The Culture Compass​

Sebastian Flynn

The Culture Compass is a cultural workshop program designed and delivered by festival director Sebastian Flynn.
It is for individuals, teams, organisations or communities looking to reorientate themselves on their creative journey.
It uses the time-honoured significance and symbolism of the four cardinal directions and four quadrants
of the compass as an inner reference much like the maritime compass of old in navigating the high seas.
​The Culture Compass is like a navigational tool for the inner creative direction of our life.
It has achieved remarkable results in a range of international settings including senior federal government management training, tertiary education, multicultural community sector
and individual creativity workshops.
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The History of the Culture Compass
The Art of Inner & Outer Navigation
The Compass was the most important discovery in human history after the Wheel - enabling trade and culture to spread across continents for the first time in history.

The Culture Compass utilises this system as a means of orientation for our cultural lives, as well as for navigating the stars and the oceans. 

Sebastian Flynn first developed a model for the Culture Compass as an educational template whilst on a cultural scholarship visit to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC and New York during 2012. 

He has further refined the process following his attendance in 2015 at the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership in Vancouver - developing cultural as opposed to clinical approaches to wellbeing and indigenous creative understanding.

The process aims to help people objectify their past environment, whether their previous country or their early years, and to juxtapose that with their present environment or situation - in order to envision their future or their purpose or activity within life and bring the creative faculties into line.​

The Culture Compass uses the historical cultural symbolism of the Compass and the universal principles and properties of the four Cardinal Points and Quadrants of the compass and how they relate to human culture and endeavour - as a means of analysing one’s inner tendencies and creative impulses.

The Culture Compass conforms to the indigenous knowledge of such systems as the First Nations Medicine Wheel and the properties of the compass as first discovered in ancient China and then refined in Europe as a method of maritime navigation and as a means of appeasing the deities - especially for the Etruscan civilisation of approx. 700 BCE who were the first to divide the skyline into sixteen distinct segments within the circle.

The Culture Compass Process

The Culture Compass program follows a fourfold process - a unique interpretation of the symbolism of the four cardinal Compass points and quadrants as developed by the Etruscan civilisation - revised and recreated to interpret the stages of life and the challenges of human consciousness. The Culture Compass explores a unique system of 'four D's' to consolidate our creativity and our progress through life. 

The Culture Compass Process
The Culture Compass is designed as a process to help share one's story to oneself and others, to hopefully open the way to discovering one's unique purpose or direction. The knowledge of having shared one’s story with others has clearly been shown to be therapeutic – whether directly spoken or conveyed via artwork, writing, music, sculpture etc. - and knowing you have been heard has proved to be a significant factor in developing a strong sense of self and respect for others.

The Culture Compass is therefore a tool or four-fold process for supporting the cultural reorientation process of human beings - a guiding process through the landmarks of life’s journey – whether for people in need of reorientation from some form of critical diversion in their life (such as in the case of refugees) – or for anyone looking to clarify their creative direction.

Creative Modelling
The artworks created in the Culture Compass sessions are not attempts to demonstrate one's artistic ability - they are a symbolic model to demonstrate your inner process and to create an outward vision of your creative plan - whatever that may be. They are a model to help you to articulate your creativity and your unique cultural identity to both yourself and to others. Describing the significance of your 'model' is an important part of the group sharing at the end of the Culture Compass workshop.

Inter-cultural Respect and Cultural Competence
In particular the Culture Compass aims to demonstrate the universality and inter-connectedness of all of mankind’s cultural traditions – as being essentially cut from the same symbolic cloth. In this sense it aims to cultivate a sense of mutual understanding and respect – as well as being a foundational step in the process of developing ‘cultural competence’.

Culture Compass Workshops
Culture Compass Workshops are generally pitched at 10-15 people and are typically from 3-4 hours duration to provide ample time for introductory presentation, group discussion, creative modelling and individual presentations to the group which is an important part of the process.

There are also a series of fun light hearted activities in between the more theoretical exercises and presentation.

On site audio visual equipment is preferable (laptop, screen and digital projector, however we can provide own portable AV equipment for small groups if need be. All art materials are provided by the workshop facilitator.
Following initial rounds of Cultural Competence training workshops for senior management in early 2016, of which the Culture Compass was an integral part, the federal Department of Human Services in Australia has requested a further round of Culture Compass Workshops from October - December 2016.​​

The Culture Compass Workshops for refugee communities in Rockhampton, Queensland during 2015 were also highly praised with MDA evaluation showing markedly increased access and interaction with refugee communities following the workshops. 

The workshops were also very well received by community arts groups in Caloundra, Queensland, Lewes, UK, Olszynek, Poland and Queensland University of Technology Leadership and Innovation Program for graduates in mid 2016.
Sebastian Flynn​​​
Sebastian is the designer and workshop facilitator of the Culture Compass.
He is currently Manager of Major Events for MDA (Multicultural Development Association) in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. He was the Managing Director of the National Folk Festival in Canberra from 2010-2013, Director of the Queensland Multicultural Festival on behalf of Queensland Government in Brisbane from 2006-2009 and Programming and Production Manager of Brisbane Multicultural Arts Centre (BEMAC) from 2001-2006. ​He is also currently the Chair of SICA (Subud International Cultural Association). A classically trained violinist, he is the founder of the Ensemble Diaspora, a culturally diverse World music ensemble in Brisbane.

Follow your bliss.​​​​..

​When you follow your bliss, and by bliss I mean the deep sense of being in it and doing what the push is out of your own existence...

...doors will open where you would not have thought there were going to be doors... and where there wouldn't be a door for anyone else.

And there's something about the integrity of a life - its honesty, sincerity, wholeness and uniqueness - and the world moves in and helps.

Joseph Campbell