You don’t know what you don’t know

It’s almost the end of a year, almost the end of a decade. I really enjoy the holiday season with friends and family but I don’t enjoy New Year’s Eve. My kids want to stay up until midnight and I usually go to bed early wrapped in multiple blankets and sweaters in a melancholic state of retrospection over the year. I can’t help of think of all of the things I didn’t do and should have done. So, I am starting now to think of my next small project. To keep me excited about moving into 2020, and to remind myself to celebrate the small things.

I started a weekly practice this year of posting one ‘what is art’ quote per week. I slowly would put one letter at a time on my small sign at work, snap a photo and post it on Instagram. I look at that sign multiple times per day and take a moment to think about what it means. I was surprised how much I enjoyed that 10 minutes of changing the sign and compiling a Google Drive document of quotes from across centuries and continents. (If you want a copy of the Google Drive link, just send me an email.) I realized that after studying and working in the arts for so many years, I still didn’t really know what art was. I have also started receiving recommendations from friends on quotes to use that has also been a real delight. The task of looking for answers has helped me focus on my work.

What is art sign
My colleague Jenn asked me to add a quarter to the sign to show scale on Instagram. And, done!

There is a saying that says something like the older you get, the more you realize what little you know. This fact is overwhelming for me, as I tend to reflect with shame on the ignorance of some of the thoughts and conversations I have had in the past. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by my lack of knowledge, I need to keep trying. I would like to continue my regular practice in the new year, but with a question every few days to think about what I doing in my creative and professional work.

I have spent the past few months creating a few dozen questions that can cultural leaders can ask oneself to focus a few minutes every morning on the work that they are doing and why they are doing it. What I need now is input from my friends and colleagues to add your most meaningful questions to my list. I plan to share the question daily on Twitter and will include a wrap-up with comments on this site every few months.

Please share one (or more) questions that emerging of cultural leaders should be asking themselves. It can be around focus priorities, Canada in a contemporary context, gaps in work, organizational challenges, personal contemplation, or anything else that spending a few minutes of consideration will be worthwhile. I would love to credit you as part of this project, so please feel free to write your name. You can share your questions in the short questionnaire here.

Despite wanting to crawl under the covers on New Year’s Eve while the rest of my family watches the ball drop over Times Square, I am deeply grateful for the work that I do, the people in my live and the opportunities that I have for learning and joy every single day. I really can’t think of anything else I would rather be doing in 2020.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.