April 2016 LRT Notes

Craig Cheslog: We need to be thinking bigger. It’s time to change the American Dream.

Craig Cheslog: We need to be thinking bigger. It’s time to change the American Dream.

Highlights from Paul Born (Skype)

If we already knew what to do, we’d be doing it.

We have to be willing to get lost for awhile, to question what we know to be true, and to come to a common knowing. What we currently know is not “true enough”.  We have to become deeply curious and willing to learn and explore together as a team.

We need you to launch listening campaigns within your own worlds. We need to gather hard data to show why our vision works, and we need to understand what keeps us from getting there. 

Participants: Lina Buffington, Judi Burle, Carolyn Carr, Yvonne Cerrato, Craig Cheslog, Hilary Dito, Wendy Donner, Eric Engdahl, Derek Fenner, Julie Fry, Jean Johnston, Stan Hutton, Julia Marshall, Louise Music, Rachel Osajima, Liz Ozol, Frances Phillips, Mia Tsui, Cyndy Wasko, Ann Wettrich

1. Welcome & Overview  Craig Cheslog opened the meeting and welcomed everyone. He spoke about the aims, evolving strategies and alignment of our work to move the needle on equitable access to arts education.

Purposes: Guided by Paul Born in collective impact approaches, the Leadership Roundtable will work together over a year to develop a community plan, with a common agenda and shared accountability measures, that we will all sign and commit to implementing over time, coordinated by a staffed and funded backbone organization.

Cross Connections: This Bay Area effort aligns with Create CA’s work at the state level that Craig helped to spearhead. He is glad to be part of both efforts moving our common agenda forward.

Louise Music introduced new roundtable members in the room—pointing out affiliations that spanned civic, business, education, arts and philanthropic sectors. She expressed her thanks and enthusiasm for growing momentum and pointed out past work and success, leading into this new moment in time, where there is still much to be accomplished. She pointed to the wall chart that represents our most current thinking and upcoming schedule.

2. What do we hope to manifest?  Small group discussions and interactive sculpture envisioning exercise.

Discussion Highlights: included visions for equitable, holistic high quality education inclusive of the arts; systemic approach; advocacy through LCAP; creating learning systems and engaging beauty, resources and research; collecting and utilizing quantitative and qualitative data; developing broad and effective messaging, as well as working with a diversity of stakeholders—including students, families, government, business, funders, nonprofits, social justice advocates, etc.

Sculpture Highlights: communicating through form, symbol and metaphor, we made visible our hopes, ideas and questions. A few examples…

  • heart at the center of our work
  • mint representing fresh perspectives
  • wires for connecting and working together
  • a mountain of name tags layered and overlapping spoke to getting out of silos and working across sectors
  • band aids called for going beyond topical solutions
  • standing name tags asked:  What is the what?

3. Whys and Hows of Collective Impact Approach – Paul Born (Skype)

Paul ensured us that the collective impact approach works and that we have the assets to accomplish our vision. As a way of deepening the dialogue in our work together, Paul asked, “What is arising?” and then addressed questions from the group.

QUESTION: When you heard who is currently in the room, knowing what is required for cross-sector creative impact work, who do you think is missing?

Paul replied that he is heartened by people’s passion for the work. While we don’t yet have all sectors represented in the room, we have valuable assets and key leadership areas at the table—funders, government agents and educators. He emphasized the high level of collaboration that is mobilized in collective impact work. Collective Impact has evolved a framework for collaborative work that includes commitment to:

  • Common Agenda
  • Shared Measurements
  • Mutually Reinforcing Work
  • Continuous Communication
  • Backbone (governance) Structure

What makes Collective Impact different and more effective is absorbing this framework and embracing a strong commitment to enacting the common agenda—moving collaborative to a new level. While all the needed voices for systemic change are not it the room today, our capacity and commitment to figuring out who is missing and getting them involved is present.

QUESTION: What are the techniques and strategies for engaging all needed representatives given the challenges and pragmatic realities of getting everyone together in a physical space at the same time? How do you frame and structure a productive conversation?

Figuring out methods and strategies requires brainstorming and activating the creative energy and capacities of the group. Examples: 1) In figuring out how to engage teachers in our upcoming May 6th meeting, the planning team decided to invite and focus their participation during the second part of the day—early evening, when they available.           2) In Canada’s ending-poverty campaign, one of the participants was Cirque de Solei. They came up with the idea of their clowns and performers hosting a special event for the neighborhood to come and talk about the future of their community—widening engagement and providing important new data.

Celebrating creativity and the arts, our group might consider street parties with music and artists to gather people and convene conversations. The important thing is to create environments for listening. We need to figure out how to listen in unique ways. Sitting around the table will not be the dominant mode.

If we knew what to do, we’d already be doing it. During this year, we’re going to discover the trigger points and figure out what to do and how to approach things that seem impossible—likened to the “imagine ending poverty” mindset.

QUESTION: We’re ready! Let’s get going. What are the next steps?

We have to be willing to get lost for awhile, to question what we know to be true, and to come to a common knowing. What we currently know is not “true enough.” We have to become deeply curious and willing to learn and explore together as a team.

Next steps: We need to organize community conversations, asking questions—What do we all have in common? What inspires us? All our core leaders, major institutions and stakeholders have assets and resources to bring to this co-creation. We need to put together community engagement strategies to get multiples sectors involved. We need to come up with the right questions. We want to create momentum. Who are the key partners and how can we move forward together?

We need to unleash and strategically engage the creativity of the community. In raising money, funders have to be at the table, and everyone will need to think differently about how to use and re-allocate existing resources. Example:  In Canada, 173 organizations came together for the ending poverty quarterly meeting, excited to share what they’d been doing and their success in raising over 3 million in additional funds.

The backbone organization role is critical. We need committed leadership and roundtable participants. To move to a higher level, we need staffing to coordinate our efforts, as well as working groups. We are now creating two working groups to make and launch a community plan: 1) Community Engagement; 2) Data. We need you to launch listening campaigns within your own worlds. We need to gather hard data to show why our vision works, and we need to understand what keeps us from getting there.

Our community plan will include lots of hard date and qualitative information with 4-6 key measures that everyone of our partners will adopt. Our plan will articulate how we will collect and share data. Our aim is to unleash the creativity that is latent within our community.

QUESTION: How can we broaden what we are talking about beyond art education to engage other sectors, i.e., parents, equity efforts, the humanities? How do we language and cast our goal? Is it art education for all or is it schools that creatively engage all students/parents across the board?

This is a critical and visionary question—How are we going to frame our work? Everyone in the room wants more. How to talk about it with others? That is what we’re going to figure out together.

Example: from the Canadian ending poverty campaign, where our work led to going from the highest to lowest rate of child poverty in the town of Hamilton. At one of the earlier meetings–engaging the process of being lost and listening—during the community conversation, we asked what people wanted to change. Within the dialogue, an impassioned mother stood up and said, “I just want Hamilton to be the best place to raise my child!” Her words struck a chord and inscribed the vision. City, road and business signs and logos around the town have added: “Hamilton, the best place to raise a child.”

4. Follow Up Discussion & Break Out Groups

Map of Currently Planned Activities: Louise pointed out the chart that represents the Alliance’s current Collective Impact work and reviewed key planning actions and next steps. Paul Born will be with us in person for our May planning meeting and gathering.

Thursday, May 5th from 10:00 – 2:00 at the Alameda County Office of Education Small team planning meeting. Roundtable members welcome to join.
Friday, May 6th from 1:00 – 7:00 at Clark Kerr. Large gathering with roundtable and invited stakeholders. Teachers and others whose schedules prevent participation in the afternoon, will join from 5:00-7:00.

Summer activities:

  • Thursday, June 2, 9:30-11:30 Roundtable Meeting.
  • July off
  • August 9-11th Inventing Our Future – summer institute. Opportunity to engage participants in Collective Impact conversation.
  • Open ended opportunity for participants convene community conversations in their own realms

Group Debrief Highlights:

  • Cyndy Wasko cautioned against titling our work “Collective Impact” This has become a buzz word and there are many diverse collective impact efforts. Often the term is misunderstood and people have ill-informed, pre-conceived ideas. We need to figure out what our story is.
  • Julie Fry emphasized the importance of connecting the dots with other collective impact efforts and not living in our own pod.
  • Carolyn Carr pointed out that Inspiring Creative Communities is the title we’re currently using to represent our work on the website.
  • Yvonne Cerrato asked if we are sticking to our current vision statements and talked about the need she feels to further define what we mean by “creative communities”
  • Derek Fenner values the decolonizing methodologies within collective impact approaches, and stressed the need to embrace not knowing and opening to indigenous ways of knowing.
  • Stan Hutton commented that he was impressed with how Paul was able to explain collective impact strategies, and others agreement.

Break out Group Discussions:

Two breakout brainstorming groups (Data Measurement and Community Engagement) were formed to discuss two critical questions and brainstorm specific strategies.

  • How will we know if we are successful?
  • How will we engage stakeholders?

Lots of ideas, questions and follow up actions were generated. The Community Engagement Strategies Group group discussed who is missing from our effort and identified specific people to engage and invite to our May 6th meeting. Group members committed to following up. The Data Measurement Strategies Group identified and wrestled with the question of what we are measuring–participation in arts education, creativity or overall satisfaction in life? Further dialogue needed.

Chart paper Notes Leadership Roundtable Meeting 4.7.16 for downloading.

5. Closing & Next Steps

Next step—Please help to get the word out to others you feel should be involved in this work and invite them to the May 6th gathering. The staff will prepare and an evite and get it out to you next week.

Thanks for your commitment and participation!

Carolyn Carr