It´s a wet Thursday evening, 6.30pm as a group of 12 young leaders gradually form at the entrance of the Barbican Centre. Everybody coming from a different direction of the massive complex, we very quickly make up a little ball of energy as we infuse one another with enthusiasm about the upcoming meeting, which is to launch the Sour Lemons pilot for good. I myself still feel enormous gratitude for being part of the first ever programme and for being surrounded by an abundance of extremely charismatic, passionate and inspiring future creative leaders. Sade decides to walk and talk us through bits of the Barbican labyrinth as we make our way to our final meeting point. Many of us have never been here before which at least I personally, regretted immediately as the centre represents perfection- who wouldn´t go to a place that contains all forms of arts as well as food and drink and lots and lots of cool atmosphere?! One of my most favourite pieces of theatre- The Encounter by Complicité- was performed right here and I have never even thought of popping in! But as it turn out later, we will definitely come here more often from now on because… well, because it´s part of the programme. Let me whip out my lovely, colour- coded two sided piece of paper to reveal at least a few things we´ve got planned for the next 6 months.

It starts with the weekly Thursday evening MASTERCLASSES! With truly inspiring and varied leaders from all backgrounds and professions you can imagine. Sade has not only arranged it so that each of us gets to have at least one masterclass on ´their´ filed of interest but she will also introduce us to the people who have brains for business. I believe this is super beneficial for anybody who wants to be a creative leader. Why? Because Money rules the world, hun. So whether you want to make lots of it or not, you still need to know how to manage it whatever amount you have available.

Right, 3 hours every week is great. But why not throw in the occasional BOOTCAMP? You know, to really REALLY learn. Here, we will have plenty of time to learn from, once again professionals in their own field, and then take as much time as we need to absorb this information throughout the whole day. Although, during our meeting we did get a bit greedy and actually, decided that for some bootcamps/on other occasions we might ask for professionals from all different kinds of backgrounds to come and share their wisdom. Just because we can… And because we want to know as much as possible, of course.

Next up are our numerous art events trips which, uhm uhm, they are free ladies and gentlemen, just like the whole of Sour Lemons programme. We get to see The Barbershop Chronicles for free. I did sort of wee myself with excitement when I realised this, and my bank account was certainly also banging his head on the ceiling.

I hate to be thrifty with words and paper when I write, which you have probably already noticed, but for the sake of the forests and clarity I shall sum up our MENTORS and NETWORKING DINNERS in one paragraph. Basically, each of us has a mentor for the duration of the programme and for 6 months after it ends. Sade chose them based on our aspirations and interest, and it will have to suffice when I say that every single one of them is perfect. Sorry for the cheesiness but, you know, in my world you don´t really just get stuff given to you. So to know that we will get to have guidance, advice and just, well… the opportunity to meet and talk to these people one on one is overwhelming. And, then just to make stuff better once a month we also get to have a meal with ALL the mentors and a few invited guests who will come to share their wisdom, discuss and eat with us. Something like a masterclass with lots of lovely food.

Finally, we get to create our own arts FINAL EVENT that we will present on the 19th of October to our invited guests. That will be challenging and exciting and sad at the same time as after that there is only about one month of the programme left. But I´m sure that after our final GRADUATION (November) we will be more ready than ever to take charge and be creative leaders. Because that´s who we wanna be, that´s who we are.

By Miska Groidlova