Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Taking OFBYFOR ALL Out for its First Live Call to Action [VIDEO]

Last week, I had the great honor of launching the OFBYFOR ALL global initiative as the opening keynote speaker at MuseumNext in London. The talk is a 35-minute introduction to the OFBYFOR ALL framework, with a museum bent given the audience. I hope you enjoy it. Here's the link if you can't see the video embedded below.

This talk was a real challenge for me to write. In the past, I treated keynotes as opportunities to share insights and stories. I rarely shared explicit calls to action beyond the option to buy a book. I tried to do a great job, but it felt safe. I didn't feel like I had anything on the line.

With OFBYFOR ALL, the stakes feel higher. We hope this project sparks a set of tools AND a global movement. So I don't just want audiences to enjoy the talk. I don't just want them to learn something from it. I want people to take action. To sign up, join in, and help us build a more inclusive world.

I care deeply about this call to action, which increased my vulnerability and nervousness in writing the talk. It increased my sense that I needed the audience. Without them, without you, there will be no global movement.

So I got stuck. I agonized over the talk. I spent hours trying out and scrapping material. I was afraid I couldn't give a talk that would inspire people to participate.

I broke through when I realized I'd been here before. I realized I was feeling the same fear and excitement that comes with any truly participatory project. We've launched many projects at the MAH - and in my own personal work - that only succeed if people respond to our call to action. Exhibitions that only exist if enough people contribute artwork. Projects that only happen if partners show up to meetings. Books that only get edited if people decide they want to help.

For years, I've believed that the most powerful question you can ask to shift to a participatory mindset is: how can participants help make this project better? When you ask this question, your relationship with participants starts to change. You start to need them. The power dynamic swings towards them. If they are the ones who can make the project great, then you get really focused on inviting them in the most powerful way possible.

OFBYFOR ALL will only impact millions if many people at many organizations get involved. And so I tried, with this talk, to invite you to get involved. I hope watching this video will encourage you to do so too. And if it doesn't, let me know why. This project is in its earliest stages, and I'd love any and all feedback on how we can make the invitation to participate as strong as possible.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Want to Work at the MAH? Two New Jobs Building Community & Social Change

The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History keeps growing and experimenting in our quest to build a stronger, more connected community. We have several jobs open right now, but I want to highlight two for people with passion for building community in new ways.

The positions are:
  • OFBYFOR ALL Communications Catalyst: to fuel the OFBYFOR ALL movement by organizing civic and cultural professionals online and at conferences around the world. 
  • Dialogue Catalyst: to work with local partners to co-develop an exhibition that sparks social action around issues facing socially-isolated senior citizens. 
Both these people will lead innovative work to build community locally and globally.

The OFBYFOR ALL Communications Catalyst will be the online host and voice of the growing global OFBYFOR ALL movement. In this job, you will welcome, motivate, and collaborate with civic and cultural professionals around the world who want to make their organizations OF, BY, and FOR their communities. If you're a great writer with experience leading digital community organizing or campaigning efforts, we want you. This is a full-time job with benefits and a salary range of $43,000-$48,000 per year. Here's the full description and how to apply.

The Dialogue Catalyst will be the community organizer for our next issue-driven exhibition focusing on the social isolation of seniors. In this job, you will recruit and work closely with a local committee of senior citizens, advocates, artists, and community members to co-create an exhibition and related events. The Dialogue Catalyst is the glue that keeps partners together and makes the resulting exhibition sticky and powerful. If you're a strong community organizer and event producer who cares about seniors  and social change, we want you. This is a part-time contract role, 24 hours/week, with a salary range of $17-$19/hour. Here's the full description and how to apply.

We believe that the strongest teams come from diverse backgrounds. You won't find requirements in these job descriptions to have a master's degree or many years of experience. You WILL find applications that ask you to demonstrate your talents and perspective. We hire high-performing people who are ready to work hard, collaborate, experiment, and get shit done in a fast-moving, fun, community-minded environment. We especially encourage people to apply who have experience feeling excluded or disconnected from the arts. A lot of our partners are in the same boat, and we want staff members who can empathize.

If you think that you are the right person for one of these jobs--or if you know the right person--I hope you will check out the job descriptions and consider applying. Both jobs are open until filled and we are ready to hire immediately. Thanks in advance for spreading the word.