Experience and story; Fugitive/narrative

I know it is a privilege to have the safety, time, and education to try to shape my experience into something coherent, to think critically and creatively about my life. There’s a difference between story and experience. Experience is the whole mess, all that actually happened; the story is the pieces you string together, what you make of it, a guide to your own existence. Experience is the scars on my legs. My story is that they’re proof that I’m alive. Your story, the meaning you choose to take when you listen to me, might be different.

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“between the ambiguity of the unfamiliar, and the sense of a mutual, deeply-felt human connection…”

In this tension between the ambiguity of the unfamiliar, and the sense of a mutual, deeply-felt human connection…, I’ve often wondered if there might be a universal “way of being”. A way of being which allows us to see, accept, and embrace one another, for who we are as human beings. Bobby Ricketts, UMass Boston graduation speaker

Video of full speech
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On not passing by

After an almost fling at a wedding, the two characters in Almond and Baggott’s 2006 novel, Which Brings Me To You, agreed to start again and get to know each other properly by writing snail mail confessions to each other. I was moved by this book for reasons captured well in this passage from the last letter in the exchange: Read more of this post

Is there something we’re avoiding talking about?

As you part from a significant person in your life a common practice has become to say “I love you.” The phrase affirms your connection and insures against regret if the person were to be struck down by a bus, a heart attack or… —let’s not dwell on the possibilities.
Something different may be as important to say before you part: “Is there something we’re avoiding talking about?” Let me explain the two currents in thinking behind the suggestion.
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“Changing Academic Life”: extracts from a nomination statement

[I didn’t receive the award, but it was helpful to assemble what I’ve done in relation to a possible path ahead.]
“Most workshops are dysfunctional—this one wasn’t!” read an evaluation from the first New England Workshop on Science and Social Change (NewSSC), a 4-day workshop I have organized since 2004 around issues ranging from ecological restoration to public involvement in environmental health.[2] “I now know 13 other people I can go to for advice, encouragement, teaching help, ideas, collaboration, anything,” one 2008 participant wrote in her evaluation. Read more of this post

What’s missing? Curiosity and a set of supports

A work-in-progress on what it means to foster curiosity in critical thinking, creative thinking, and studies of complex situations.
View these visual aids while listening to this 11.5 minute audio.
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Flexible engagement

In this post I expand to education the scope of the principle of “flexible engagement”—“an ideal in which researchers in any knowledge-making situation are able to connect quickly with others who are almost ready—either formally or otherwise—to foster participatory processes and, through the experience such processes provide their participants, contribute to enhancing the capacity of others to do likewise.” (Taylor 2005, p. 225). Read more of this post

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