I’ve been skimming through Anthony Weston’s 2007 manifesto, How to Re-imagine the World (highly skim-worthy, since it has fabulous ideas and states them quickly), and actually stopped skimming and began to read when I reached the opening to chapter 9:
Naturally we look to the sticking-points, the places where change is most visibly and powerfully resisted. At the same time, though we may miss the places and ways in which change — complex and radical change — is happening now already, anyway. What if we joined in?
I stopped there, because I do that all the time. I rage against the machine of professional nonprofit cultural organizations and infrastructure. I whine about large organizations in major markets that seem bent on isolating themselves from their core value and their connections to the world. And in my Arts Administration classes, I teach by sharing the large, catastrophic failures in cultural facilities and clueless board governance, and thinking with students about how such catastrophes might be avoided.
But they’ll always be there. And they’ll always be resistant to change (which is how they built up over time into catastrophes).
So, now I’m shifting focus (if I can) toward the “inside track,” toward the individuals and organizations who are changing things already, even if only in little ways. And it’s not just a matter of finding ‘bright spots’ to copy them (although that’s cool, too). It’s about celebrating them, teaching through them, learning from them.