Reflections

What did you get out of the Creativity and Collaboration retreat?  What new connections, insights, and opportunities are you exploring?  What would you share with those who weren’t there?  Please share your memories, aha moments, and suggestions for future events here as a comment.

You can also share photos on this Flickr group and continue the conversation on the NAME Facebook page.

5 responses to “Reflections

  1. I wrote a blog post about the C2 experience here.

    I want to thank all of you for helping me realize that I can have a professional development experience that doesn’t require pulling an antiseptic version of myself out of the closet. Getting to really be myself made me more open to learning and connecting with strangers. In particular, I loved learning from Ken about game design and I know I will be soon be writing and working on projects where we look at “visitor strategies” and intentionally design interactions to reward playing well, not just winning.

    I know that I’m in a privileged position–I got to help set the vision for the retreat, which means we picked activities that I’m particularly likely to enjoy. I’m interested to hear more about any elements of the retreat that made you feel uncomfortable or like you couldn’t be yourself. Taking a page from Kate’s personality types discussion, I hope that future incarnations of this event can be as good for blues and greens as it was for a red/yellow like me. I value the comments people shared about the aspects of the event that strained them either by being too social or too demanding, and I’d love to hear what other kinds of creative, collaborative experiences would be appealing.

    If you ever want to talk shop or visit me in the redwoods, just call!

  2. Susan Wageman

    Nina asks to hear more about what “made you feel uncomfortable or like you couldn’t be yourself.” The experience that made me feel most uncomfortable made me feel most like myself.

    Harley DuBois asked us to reflect on loss as we built a “shrine” to burn. My husband passed away suddenly two-and-a-half years ago. I considered dropping out of the session. Instead, I decided to share my challenge and give it a try. I felt caring, love and respect from both friends and new acquaintances. I saw that some others seemed to be struggling a bit beyond the task as well. I was amazed as the creation emerged. Elizabeth suggested adding a stone. I liked the idea that somewhere in the midst of transformative change, there is continuity and elements that do not change quite so much. The decorative top piece became a dragon — a creature that I find fascinating because of its pervasiveness in multiple cultures and its (sometimes) association with wisdom and transformation. The burning felt like a release and a celebration of life and community. I walked by the fire pit the next morning and could see the rock, apparently unchanged. I know it had been very hot and perhaps it was charred on the bottom. I didn’t feel the need to dig it out. It seemed right to leave it there.

    I heard that someone thought that this experience was inappropriate or that participants should at least have been warned. I might have felt that way at a different time in my own grief process. I don’t know.

    I have been thinking a lot about how some museums shy away from controversy or difficult content. This was a painful experience for me and probably even more painful for others. (It was also a very complex experience with many other elements as well.) I found my own meanings is our creation. Some are very personal. I can imagine that others could have very different ideas. I am grateful for the opportunity, experience, and support. This provides me with another context for working through my personal struggles with grief and identity. When we avoid challenging content, are we depriving some people of experiences they need?

    I currently work for a nonprofit that has a mission to help those who are most in need to succeed by providing employment, life skills, and vocational training and job placement services. Someone asked me how museums could be relevant and useful to people like our clients who are struggling with so many challenges that they (and their families) are barely able to survive. I don’t know, but now I am thinking about this.

    I had come to this retreat to explore how I might reconnect with a field that I love passionately. I re-discovered the gifts of passion, creativity, caring, and mindfulness that people in this field bring to their work. I don’t know that I found what I was seeking. I certainly found a lot to think about. I look forward to future explorations. Thank you.

  3. I relish the memory of this retreat and look forward to staying connected to the people who gathered there. We’ve got a good thing going!

    Here’s a post I wrote on the Open Museum blog. It features a couple of photos (albeit not so great) of some fantastic moments during our time together.

    Note in the blog post, I mention my plans to create a CC2 museum in Open Museum. I’ll do so in the next week or so and invite anyone who’s interested (and it can be all of you!) to co-curate. I’m thinking of a first collection on the theme of “Found art” or “Homegrown” and would welcome feedback and alternative proposals.

    FYI, Open Museum is a not-for-profit, non-commercial, free exhibit space and social network for museums and visitors. It’s in Alpha release, Beta release being planned for July.

  4. It is embarrassing that it has taken this long to write down my thoughts but I see others are having the same problem–real life reasserted itself very fast!

    First I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to Darcie, Nina, Eric, Jennie, Greg and whoever else I forgot for doing an absolutely fabulous job of organizing the conference. I hope that you will provide your knowledge to the next group that organizes C2 v.2. Having been a camp counselor but not a camper, I know how much effort it takes on the part of the organizers to give the campers those wonderful memories.

    On the camp theme, though, the one suggestion I would have for next time is to have a “quiet hour” or half hour after lunch, where people get to rest or sit in silence or walk on the beach. I didn’t want to skip any activities to do this but in the end I did that so I could walk around and appreciate the beautiful place I had been for the last 3 days.

    For me, these were the highlights:
    I got recharged and reinvigorated about exhibit design which is hard to do from the office while bogged down in daily tasks and deadlines. It is even more important to do this in a bad economy. I would do it again in a minute.

    The activities we participated in involved just that—participation. We learned useful ideas and approaches to creativity and problem-solving, and were immediately put to work testing them out. In other cases we were put to work doing something and then afterward evaluated our approaches. Both are useful.

    I found it particularly rewarding and challenging to do this with other exhibit designers, or those who self-selected as being interested in exhibit design. I find the AAM annual meeting engaging but tiring, and I meet lots of people but don’t necessarily have a strong bond in common with them. The fact that this was a NAME group solved that problem right from the start.

    Because the conference was local I met a lot of people in the Bay Area doing the same things as I am that I hope to keep in touch with and continue the conversation. We all have to make a real effort to bring the mindfulness of these recharge times to bear on the business of normal life instead of feeling like it was this great but surreal experience that happened separate from real life.

    And a thought for the next one: I heard a lot of people asking “how do we keep the collaboration from overwhelming the creativity?” Exhibit design requires a lot of participants and that generates endless need for good communication and the tensions of working in teams, as Nina put it. I would find some coaching on how to move the conversation/collaboration forward so it doesn’t eat up all of the creativity time very valuable; perhaps others would, too.

  5. Finally, had time to finish my ‘comic reflections’ on the retreat! It’s been a busy summer (thankfully).

    You can download a PDF at:

    http://www.mortati.com/images/C2-retreat-may2009-lores.pdf

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