On July 9 2012, 8 universities and three museums created a 3RDspace, lasting five days that pushed the group to become a liquid-network of idea-generators and idea-testers in order to surface innovative solutions to their everyday vexing problems.
Supported by the National Writing Project’s Digital Is Initiative, NWP sites representing diverse universities and communities took on ResponsiveDesign to explore, envision & enact making thinking visible within and across diverse cultural landscapes. NWP’s Digital Is Initiative is funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative.
Participating NWP sites are: Central California Writing Project at University California Santa Cruz, District of Columbia Writing Project at Howard University, Gateway Writing Project at University of Missouri Saint Louis, Minnesota
Writing Project at University of
Minnesota at Minneapolis, Oklahoma State Writing Project at Oklahoma State University, Piasa Bluffs Writing Project at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Philadelphia Writing Project at University of Pennsylvania, and, South Coast Writing Project at University of California Santa Barbara.
The highly experiential and theoretically grounded institute had two mutually informing goals. The first focused on how we come to think and understand what counts as innovative and creative leadership. The second goal was to support NWP, Museum and School District leaders exploring, envisioning and enacting local cultures of creativity and innovation. More importantly, these goals are situated within the nexus where formal and semi-formal learning settings overlap: namely schools and Writing Projects interacting with and learning from museums and library settings. From this overlapping ‘cultures’ perspective, we conceived of our institute as being the “third space,” or state of inbetweennes. In this space we struggled with complex ideas, harnessing ResponsiveDesign where right-brain insights are unleashed that push left-brain ways of knowing to revise and innovate.
To realize these goals, first, accomplished leaders from diverse National Writing Project sites and museums will bring all they know, and, in particular identify local challenges they wish to overcome. By making their local insights globally accessible within the 3RDspace, all participants will have opportunities to refine their solutions in light of the ’1/2′ ideas that diverse colleagues bring to share.
Second, the processes and practices, what we typically call “technologies,” that we use across the 5 days are transportable back home to be harnessed and used to unleash creative confidence in participant’s local culture.
We will culminate the institute with participants articulating the prototypes of innovative leadership models they will test out back home. To support continuity of these future locally tested prototypes, sites and museums will have have an opportunity to develop an affinity group with an identity that prospectively can seek funding to support mutually-occurring project development between their formal and semi-formal learning settings.