Skip to main content
Commsy creative stuff straight to your inbox


Knowledge is empowerment

< Blog home

Knowledge is empowerment

Lessons and learnings from a master’s degree in Global Cultures, and a few quick wins too… Green and purple head illustration with 'My studies have strengthened my knowledge of transnational equity, diversity and inclusion work.'

The pub up the road, trains, airports, my desk, my sofa (on Sundays), Bristol Library, my parent’s house, café window seats, any window seat for that matter… 

Over the last 18 months, these spaces have become my study spots as I work towards completing a master’s degree in Global Cultures. 

My learning experience so far has been both empowering and challenging. My studies have strengthened my knowledge of transnational equity, diversity and inclusion work – something I’ve been passionate about since working with UN Women UK and Shared Lives, and for the last three years, the fabulous folk at Alive.


Diversity and Inclusion in Practice Green and purple speech bubble illustration with 'What is the purpose of developing expert understandings of human cultures if we cannot communicate their significance, interest, and value effectively, to key audiences.'

In this module, we explored and analysed the language used in policies and initiatives across various contexts and industries. We examined how interventions like unconscious bias training fall short when it comes to systemic inequality and individual accountability. Through an intersectional lens, we gained expertise on the dynamics of knowledge, power, and discrimination and applied this to real-life case studies. 

It’s so rewarding to share this insight with our wonderful clients. This module in particular helped me to develop and deliver these inspired about inclusion workshops!


Communicating global cultures Green and purple jigsaw piece illustration with 'Expand your network by following and connecting with leaders, bloggers and consultants working across different countries and cultures.'

What is the purpose of developing expert understandings of human cultures if we cannot communicate their significance, interest, and value effectively, to key audiences like colleagues, leaders, the government, and other key stakeholders? Here we learned about the digital realm of global cultures and engaged in key debates about accessibility, written and visual discourses, assumptions and accommodations, inclusion and exclusion, geographical and linguistic divides, and inclusive curation.

From tackling microaggressions in the workplace and introducing global inclusion and belonging programmes, to creating demographic data collection campaigns, I love applying my studies to the work we’re doing at Alive, every day. 


Gender and Globalisation: Transhistorical and Transcultural Approaches

Gender studies and queer studies are my jam. We studied gender and globalisation through historical perspectives of imperialism and colonialism as well as contemporary pop culture and creative industries. We explored diverse cultural case studies, discussing themes like gender ideologies, gendered violence, and politics. We looked at how gender and sexuality intersect with various social categories such as race, class, disability, and sexual orientation in every day online transnational contexts.

I put my passion for music into action for this module and crafted a visual essay about the extent to which contemporary women pop artists creatively use their platforms to champion intersectional fourth-wave feminism and call into question gendered, racial and ethnic stereotypes. 

From Race and Ethnicity in a Global Context to Creative Leadership, each module offers something new for me to bring to my approach to comms projects and campaigns. 

If you want to build knowledge and confidence, ask challenging questions and make a positive difference too, here are some quick wins to empower you:

Green and purple circle with arrows illustration with 'When it comes to EDI, there’s always more work to be done.'

  • Listen to, read and watch the experts. Here’s my recommended list of powerful podcasts, brilliant books and valuable videos to get you inspired about inclusion.  
  • Assess your surroundings and take action to ensure easy access for people with different kinds of bodies, mobility, assistive devices and ways of thinking. Carefully consider your events and ask colleagues what they need – this accessible exhibitions guide has a great checklist! 
  • Expand your network by following and connecting with leaders, bloggers and consultants working across different countries and cultures. Through my course, I get to connect with and listen to people from across the globe and it’s so helpful to learn about their life experiences, ways of working and thoughts on how we can create fairer, kinder, more equitable workplaces, societies and nations. 
  • Read your organisation’s EDI policy and ask yourself if it’s communicating an honest picture. Use this blog post about Sara Ahmed to get comfortable with uncomfortable questions and reduce the gap between saying and doing. 
  • Have a chat with us! Whether you’re looking for support in building and bringing your EDI strategy to life, or simply need someone to bounce ideas off, please get in touch.

In six months, the pub will be the pub again and window seats will be for day dreaming, because I’ll have completed my master’s degree in Global Cultures. But that doesn’t mean the learning stops – when it comes to EDI, there’s always more work to be done.

By Lauren Castle for Alive!

“I feel like they own and care for the project as much as we do! I would not use anyone else for my creative work and think Alive is ahead of the game.”

Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

“Thanks for all your help. We are delighted with the campaign, both in terms of the creativity and messaging but also the thought taken over the rollout of the materials. All looks absolutely fabulous!”

Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

“We went to ‘Alive’ for ideas on how to run a specific employee program in Europe. Alan and his team were brilliant in coming up with fresh, creative and practical approaches. The team took charge and executed brilliantly. We are pleased with the progress made so far and hope to have the same level of partnership and commitment going forward.”

Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

“Alive helped us create a video of our response to the floods of winter 2019. Our Chief Officer received messages from all round the country praising us for it and was really pleased with both the video and the response to it.”

Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“We had the privilege to work with the Alive team. It was our first time to be involved in creating an animation for our patients within paediatrics. The team were approachable, friendly, creative and very accommodating. Your vision for what you want to create, is at all times acknowledged, appreciated and accommodated by the team. They worked effectively and with great passion towards our project and worked not only alongside health professionals but also our patients who really enjoyed the experience of working with the Alive team. It has given our team the confidence and inspiration to do further projects in the future. We highly recommend Alive and their exceptional team.”

DR ELENI ATHANASAKOS, Lead Paediatric Clinical Scientist — NHS Barts Health

“‘The short animation developed in co-production with clinicians and young people is outstanding! Informative, developmentally appropriate, vitally fun and engaging. We are really grateful for the expertise of the Alive with Ideas team for their innovative approach in building children’s health literacy.'”

Kath Evans — Director of Children’s Nursing at Barts Health

“Our mission was to update our brand visuals to better reflect our innovative and forward-thinking organisation. After receiving numerous pitches from different branding agencies, Alive stood out with their clear passion and understanding of our identity and goals. We thoroughly enjoyed working with the Alive Team to create an engaging new brand that we are immensely proud of.”

Lianne Springer — Communications and Engagement Lead

“Alive wowed us during the pitch process and they didn’t stop wowing us throughout the whole project. Every person we worked with at Alive were so friendly, knowledgeable and clearly passionate about what they do. They have worked with us to really understand what we do and have created a new brand and website that really stands out from our competitors. Thank you!”

Louise Burnard, Head of Marketing and Communications UK — Be | Shaping the Future

“I think the team have done such a brilliant job, particularly with responding to our requests. It's one of the best mental health videos I've ever seen. Very proud to be associated with your exemplary work. Thank you so much.”

Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

“We have worked with Alan, Caroline and the wider Alive With Ideas team for many years. In that time, they have provided a dedicated service that is second to none. We appreciate their attention to detail and creative approach to bringing our brand, communications and stories to life. And would recommend them to anyone looking for creative communications support.”

Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

“This is brilliant. I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the team who worked on this. You all understood exactly what we wanted to communicate and why, and then managed to do it in a way that was far better than anything I could have imagined. I’m a bit choked up to be honest!”

Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

“Each time I work with the team, I am always stunned at the effort and creativity that goes into each detail and am always eager for the end result. The team is extremely accommodating and always provide a fresh approach to our projects that elevates our communications materials!”

Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

“What I really appreciate about Alive is that they work with us as partners, and care as much about getting it right for our patients as we do.”

Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

“Alive are unique in how much they deeply listen and invest in you and your ideas. I have not come across a company that listens as much as they do to ensure your needs are understood and met (actually - they always exceed my needs and expectations). Everyone I recommend Alive to has an equally brilliant experience. When you work with Alive, you are not only getting some genius creativity brought into your life, you are also hanging out with some of the best examples of human beings I’ve ever known.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist —

“The (Alive) team were able to creatively pull together and document (in just over 2minutes) everything our service has achieved over the last few months, from thousands of prescriptions deliveries to hundreds of phone calls made to the vulnerable. The final product was so powerful and reflective of what our service has and continues to achieve. It couldn’t have been better received within the service – thanks Alive for once again helping us to communicate our vision!’”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

“If you are looking to improve creativity and build teamwork, I highly recommend a session like this for your team. No matter where you are in your creativity journey, a workshop like this can give your team a boost of energy and ideas to invigorate their creative thinking.”

Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

“We got 'Alive' involved to help us shift mindsets across our organisation and they delivered! Using simple, clear and creative ideas the team have delivered us a campaign which has seen a dramatic increase in idea sharing and development. They’ve also played a significant role in creating a culture of shared success. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with again, in fact, we already are!”

Gavin Buckle — B&Q
Alive logo