Open Spaces between Activism and Academic work IV

Moving from learning to applying

The workshop participants are self-selected. Give or take some degrees of dis/comfort with activities that are experimental and involve ill-defined scenarios, workshop participants have been prepared to stretch themselves beyond their current practices.  The challenge, however, is to bring others into open spaces and deal with their resistances and any corresponding conflict.

One way to do this to use the authority a teacher has over students and hope that a positive experience for the students leads them to shift into the category of people who would self-select to participate in an open spaces process.  Another way is to combine open spaces process with a topic that hooks people in.  Again, there is self-selection, but not specifically about open spaces.  A third way is writing about what is going on and allow readers to digest this on their own time, to assess intellectually the appropriateness of joining in before taking the step of doing so in practice.

For writing, the first step is to articulate the tangible and experiential objectives.

Daily writing 18 May 2011 from the workshop “Open Spaces for Changing Science and Society


About Peter J. Taylor
Peter Taylor teaches and directs programs on critical thinking, reflective practice, and science-in-society at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He studies the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context as well as innovation in teaching, group process, and interdisciplinary collaboration (see He is especially interested in conversations with others who are, in diverse ways, "troubled by heterogeneity" (

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