Introducing Lucy Kenward, new Head of Operations to Acies Cleaning Team and artist extraordinaire.
Hello Lucy, so you studied a degree in fine art, is it fair to say art was your first love? And what sort of art did you specialise in?
I love all corners of art, my degree was in conceptual art but really my first love is craft. Making things and using my imagination to create stuff, I can't remember a time when that hasn't been a part of my life. Conceptual art is interesting, that was all about linking ideas together and making them as strong as the execution. Creative thinking and creative expression were interesting things to try and wrap my head round and learn more about.
Who are the artists that inspire you?
There’s a tonne, if I could pick one, my first choice is always going to be Grayson Perry, he is a massive advocate for craft. In the art world there's a massive jump between craft and fine art. The later is seen as something you need a degree for. There’s a lot of elitism in that area and he manages to bridge the gap, he’s a crafts person himself, he is able to talk about art in a way that is intelligent and accessible. He eliminates all the art school terminology, you don't have to have gone to art school to understand what he’s saying. He’s also self deprecating, which I love and his work has such a british sense of humour.
Where do you channel your creative energy?
I think I'm naturally a very energetic person, I have a big capacity to do stuff and get stuff done, I don't have days when I’m not creative. Stuff like problem solving at work is creative, cooking a meal is creative, having a conversation with friends about books, films and music is all creative discussion. Doing creative things doesn't just mean painting. It applies to a wide range of activities, things that stretch you out of your comfort zone.
So you’ve been recently recruited as George Buko’s partner in crime - how’s it going?
It's going really well, i’m learning loads, I haven't had experience in the cleaning industry before, I came in with a lot of preconceptions about what it would be like, i’m always happy when I have a preconception of something and I’m proven wrong. It’s people, I love people, humans have the capacity to surprise you and the industry is a lot more technical, scientific and complex than I ever imagined it would be. The people involved are an amazing bunch of who I really enjoy working with.
I overheard you interviewing a potential member of staff and your interview technique is quite casual and friendly and personal - it seems Acies really care about who they employ?
Yes, that all comes from George, the reason I took this position goes back to George's philosophy, it's his personal values that form the foundation of the business. When I’m recruiting it's about people that will be inspired by those values. I love talking to people and putting people at ease, you always get more authentic answers that way.
How does your new role compare to your other past jobs?
It’s all transferable, all my roles have involved working within a team and with unique individuals, I used to manage artists in an art gallery so they've all been useful experiences. I guess I’ve learnt that you can’t predict people, the best you can do is plan and hope for the best!
You have found a good spot on floor 5, what has drawn you there?
The Natural light and sitting in a corner is a really good spot to occasionally do some people watching.
You are already a pretty established member of the community, you seem to chat to everyone, do you enjoy working in an open plan sociable space?
Yes, yes, yes! I spent a few years doing freelance work working from home, I ended up becoming really good friends with my postman! I couldn't wait to have a conversation with another human! We are first name terms now, we’re going to go running together. PLATF9RM is a god send, it's lovely being surrounded by so many people and there’s a like minded attitude everyone understands that they need time to work but also be around people and be inspired. The atmosphere attracts people that want to get something out of it.
Did you attend our christmas social?
Unfortuantely not, I was back home for Christmas. It’s my first new years resolution to come to a social, so January I’m down!
If you want to be a member at our space, get in touch for a tour and trial.