Hello! Just a bit of warning that things are changing & may look wonky. We’re undergoing an accidental redesign. I broke it – heehee! Things are evolving! Woohoo!
What happens when we take an assumption and listen deeply? When we pluck a structure’s brick for examination of its holes? An intense staring ensues, the kind where eyes lock and you forget to breathe, the kind where your heart skips a beat but not because you’re falling in love, because the pressure squishes, smushes, suffocates.
Step one is awareness. Check. I’ve stared at this assumption so hard, my jaw tightened, nose scrunched, eyes squinted. I couldn’t see the holes in the brick anymore. Too much. Needs air. I let myself breathe again & I keep telling myself I’m letting go of this brick. Keeping just the holes.
assumption = My writing & drawing (all blog content really) needs to fit. It needs to be professional, a certain way. I find myself editing before I even write a post & wonder if I’ll be questioned on my authority, my expertise or lack there of about whatever subject I am sharing about.
the Brick = Tightness. Constriction. Barriers surrounding. Holding onto a way that isn’t me and is the way I’m supposed to write, draw, share under the auspicious idea of what ‘business’ SHOULD be, professional (what does this even mean today?), not necessarily personal and certainly not me.
Taking that assumption from its hidden pedestal makes the world, my/your world, shutter. Seismic shift. Be gone brick! And the sun comes up on another horizon.
Which brick is next?
If you pulled a brick from your mortar, what might you see?
Creative Commons licensing = some rights reserved, you pick!
In a video on the Creative Commons’ website, someone wraps up the thinking behind these concepts well, “[It’s a] move away from thinking about content to thinking about communities.” YES! If we listen on a deeper level to what’s going on around us, we’ll be serving ourselves and each other better, rather than stuck with our noses and our egos in our idea of ownership and what that means.
As one who values acknowledgment of complexity in our human ecosystem (including the digital), I find myself wondering more and more about how to fit these complexity values into my business practices? It’s about changing with the times rather than holding onto traditional ways. It’s about noticing. It’s about having more open conversations with people on sometimes difficult topics in many art forms. It’s taking open source learning beyond… I’m excited to share that I’ve found a way that allows me to approach traditional copyright differently: Creative Commons licensing!
My backstory goes, that I’ve always known I am an artist and I will someday do something with my art. That knowledge has always lived in me somewhere. Naturally, copyright comes up as you get older and learn more about the way business works in the world. I’m not a lawyer and so my understanding of copyright is based on whatever research I’ve managed to do & mini conversations with lawyers. I’ve always said, ‘I don’t understand it.’ Thing is, I think I was actually saying, ‘It doesn’t feel right to me’ – I have a gut feeling about traditional copyright that has always left me backing up away from doing anything where I would need to better define my copyright. (Disclaimer: That said, there is a time and place for confidentiality. I’m not suggesting that everything always be open, rather that open be our default.)
So, I’m jumping in with two feet and am excited to be using this creative commons licensing with my graphic recording work (including it in contracts, etc) whenever possible and plan to use it with much of my artwork! It’s a learning journey. Woohoo!
I’m also quite excited that the folks at Creative Commons are creating a Creative Commons Toolkit for Business to help businesses (i.e. people in business) understand why and how Creative Commons licensing works.
Creative Commons’ twitter = @creativecommons
Here’s a link to an article with more information on open source learning for teachers!
*Next time I’ll draw this post!
The Gloria & Wilma School for Organizers is an initiative in partnership with Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts. The idea came out of the friendship between Gloria Steinem (writer, lecturer, political activist, & feminist organizer) & Wilma Mankiller (first female chief of the Cherokee nation). I had a blast getting to know this amazing community as well as adding some graphic recording to the event! Here are a few highlights!
Social change happens at the intersections, where people meet even if they happen to be going different ways….
Language matters. In the past, the language of women’s and other minority stories have been changed so it doesn’t include important and sometimes painful truths…
Gloria Steinem is full of amazing quotes. “When you’re an old person, you become an archive.” was part of her preamble to sharing some information and connections for specific topics discussed… brilliant!
The gathering included women and LGBTQ community members. It was referred to as a ‘women’s space’. The atmosphere felt different in a positive way because of the people who were present.
We’re making history. It’s not always in the past!
There was an amazing sense of team in the group which consisted of many different perspectives! “We’re in it together!”
There’s a moment somewhere when your mind shifts, your brain rearranges (disclaimer: I am not a scientist), when you find a way to listen differently, more deeply, and actually see what’s emerging. I experienced one of these extraordinary moments this Fall. This moment for me was the moment I decided to get out of my own way & begin to embody my beliefs (not in a scary way). For a long time now I’ve been coasting along, trying things here and there and not allowing things to stick, not really ‘going for’ anything. I asked myself, Why not? And when I didn’t have a good reason, I let go of the ‘should’ and jumped into conversations with those around me (thanks for the support y’all!).
I am asking questions, challenging my own assumptions, creating relationships of radical acceptance (clients & all) & expanding my practice, VISUALS for CHANGE, to include more transparency & more art. I have a few big projects I’m working on and am accepting commissions as well. (I’ll still be doing some graphic recording and teaching and many of those things I’ve been doing all along. Now I’ll share processes, questions, struggles, artwork, and whatever else you ask for. )
art = expression &, for me, questioning, sitting with the struggle of disparities, acknowledging and questioning the ‘silo-ization’ of everything that leads to blaming, shaming…(go Brene!) and all that which keeps us locked away from even ourselves – trapped by fear. Art is about pushing the boundaries of perspectives, of assumptions, of that which seems to have become rather than that which is…
I’m standing up and sitting down, walking around, breathing & being ‘art matters.’ And, I’m daring to say that art matters everywhere & BELONGS everywhere – in business meetings, in class rooms of all disciplines, in our homes and towns and cities. Art nurtures curiosity & questioning (things our school system so often try to put in cages with control). Art brings creativity and helps us evolve to be better people. I’m stepping in, up, out & I’m feeling alive! I’m curious, What makes you feel more alive?
“At Madison elementary school in Phoenix, Arizona in the late 1950s, problem students like me were often sent to the art teacher’s room.” – Howard Rheingold
I love this quote. As one who firmly believes that art nurtures our curiosity, our questioning skills, our ability to struggle with ourselves within the context of the culture in which we live, this notion of sending the student who doesn’t fit in the education system’s box to the art room completely resonates. I’d also like to go deeper and ask about why we’re labeling students ‘problem students’ because they’re different or bored or…. We have a society that says it appreciates differences and then asks students to all sit the same way in the same place doing the same thing and when anyone steps out of this form they get in trouble, often without considering the greater context of their situation and learning style, etc.
(Even long after school in the big wide world we are having serious challenges bringing people who think differently to work in the same spaces. Check out Why Diversity Is Difficult for more on this as a workplace challenge.)
I realize that there are people out there doing amazing work teaching with questions and teachers breaking school’s rules to help students learn their way. HUGE props to them out there in the wild west of school systems! And I realize that it’s a complex system that we have here, so it’s not a simple 2d spectrum of good and bad, or how to do it and not do it. It’s more complicated than that or else we’d have figured it out by now. So, I’ll exercise my questioning muscles & do more listening:
How can art serve students and people to help them understand themselves and their cultural context? And allow them space to challenge cultural context?
“Mrs. Rheingold’s philosophy of teaching art was that all human beings are creative innovators, have a need to express ourselves creatively, ….” writes Howard of his art teacher who also happened to be his mother. What if we took on Mrs. Rheingold’s philosophy of teaching art and applied it in our lives? What would be possible then?
How can we illuminate situations for deeper understanding so they aren’t cast in this good/bad continuum that doesn’t actually exist (more on this in an upcoming blog post soon) because things aren’t that simple?
What if we appreciated art in the way we appreciate business? When will we, as a society, realize and appreciate that art creates space for differences?
Reflecting upon my learnings and the continual evolving and emerging of VISUALS for CHANGE, I found this post awaiting. I read it and smiled. Shifts in thinking are no small things. They’re real and big and there’s a process that takes time… well, I’ll let my younger self talk for me:
Lately, every which way I look someone is asking a question that has me delving into my own thoughts. Although, what I’ve found hasn’t fully surprised me, what I didn’t expect is that the simple act of changing the questions I’m asking has allowed me to see more and be calmer.
Let me get more specific. In the last few weeks I’ve attended and/or worked a variety of events including a Vicarious Trauma Training, a Digital Media & Learning conference, a New York Collective of Radical Educators conference and a few dinner conversations with friends. Although each of them brought to light different pieces of a continuously shifting puzzle, each also enlightened my thinking as each experience built upon the last. When I think about the ways in which we influence and effect each other, from simply entering into conversation or shifting to include someone else at the table I smile. It’s dynamic. It’s relational. When I think about each of us taking that conversation, learning, idea from the table and into work the next day or on the subway to another conversation, and then take this even further and add Twitter with however many of one’s 900 some followers who happened to be paying attention at that moment in the stream, I wonder how far it will go and in what form? Will they smile and retweet to their 300 followers? Will they share in their classrooms or board rooms? Will they make it their own and attach a story? See something I didn’t even understand? Ideas, they move – they come and they go. Yet, it’s more than just ideas, there are frames of mind associated with each, contexts, assumptions made, questions asked and unasked, answered and unanswered in each individual, not to mention the collective. The environment is always moving, a complex system.
Some ideas are spun into institutions, industries or even governing bodies, each upholding some value. Yet, in this world, so many opposing values exist & are sustained neighborly – somehow. I’m brought back to thinking that my thinking is limited. That what I can see and understand is in my purview extremely limited not only in time and space but in my own particular context which sits within that of those around me and those around them and so on – meta, right?
So, what matters? I found myself at moments focusing narrowly to see a piece of this moving puzzle I hadn’t noticed before, yet panning out to notice the space between me and that puzzle piece, asking questions. I’m appreciating this new sense of awareness and the acknowledgement of space!
Shift your thinking = Shift your world. Our perspectives, our thoughts are nearly everything.
If you take a wide lens view of your own thoughts, what perspective do you see and what don’t you see?
One of the most amazing moments in which I’ve watched people graphic recording happened this past summer at the IFVP (International Forum of Visual Practitioners) conference in Austin, TX. There was a session where folks from all over the world jumped in to record in their own language. We had 8 or so people listening deeply, & translating real time in order to capture in different languages. A picture wouldn’t do the feeling justice.
I had goosebumps.
I’m super excited to share our next fun training!
Sun, December 6,2015!
WHEN, WHERE, HOW MUCH? Check out visualsforchange.com/grtraining for details!
I want to say thank you to everyone who has encouraged me, supported me, hired me, fired me, pushed me beyond what I thought was possible. I’m full of gratitude for y’all. Creating a business (or a practice) is a humbling journey and couldn’t be done without you! So, THANK YOU! I wish you the best of days – today and beyond!
These days I’m doing my best to live with intention to feel alive! I challenge you to do the same and pass on some gratitude!
ps. More soon… as my digital silence has allowed me the space and time to travel, to work, to play… there will be new things, experiences & conversations on the horizon! I’m back!