Social Art Project Roles

Social spacesHad a great meeting of some of the folk rallying behind Tessy Britton under the banner of Social Spaces.

Tessy is embarking on a trip around the UK holding Travelling Pantry workshops helping local community groups to think through what they’re doing and expose them to the sort of thinking, but more importantly *doing* that Hand Made is chock-full of.

My initial reaction to this (so far self-funded) marathon was “it’s like #tuttle2texas only with less cash and more hard work!” It also reminded me that when I got back from the US I was thinking a lot about the sorts of roles that we as individuals in a group had played as we made our way cross-country. So I share these as ideas primarily for those of us supporting Tessy but also for anyone else doing this sort of work.

They’re not in any particular order here. No one person did all of these throughout, they can be passed from person to person and sometimes more than one person needed to take the role on at a time. Also the names don’t matter, I’m not aiming to create anything special or precious here, just trying to explore the ideas.

Planner – someone to hold onto the structure and make practical arrangements, however little structure there is. Someone might have to pick this up when everyone else is going overboard on being visionary.

Visionary – someone to hold on and remind the group of what this is all about, what the higher purpose is that we’re pursuing.

Recorder – someone to document all the gorgeous things that happpen. Yes, ideally this should be everyone involved and maybe as a compulsive documenter I overplay its importance but since this can be as simple as a posterous blog that everyone e-mails to it should be the easy bit.

Tech Guru – someone who feels comfortable with finding the wifi and piping social media content through to various places. This includes being the human interface for people who you come into contact with. If you want civilians to input into your documentation, someone will have to explain it.

Uncertainty Holder – someone needs occasionally to be the person who says “No, we don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but it’s going to be fine. Really.”

Good Parent – makes sure you drink enough water, have meals at fairly regular times, get some rest, stop working, play a bit and have a laugh, help you to remember the important things in life, nag you to do the things for yourself that make you feel cared for.

Treasurer – similar to the planner, this isn’t a budget holder, or financial director, but it’s someone who deals with money issues when everyone else is getting flaky.

Shaker-upper – someone to help zhuzh things up when they’re getting boring and samey or the group is all thinking the same (in a way that is not productive)

Scout – sometimes you need one of the group to go off ahead (even if only mentally) to see what’s coming up next and what unplanned activities you might be able to do. While everyone else is immersed in what exciting things you’re doing now, perhaps someone can be finding out what’s fun in the next town.

Writing about these reveals something about my approach to group dynamics. These roles are often about thinking differently from the rest of the group, stepping out and pulling people in a different direction – zapping things when they’re getting too dull, slowing things down when they’re getting too manic. Zigging when everyone else is zagging – that’s me…

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