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The Encounter panel discussion

Collaboration Booklet by Marianne Hughes

Principles of the Collaborative Premise by Marianne Hughes

The Illegal Lives by Young Min Moon/Mixrice

Theory | Research | Collaboration | Production | Technology | Sustainability

Artists in hybrid space work across boundaries in a variety of ways, as transmuters, changing forms to open possibilities’; as translators between languages and practices; as transgressors, challenging established practices, norms and assumptions, and as trans-shippers, importing new ideas, information and practices into seemingly intractable circumstances.

- From the Greter Boston Connected and Consequential Conference Findings Report


The Encounter

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April 11, 2012, Brown University

How do we begin to work together before we know what we are going to do?

Drawing from their experience developing new tools for data visualization, a biologist - EPSCoR Research Scientist Marta Gomez-Chiarri - an artist - Digital Artist Jack Lovell - and a designer - Industrial Designer David Zacher - will reflect on the importance of vulnerability and openness in the first encounter – in the meeting that precedes a project.

Collaboration workshop at Connected and Consequential

From Collaboration booklet by Marianne Hughes, Executive Director of the Interaction Institute for Social Change:

We believe that social justice requires the transformation of individuals, communities, and systems. Effective change agents begin by making a personal commitment to social responsibility, right action, ongoing learning, and skills development. They bring to their work in communities an asset-based approach, a belief in the power of coordinated effort, respect for diversity, collaborative leadership skills, innovation, and creativity. They focus their attention on organizations and broader societal systems for the purpose of unmasking and engaging power dynamics, redistributing power and resources, opening access to decision making and decision makers–in short–working on systems rather than simply working in systems.

The following principles are embedded in the collaborative premise:

If you bring the appropriate people together in constructive ways with good information, they will create authentic visions and strategies for addressing the shared concerns of the organization or community [or network].

- David Chrislip

1. Balance results, process and relationships
The backbone of collaboration is the balance of articulating shared goals, designing and facilitating a clear process, and fostering authentic relationships.
2.    Include relevant stakeholders
In order for a collaborative planning process to be successful, relevant stakeholders must be included. Stakeholders include those who have the power to make decisions, those who are affected by or help to implement decisions, and those who could resist or block implementation of decisions.
3.    Create the conditions for participants in a planning process to own the process
Ownership of the process emerges from involvement in the design and implementation of the collaborative effort. It cannot simply be determined and implemented by planning experts or by a small group of leaders.
4.    See the dynamics of the system
A successful collaborative planning process requires an understanding of the interconnectedness among the issues, policies, organizations and programs and their effects on each other.
5.    Map the network
A successful collaborative planning process involves seeing the interconnections between all of the strategic actors in order to amplify voice and impact and create the conditions for emergence.
6. Agree on the problem or the scope of the opportunity, then agree on the solution
Agreement on solutions and commitment to their implementation comes from a conscious and thorough effort to agree on which problems will be addressed and to define, analyze, and agree on the nature and scope of those problems.
7.    Assess strengths and assets as well as challenges and problems
For successful community planning requires an We facilitate an assessment of a group’s own assets and strengths as well as those of other stakeholders. We encourage group members to look beyond their own roles and responsibilities for the work to full scope of resources and strengths that all participants can contribute, and to how all participants can be involved in planning and implementing the work.
8.    Go slow to go fast
It is often necessary to “go slow to go fast.” Involving stakeholders in planning and decision making requires time, an adequate flow of information, and commitment to follow through. In the face of time and resource constraints, there is great temptation to design a planning process that achieves the minimum necessary stakeholder involvement on the fastest time table, rather than the maximum appropriate involvement needed to make sound decisions to which everyone is committed to implementing. Time saved during planning is often spent on selling the plan before implementation can move forward.
9.    Seek win-win solutions
The goal of the planning effort should be to arrive at decisions that achieve the group’s goals and that all, or at least most, stakeholders are willing to support. This requires a willingness both to acknowledge individual, organizational or community interests, and to move beyond them as necessary for the success of the collective effort.
10. Share in the responsibility for success
Motivated by a shared vision of impact and an ability to transcend community, organization and sector boundaries, each member of the collaboration commits to honest and timely feedback to hold themselves and one another accountable to their collective success.
11. Manage issues of power and privilege
Cultural competence is built by an awareness of how power and privilege show up throughout the collaborative effort and skillful facilitation that includes all voices. Power must be distributed so that decisions are brought closest to the point of action.
12. Be adaptive, collaborative, flexible and present
Collaboration requires an open mind, a willingness to experiment with new tools and approaches, a belief in the collective wisdom of the group, and a willingness to believe in the best intentions of others.
13. Have fun

Read more by downloading a PDF of the Collaboration booklet here.


“The Illegal Lives”: Art within a Community of Others
Essay by Young Min Moon, published in Rethinking Marxism

"Since 2002, Mixrice, the artist collective, has pursued social interventionist activities and collaborative projects with a group of undocumented Asian migrant workers in South Korea. Utilizing photographic and media recordings, comics, murals, and texts in the form of exhibitions, publications, and the Web, they engage the question of the Other within the context of an ostensibly monoethnic South Korean culture. Through their critical practice of working with members of a transnational community, Mixrice probes the issues of human rights and the ethics and roles of the artist in a volatile sociopolitical environment."