Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Take Heart - Confessions of a Change Agent

Today is a good day so I am not feeling like the woman in the picture above at the moment, but I have been there. Being a change agent is part choice and part obsession. The commitment has been a choice for me, but the drive to part of leading change has been a life long obsession - it is a core part of who I am. I honestly can't say I know how to be anything other than who/what I am and I wouldn't be happy being otherwise.

Now having said that, let me confess something to you - it can be exhausting, not just for me but for people around me. That's because I eat, sleep and breath Art Based research (Cultural Fusion Art as Philosophy) and Community Change Management.
I talk about it, I read about it, I dream about it...

But life work balance is something we all have to pay attention to if we want to avoid burn out. Before I embraced this reality, I experienced burn out when I was working as a community development consultant. The main reason was that my obsession was tainted by persistent frustration. For me the solution was to break free of the community development box, although I am still very much concerned with community development I found that sphere as a sector to be very resistant to change because of its entanglement with politics.

Coming back to my first true love, art was healing for me. Developing Cultural Fusion as an A/r/tographic model for community change answered a call from my soul - it expresses my deepest calling to serve and create. It puts me pack in touch with the way of being that I find is most conducive to supporting those interested in and willing to change.

Re-Thinking the Way We Think About Social Impacts

People who know me are aware that I have been exploring linkages between CRM (customer relationship management) Strategy and CSR (corporate social responsibility) programs for a number of years. Mostly I have met with a good deal of frustration but I’ve come to far to give up now, so when I find enlightening or encouraging news it helps put the wind back in my sails. Lately my attention has been on programs to assist survivors of violence but I also remain engaged in crime prevention and reducing recidivism of ex-offenders.

Recently I was introduced to Social Impact Bonds and it is definitely an encouraging step in the right direction. The paper I am going to link you to shows how the model can be applied to reducing recidivism and government spending. What is inspiring here is the financial investment model – certainly helps address parts of the problem, risk management for socially motivated investments. What they’ve done right….There is no doubt that employment and community support are huge issues in reducing recidivism. In addition to the model discussed in that paper, there is also a need and space for broader understanding based on open research (such as Art Based research) and event sponsorship funding models are worth considering as a less restrictive alternative. Is there an opportunity here for new approaches that tackle multiple dimensions of the problem to be explored and developed? I find that what is missing is support of innovation whereby there is space for discovery and open participation of those impacted.
Read the rest of this post here

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Emotionally Engaged with Technology

New Video Project coming soon....

Just as advertising in its modern incarnations have been summoned by the needs of business as usual...I wonder what remains to be discovered to serve the needs of newly defined contexts of social enterprise and the commons. I think the concept of interactive public art that can be accessed in private spaces a paradox worthy of some Attention.

Recently a friend of mine shared with me that he has found the love of his life using an online service. While we were hanging out one evening, observing the way text messaging technology has allowed them to nurture this emotional bond, I thought of all the ney-sayers of fifteen years ago who warned that email was destroying the human connection.

What many people failed to consider was the ways that we would be changed by this new technology. Technology is not a wall to be scaled it has been transformed into an enabler. One of my early Attention experiments was about using music to consciously share Attention...it raised more questions.

This had me thinking about the way perception of the computer voice has been humanized...for example, think of what that computer voice means when it is communicating with or for someone for whom that door would have previously been closed? The man who could not speak to those closest to him without the computer enabled voice that converts his text to speech. In that kind of context the computer voice takes on an unfamiliar intimacy.

For this video project (it may be the first of a series of them) are interested in exploring how to make sense of this paradox - how to make it practical while at the same time going into the artistic inquiry rabbit hole.

Obsessed With Being Practical

Interesting that I chose something like article marketing to play around with since it does related to the Cosmic Tree Memorial Art series and the memorial art planter business. After pondering some of the market research findings - namely the strong appeal of the memorial art concept for pets.

Using an article I done to increase traffic to http://memorial-planters.com/new to create the first audio track for the video "Not All Memorial Planters Are Created Equal". Next to interject supportive content for a contrasting experience I am adding an instrumental track for "My Heart Will Go On". I am definitely using some text from the article in the visuals with the memorial planter header as the static background...

It should be interesting...certainly it is an interesting experiment to think and work through.