Sticky Madness

For the concluding session of the recent Pave symposium on Entrepreneurship, the Arts, and Creative Placemaking, we wanted to bring the discussion to a local level, so recruited the Phoenix chapter of Emerging Arts Leaders (EALPHX) to lead an interactive workshop.  The team, consisting of Alex Nelson, Jessica Rajko, Korbi Adams, and Samantha Johnstone, developed a three-part workshop, which culminated in a short movement piece that embodied our conceptions of place, an Alphabet of Culture and Community, and the segment described following.  Having participated in all the preceding sessions, the quartet identified three thematic challenges to creative placemaking efforts in the Phoenix area.  They then asked participants to comment upon Venn1these challenges, write their thoughts on sticky notes (hence “sticky madness”), and sort them by theme.  “The prompt to participants was to contribute their thoughts on how physical place, as well as personal and inter-personal relationships to place might contribute to those challenges or provide insight to those challenges, and then, if they cared to go so far, to share thoughts on how entrepreneurial arts activities could begin to work at solutions to those challenges,” according to Alex Nelson.

The three themes were: 1. Negotiating the politics of dis-belonging (the subject of Roberto Bedoya’s talk), 2. Developing cross-sector collaborations (which Ann Markusen described in her keynote address as necessary for effective placemaking efforts)  and 3. Listening and responding (a theme central to Laura Zabel’s examples from the Irrigate Arts project).  Below are the responses to these prompts, submitted anonymously by a group of about 25 students, artists, scholars, and community members.  This is raw data – check back for analysis in a future post.

1. Negotiating the politics of dis-belonging

  • Phoenix needs a dedicated space/center to converse on an ongoing basis
  • Asking about what matters to them before creating art
  • Ask what kind of invitation would be best received
  • Where do we find the “hives?”
  • Language
  • Infrastructure
  • Human interactions
  • Ask others what “belonging” means to them
  • Bringing “Phoenix” together. We are THE Valley of the Sun
  • Just because you want to know the answer to a question doesn’t mean you will/should get it
  • Preconceived notions/expectations
  • Intersex trans-gender restrooms? Don’t ask don’t pee?
  • How can my white privilege be transformed into a powerful voice for racial justice?
  • What do we (artists) mean by change? Perception? Policy? Place?
  • What is separating us?
  • How do you determine belonging?
  • In a transient society, do we belong?
  • What is Phoenix’s shared culture?
  • How can different cultural backgrounds within Phoenix be negotiated and connected to find a sense of belonging?
  • A sense of certain groups being more displaced than others
  • Check assumptions
  • Continuous reflection
  • Why do some strive, intentionally, to not belong in a place?
  • People carry many “places” (contexts) with them when they move
  • We don’t have to resolve it today do we? Can we just explore the problem? Even further?
  • Who is included in the discussion?

2. Developing cross-sector collaborations

  • Generational gap? Why do we have to stop learning L
  • Non arts discipline engagement
  • Who do we approach because of curiosity
  • Work together
  • Networking
  • Recognize your own power and behavior through someone else’s eyes
  • Be honest with myself (and transparent) about what I want out of a project.
  • Don’t try to collaborate with every group, and accept that you will need to support your partners’ top priorities
  • Mutually beneficial collaborations
  • Alack fo common space and central community to collaborate
  • Are we aware of “plae” in our collaborations
  • Within arts (eg music + dance) vs. with non-arts (eg. music + medicine)
  • Who are the collaborations serving?
  • Work to foster and MAINTAIN relationships
  • Fighting stigmas within our own disciplines
  • What expectations are brought?
  • Think beyond known methodology
  • Know your value
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the difficult questions; it helps us understand each other
  • What type of opportunity does collaboration bred when accounting for global aesthetics and experiences
  • Changing expectations
  • Drawing from past experiences

And this Venn diagram: sticky madness

3. Listening and responding

  • Remove judgment from the dialogue
  • A response is not reqired for every thing, especially ones [that] are not well thought out. LISTEN
  • Realizing your own idea or truly responding?
  • Reacting
  • How do we teach people to listen? Role of education?
  • Who gets to respond?
  • Space to dialogue without an ulterior motive
  • Learning another’s story helps create respect and trust
  • Who initiates the listening
  • Who has the right to speak?
  • Sharing experiences to ear the right to share and listen
  • “If you want to know someone else’s story, you have to tell your own”
  • Listening to myself
  • Openness
  • Does “place” disrupt the “listening” process?
  • Who are we listening to most? Least?
  • A willingness to hear opinions that are different than one’s own
  • Teach teachers and artists how to engage in intercultural dialog
  • Allowing expectations to dissolve
  • Curiosity
  • Acceptance
  • Space for dialogue
  • Face to face connections
  • Listening to someone else and not my own thoughts
  • I want to talk less and listen more
  • Willingness
  • Every conversation across “borders” should begin by asking what three things they do not want heard/said about their group
  • Listening and responding does not simply mean our ears and voices but also through thoughts and actions
  • Traveling to different places
  • Mindfulness
  • Curiosity
  • There is a multiplicity of story. We do not always have a shared history.

And this Venn diagram:Venn2

Video of the entire symposium is available through our livestreaming partner, Howlround/newplay tv, in a raw unedited form.  High res video will be available soon on the Pave website.

About lindaessig

Linda Essig is Dean of the College of Arts & Letters at Cal State LA and principal/owner of Creative Infrastructure LLC. The opinions expressed on creativeinfrastructure are her own and not those of Cal State LA. You can follow her on twitter @LindaInPhoenix.
This entry was posted in Arts education, Arts entrepreneurship, arts infrastructure, Arts policy, Culture and democracy, Higher education and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Sticky Madness

  1. Pingback: Culture, Community and Creative Placmaking at the 2013 Pave Symposium | Emerging Arts Leaders Phoenix

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