So day two (actually the first real working day) of our residency was a multifaceted trip. (trip? does that date me? it does?) We began the day trying to decide and not really knowing how to start. Both of us were feeling some dissonance in this initial uncertainty. This was a little ironic because such a huge part of our work as educators of adults and youth involves coaching people to be comfortable in the “not knowing/uncertainty”, or  helping people to be ok with that space of possibility, to dwell there for longer than they might have on their own and to resist closure for as long as possible. That initial discomfort and the irony of it was a very interesting thing to take note of.

We kicked things off by throwing around different ideas about how to dive in to the work. we initially talked about doing a free flowing ‘brain dump’ then making concept maps around each of the chapters/sections of our book. Instead we decided to consult some notes from a conversation Arzu had about this project with our friend and esteemed colleague Lois Hetland. Lois is an amazing listener and sounding board for us-she mirrors and restates/frames things we say to her in incredibly insightful and very useful ways. So the notes from Arzu’s conversation with Lois were the trigger we needed to jump down the rabbit hole and commence building ideas.

Lois Hetland's notebook

Lois Hetland’s Notebook


paul chan

The morning yesterday was basically about the conceptual aspects of the book-the root ideas and underlying attitudes/purposes/structures of it. we were visiting each of the 5 sections in a free flowing way. consulting our own accordion books and some inspirational texts (like the provocative and brilliant writings of contemporary artist Paul Chan)  and posting ideas on a wall organized according to the 5 chapters of our book. This work was a combination of solo thinking/writing/posting on the wall and spirited (sometimes heated) discussions. Arzu and i have been collaborators/friends for almost 10 years now and we are adept by now at the push and pull, the jostle and the messiness of working together. usually feelings are not hurt.

arzu and process wall

We ended that session with some concrete documentation of ideas for each chapter of the book as well as some lingering generative questions to take forward.

typed chapter titles

Todd 7/8/2015

4 thoughts on “Uncertainty

  1. The science teacher in me loves that you used the word ‘brackish’ as one of your generative topics/project descriptors. :)

  2. I’m so HONORED! And I can’t make heads or tales of the page you posted, myself, so I’m glad it was generative for you :) I remember feeling entirely buzzed by the conversation that generated it, tho, and I ish that for you both through these rich days of short time.

  3. I really love the idea of brackish water….the mixing of salt and fresh water but also of temperatures, and most especially the non-mixing part where laminar flow happens and each type of water runs next to each other in a stream but not diluted by the other partner as they move in tandem, where they only mix at the innermost points of contact after a long way downstream. I found myself really riveted by this metaphor last night.
    Overall, the photos you are posting of the visual representations of ideas in each chapter really resonate for me (grabby for sure)–walking maps, the pipe like trees, the cut outs…I am definitely seeing again that I am attracted to paper arts and textures. Thank you again for sharing all of this with us. :) M

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