One year ago today I accepted the offer from the Banff Centre of Arts and Creativity to join their Cultural Leadership program. Through the duration of the program I did a lot of learning, listening, laughing and writing. I wrote a series of blog posts as part of my portfolio project and have since had a major spell of writers block and have not updated my website. As any arts marketer knows, consistent, quality content is imperative to keeping readers engaged in your work. I have essentially failed my field these past several months, but had a lot of fun doing it.
I have spent a lot of time since June thinking about next steps for my learning and have spent time reading, interviewing and talking to others. Instead of sharing my thoughts and feelings, I have been trying to listen to the answers to the questions I have been asking. Reaching out to strangers for help and guidance has resulted in some beautiful conversations and has helped me figure out what is next on my learning journey. I also have a virtual family through the Cultural Leadership cohort who have been there to share kind words when others have brought me down.
I recently attended an intercultural workshop at St. Lawrence College, and one of the exercises was to write down your the 10 people you trust who are not your family. The purpose of the exercise is to examine the people on that list and see how the homogeneity of the exercise demonstrates your unconscious bias in the people you care about. (You can download the Trusted 10 worksheet here). What struck me was how hard it was to write down 10 people I trusted who weren’t relatives, and the fact that almost all of them were very similar to me in gender, sexual orientation, and cultural background. What was also interesting is about half of my trusted 10 were people who I had just met in the Banff Centre program.
All of this pondering has led me to think about the connections I have and how my interest in learning really needs to involve other people and not solely consist of my nose permanently stuck in a book. One of my Banff Centre classmates has used her learning from the Art of Gathering: How we meet and why it matters, to create a set of expectations and outcome for virtual drinks meeting on Google Hangouts. Simply sharing how much it means for her for all of us to stay connected and what the outcomes are for the meeting will offer us incentive to take the time to attend and have some meaningful conversations.
Cheers to virtual or in-person drinks, meeting new people and connecting sometimes just for fun. These conversations give me the motivation to work on my 2020 work and personal plans, which I hope will be epic, so stay tuned! Until then, I am off to enjoy a G&T with Kate.