of global citizenship. The next post is a personal reflection of my desires, values, and motivations in my work in creative engagement and an encouragement to others to reflect on their practice.In the third and fourth posts, I share learning and experience from a programme that I delivered with an international group of youth workers, who were exploring the connection between creativity, well-being and global citizenship."