I’m a crazy risk taker and lover of life, and simply follow my heart. I’m addicted to travel, people, creativity and change. I started my career as an arts marketer with a British Asian theatre company in London, and went on to work in a range of arts organisations programming events, producing education and outreach projects across all art forms, working in dance development and supporting all sorts or arts organisations to promote themselves. I love arts and culture and have worked in a number of countries in Europe, Asia and in Australia. Following a career break to travel around the world I returned to academia to read for an MSc in Gender and International Relations. My career interests have evolved into arts activism projects and initiatives that want to encourage social, environmental and political change.
Tell us about any current projects
I am currently in England working on a number of things, from developing my writing for a range of online news publications about arts, travel and society. In May I returned from a 6-month trip to India researching the creative industries there. I am working with a small team to produce a village experience arts project in Jaipur in 2016. I am also looking for sponsors and partners to fund similar trips I intend to make in other countries. Africa is the next continent I want to explore for its vibrant fashion, music and diversity in both its urban and rural areas. I’m working with a charity in England called One World UK to promote themselves, that supports South East Asian women living in Shropshire who may be isolated or in need of support, as they are often excluded from mainstream society. I’m always on the lookout for new projects and partnerships.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
I would not call myself successful just yet, I am barely half way up the mountain with what I’d like to achieve in life. But some of the challenges I have faced so far include some self doubt, imposter syndrome, and some lack of confidence that did not exist until my 30s, once I became less naïve about the world and more aware of inequalities, racism and sexism. Stepping out of the 9-5 and taking a career break is very risky, and trying to settle back into a routine and creative scene you left behind is not easy at all, and pushed me to the back of the queue in the job market.
There are so many opportunities out there to volunteer for if you want to make a difference that are great, as I have done, but if you’re not careful you may be left feeling undervalued, exploited and out of pocket. I often felt out of place in some of my jobs and during my time at university, coming from a working class family, was not always able to relate to others culturally or economically. However all of these challenges have a positive twist and made me the woman I am today, enabling me to relate to and work with a wide range of people, giving me a variety of lenses to see the world through.
What has been your greatest achievement personally?
Staying true to my values and to myself, and building a beautiful network of family and friends around myself all over the planet.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
Living and working in two different continents producing arts and social change projects, (I get bored in one place and am more effective when on the move) whilst making regular research trips to different countries to unveil art activism and links between creativity and social/global change around the world. I would love to report on these through print or broadcast journalism.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Many artists inspire me, and I have met so many through my work so far. I appreciate big picture thinking and conceptual works, artistic endeavours that weave through different disciplines and mediums. But above all it is those people who follow their passion at any cost and are willing to take risks, they are the ones that truly impress me. Anyone that has worked hard, did not have everything handed to them on a plate, was not born into success, is self-made and not scared of change to make their dreams come true. All of these people continue to inspire me. On other days it might just be feeling the sun on my body, hearing a child’s laughter, seeing the inner beauty in someone, kindness of the human spirit…stepping down off a train or aeroplane into a new city…colours, shapes and patterns in nature or architecture…faces…
What does the future hold for you?
Love and happiness I hope. I would like to be working on cross-cultural projects, particularly those that make a difference on a social or environmental level, improving the human security of people. I want to continue travelling and sharing what I learn about different cultures and societies with the world.
About Harpreet Kaur
Harpreet Kaur is an arts manager with over 13 years of international experience in project and events management and marketing across the performing and visual arts in England, Austria, Portugal, China, India and Australia. With expertise in Gender and International Relations, Harpreet is also an advocate for cultural diplomacy and continues to work internationally on initiatives that celebrate culture, with the intention to create social and political change within and between nations. Harpreet has a particular interest in world music, contemporary dance, street and urban art, photography, physical theatre and above all culturally diverse arts. She is a British Asian fluent in Punjabi, and can speak Hindi. Harpreet is also a writer on topics ranging from travel, culture and society, she regularly blogs as well as being featured in Arts Professional Magazine and Huffington Post.
This article was provided by WeAreTheCity Delhi Committee Member, Ashish Bhardwaj.