Creative Change

August 21, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve been meaning to tell you about Creative Change; the powerful intersection of artists and activists that has been taking place for the last four years.  The Opportunity Agenda convenes the retreat, and I have had the privilege of designing and facilitating since its inception.  This last retreat was the best one yet.

We gathered at the Sundance Resort, in Utah, in Robert Redford’s property, where the film festival was born – the stunning beauty of the place is enough to blow your heart wide open.  This beauty, a most impressive list of participants, and a design that was grounded in experience, all came together to create ideal conditions for creativity, collaboration and yes, transformation.

At the heart of the retreat was a set of design teams for cultural intervention.  Movement builders are coming up against the limits of policy campaigns that are tactically brilliant but awfully constrained in their scope.  A cultural intervention seeks to disrupt culture itself, it seeks to shake us out of the collective trance that has allowed us to become consumers instead of citizens.

At this point I have to give a shout out to the amazing facilitators who gave freely of their time in order to ensure that these design teams were successful –  Kenny Bailey, Maria Bauman, Kathie deNobriga, Mia Herndon, Idelisse Malave and Melinda Weekes.  I am humbled by their willingness to play so well and so hard.

But we weren’t just designing cultural interventions.  We were learning about each other’s work, we were witnessing each other’s art, we were grappling with big ideas, and we were just “being together.”  We had a BBQ, we witnessed the release of rescued and healed birds of prey, we hiked, we danced, we were beautifully human together.

This is one of the most important aspects of Creative Change.  We have learned to trust the power of networks.  We know that when people with purpose are granted an opportunity to come together in spaces that are nurturing and generative, the magic can happen all by itself.

We are conducting a thorough evaluation of the last four years of Creative Change.  And here is my bet:  great collaborations have emerged. Not because we planned them but because we’ve tended the field.  We have honored the creative thrust that is at the heart of evolution itself.  We have placed our trust on beauty and on that relentless drive for justice that makes another world possible.

For more about Creative Change, see You Gotta Work the Culture if You Wanna Change the Politics a Colorlines piece, by ARC’s own Rinku Sen.

 

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