estuary cultures cultivating creative Life ecosystems for communities on mission

We partner with mission-minded people and organisations to develop strategic communities on mission that transform the lives and work cultures of participants as they go about fulfilling their personal and organizational mission goals.

Communities on Mission (CoM) learn to function as a team and begin to apply the insights from impact research toward creative design solutions that critically inform and shape, ultimately transforming, the lives of people and their environments.


Creative Communities On Mission

Creative Communities On Mission are value-centred places for creatives to network, share artworks-in-progress, grow in creative capacities and confidence, and collaborate on projects in a given context that align with Sustainable Development Goals.

Launch C3M

Launch C3M is a learning pathway designed for those who are exploring and would dare to lead, take risks and learn how to build and grow sustainable communities on mission with people in their respective places of work, neighbourhoods, and networks.


TENT Folk and Tribal Arts training Curriculum Development Workshop

Consultations brought together diverse linguists, administrators, and creatives from folk dance, tribal art, music, and other oral genres to deliberate on curriculum design to train rural arts catalysts.

Veteran tribal scholar-practitioner demonstrates, with help from participants, the use of traditional folk dance as an effective way for community building and participation.

In total 2 consultations were held that provided impetus for identifying resource materials, trainers, and program design that oral arts trainers could use for community development.

Creative Communities On Mission

Covenant Creative Communities on Mission (C3Ms) is a weekly space that brings together diverse creatives, creating an environment for sharing, exchanging feedback, peer review, and learning from best practices in the industry.

Over the course of time, participants build trust and explore opportunities to work together, brainstorm opportunities for creative problem solving, putting their time and talent for the betterment of their localities.

Networking and building friendships

Brainstorming on the possibilities for engaging the community at large in partnership with a new local farmer's market store location.

Artists sharing works-in-progress

One Field Farmer's Market

C3M members gathering at One Field, a local entrepreneurial initiative to reduce the time and effort (storage of farm produce) from farmer to buyer in order to help local farmers get a better return for their produce.

The act of meeting "on site" served as an effective first step to help One Field become a place for building community and "a place from where community action can be initiated." Apart from assisting One Field in their market goals, the initiative helped to bring together local talent and build community in an organic way. It also helped bolster creative problem-solving from being on location rather than remote, which helped with idea generation and deployment to a degree not experienced prior to this experience.

Here, a local musician shares about the "hum drum" he developed to teach music (basic rhythm) to children with autism. The exposure had a mutual reciprocal impact--people became interested in the music ministry with autistic children and some who heard about it purchased the hand made drums. On the other hand the local community benefitted from the role music can play in building community.

C3Ms turned out to be an excellent place for all sorts of talent including drama. Here a member of the group shares an impromptu skit.

Advent Art Project

The Advent Art Project brought together several artists at this non-profit to work on fresh artwork--visual, musical, and literary--that captured the idea of "hope."

Here is a piece by conceptualized and created by one of the artists co-mentored through the community arts project.

The project created a legitimate space for artists to think with their art, to work with like-minded others, and to collectively invite the larger community into an alternative narrative by public display of their artwork.

Prototyping, "what will hopefully be a sculpture"

Mentored ethnography

We specialize in creative problem-solving by way of integrating theoretical frameworks from urban anthropology and organizational mission goals with empathic insights from field research.

Learning to listen helps to bridge the gap between what is and what ought to be. But what does this mean from the point of view of people in the community.

Coaching researchers in the art of listening, interviewing, collaborative problem-solving with an eye to the potential of the people themselves as the greatest assets of any community yields insights for impact research design solutions.

Learning happens in community, exchanging feedback, developing and testing prototypes, all of which is best carried out in the context of a community of practice.

Participants of the urban anthropology cohort just before the field trip to a local resettlement urban colony.

The Unbeautiful Project

A ritual with implications for human-ecological focus

A project focusing on community building through the arts while leveraging the power of symbol and ritual in the context of a community of practice intent on addressing the needs of the world.

Interviews with community members on what their faith meant to them in a given season in their liturgical calendar opened the way to a community-wide active participatory reflection on the meaning of symbol and ritual in the context of this community of practice.

The semblance of the religious symbol with garbage strewn all over it, collected from members of the community, is representative of the mounds of garbage piled up and strewn all across crowded city roads and neighborhoods in the city. Isn't there a place for all the filth, refuse, and waste of the world? But what could this mean in spiritual terms for the unwanted and unnecessary things that people tend to carry around caused by hurt, fear, and offense by others?

Members of the community working together for the arts and community development initiative.

The Unbeautiful Project Video

Lausanne Movement

Networking with a movement that connects influencers and ideas for mission

The Lausanne Global Leadership Forum in Manila, brought together at this table Deans of Global Business Schools to deliberate on issues concerning developing emerging leaders for the social sector.

Catalyzing brainstorming sessions with co-workers in the arts from different nations concerning the launching of arts catalysts in various global regions and a plan of action to onboard, equip, and sustain community projects on the ground.

Here with key leaders and entrepreneurs from South Asia.

Lausanne Global Leadership Forum last day celebration

Exploring potential for global impact with colleagues in the Lausanne Movement from the Technology and Media Issue Network. The exercise served to bring together diverse perspectives, Denmark, South Africa, US, and India, to explore opportunities for networking and partnership on projects of common interest.

Interested to learn more? Join the movement?

Contact: uday@estuarycultures.com

Creativity & Arts Consultant | Educator | Researcher

Uday Balasundaram, PhD, is a creativity consultant, arts catalyst, speaker, and coach.

Uday is an innovative and creative design solutions leader, with a strong focus in strategic ideation, culture-critical thinking, research, and problem-solving.

With over 30 years of experience globally working with creative organizations, artists, and public media, Uday offers unique insights into the formation and sustenance of creative missional communities and how to nurture sustainable creative ecosystems for lasting influence and impact.

Typically we work with people and organizations looking for fresh ways to solve systemic issues, strengthen internal innovation efforts, and leverage the power of creativity and the arts for culture renewal.

We would be interested to explore efforts to collaborate and partner to build a more sustainable future, including: exploring new ways to grow and enable a team within your organization to be equipped in the areas of cultural intelligence and exegesis, aligning gifts and calling with mission, applying creative design solutions toward problem-solving, and research-based approaches for strategic design mission initiatives

Contact for further discussion: uday@estuarycultures.com