Emily Wilkie

 Emily Wilkie is currently working as a project coordinator for Your Square Mile, a not for profit organisation set up to help encourage and empower local people to be the change they want to see in their communities. They are currently working to develop a digital platform and a citizen’s mutual. These are being designed so that together they provide the benefits, support and tools necessary to help people overcome those barriers that have previously prevented them from making the most of getting involved locally. Before working at YSM Emily worked for the Yes to Fairer Votes Campaign as the Sheffield Campaigns Manager, and despite their loss, she gained some fantastic skills and experiences. Emily has a first class BA Hons degree in History from the University of Manchester. She runs frequently in preparation for the Great North Run. Emily loves reading, good food, better music, even better conversation and going out and having a good dance.

?!X: What’s the Future You Choose?

EW: The future I choose is one of love, enthusiasm and respect, for our people, our planet, our cultures, our heritage, our future and our knowledge.  A future in which everyone is encouraged to take an interest in the world around us, and to discover that in the acquisition of any interest, there can be much beauty, peace and happiness. In this future we are not victims to the desire for instant gratification, but pupils in the lessons of patience, ownership and experience. In this future there is no hierarchy of citizens, but a mutual respect for all skills and talents. In this future people are not placed on pedestals for associations, monetary gains or for the acquisition of fame, but for their extraordinary acts of courage, kindness and innovation. In this future we celebrate creative strategies, cultural diversity, and the importance of human relationships. In this future anyone can flourish because education and opportunities are not reserved for the elite.  There are no prejudices and no stigmas, rather, we all work together to better ourselves, help those less fortunate and to inspire greater, and more accessible understanding into the beautiful and amazing world around us.

?!X: What’s a ‘think’ to create the future you choose?

EW: My think is ‘Wild Geese’ by Mary Oliver.

I think too often poetry is condemned as ‘boring’ or ‘irrelevant’. For me poetry, as with all literature, has played a fundamental part in my happiness and development. It has taught me the pleasure and importance of always engaging with new experiences, thoughts and perceptions.  Literature facilitates constant discovery, and importantly inspires new interest, which, in line with my ‘future’, encourages greater understanding and a broader horizon. For me much of the beauty in poetry, can be found by letting the images resonate without too much focus on the desired intent or meaning.
Wild Geese 
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

?!X: What’s a ‘act’ to create the future you choose?

EW: My Act would be to be interested, to slow down at least once a week and discover something new. To get active, and learn the happiness in keeping fit, to discover, by listening, that everyone has a story worth telling, to unlock the pleasure in culture, education, history or the arts… to do all these things, or something completely different, but just to be interested.

?!X: What’s a ‘vote’ to create the future you choose?

EW: My vote would be to get involved locally, to work with your neighbours to create a thriving community. The key to a better society can be found in enhanced community engagement whereby accountability is created through respect, meaning, ownership and belonging. Moreover, there is much to be gained by volunteering on your doorstep – you can, amongst other things, boost your confidence, create new friendships, enhance your self-worth, and learn new skills, as well as fostering pride in where you live.
My other vote is to literally vote, because only then are you truly exerting your active interest.
?!X: What’s your favourite song and why? 

EW: This is an impossible question. However right now, in this summer 2011, it has to be Labrinth- Let the Sunshine.

?!X: Can you share with us up to 5 weblinks that you find interesting and inspiring?

Your Square Mile – embodies my ‘vote’. The website up at the moment is just an interim, the proper website is launched in October and will be magnificent.
Story Corps
Poetry Archive
Showroom Work Station
–  because its one of my favourite urban places.
Jobs – Third Sector – because undoubtedly I will be using it in the near future.

You can follow Emily on twitter @EsWilkies

Inspired to tell us The Future You Choose? You can here.