November 5 2011

From civicintelligence

Topics Discussed: (We can extract and develop ideas from these minutes)

Questions for Allen this coming Wednesday: 11/9/11

  • How can we make CIRAL happen?
  • What has already been done? (lesson plans, etc.)
  • What can we improve on?
  • What sort of constraints that could inhibit CIRAL have we overlooked, and what can we do to prepare for these obstacles?
  • Questions on the wiki are mostly still valid as well.

Tasks to complete for 11/911

  • Flush out Course Projects
  • Provide feedback for Micheal's outline/powerpoint on Google Groups
  • Generate questions for Allen

CIRAL 'citizen training' as an introductory research topic

  • Wiki training/interaction/familiarity
  • Editing shared documents
  • Introducing students to new perspectives and roles
  • Building leadership skills during meetings
    • Group reflection of simulations/experiments
    • Group Dynamics
    • Interdisciplinary studies
  • Implementing a process prior to projects to develop each others ideas and get people thinking as a group.
  • Embracing CIRAL's openness to all disciplines at Evergreen

Recursive pilot program for the Core Model and for community development

  • Group investigation of the public
  • Survey local organizations
  • Identify mutually beneficial possibilities that could catalyze civic intelligence
  • Establish a covenant to set ground rules
  • Start by engaging the Evergreen community
  • Frame it as an exploratory project
  • Build knowledge base and skill sets
  • Learn by doing; practice then theory; action then documentation; dive into water then assess success.
  • But first fill hole in knowledge with Core Class skill-building and Civic Training; fieldwork vs. think-tank.

Where to go next?

  • Practice then theorize; group games followed by meta-cognition seminars
  • Incorporate the scientific method aspect of civic intelligence
    • Observe
    • Theorize
    • Test
    • Analyze
      • Documenting progress/journal entries on the wiki
      • Stream of questions/ideas for group discussion of journal entries
      • Journal requirements on developing an understanding of civic intelligence
      • More things mandatory vs. self motivation
      • Active rebellion as a valuable role
      • Learning is the reward
      • Free-writing exercises

Keeping up on the wiki

  • Projects could be more flushed out
    • Identify scale, scope, and developments (elaborate further)
    • Everyone add to the 5 course projects
  • Produce a model for CIRAL during talk with Allen

Community Building

  • Gathering info and sharing/interacting
  • Apply that knowledge-base to a project
  • Refer incoming CIRAL students who are new to independent projects to the Academic Advising Center

Miscellaneous Tasks

  • Consider the implications of projects developing into long-term plans; CIRAL's organizational development and function
  • Description Model Handout; map CIRAL onto the 'see me' diagram/framework
  • Add in-class thoughts to personal profiles
  • Implementation portion is underdeveloped
  • Work with tangible components for hypothetical models
  • Everyone should contribute to the asset map
  • Investigate Jeremiah's PDF links
    • Potential for Wikipedia-type book-form extraction

Additional Notes/Contributions

  • Consensus reached: 8crd evening/weekend program with the possibility of an additional 4crd course
    • Potential for faculty signature on the 4crd
    • We can still add details to 16crd archetypes
  • Erika's student organization lists are open to revisions
    • She has posted an outline to apply for non-profit partnerships
  • Jeremiah suggested that we outline activities for the class for the 1st two weeks
    • Team building/trust building exercises- table arrangement; meta-cognition; planning.
    • Group Games- embracing games as a safe environment to learn from mistakes
    • Rotate group facilitators
  • Brandon will post relevant TedTalk links
  • Brandon could debrief us about the workshop he attended with Ellen from CCBLA
    • What are the skill sets for working around differences between multiple organizations that wish to collaborate/form networks?
    • What is the criteria for students to be eligible to work with various organizations?
    • Ideas for an organization that bridges the gap between the academic community and the local community?
  • Galen suggested a 'mirror institution' at Evergreen where students instruct the public for free.
  • Brian claims that his input is usually satirical
  • Social Cognition: MAPS organization for hallucinogenic therapy

Brandon's Notes Citizen Architect The Rural Studio Samuel "Sambo" Mockbee

This documentary talks about the Rural Studio, a program for college students who desire to be architects. It was started by Samuel "Sambo" Mockbee in 1993 when he was asked to become the architecture faculty at Auburn University.

The buildings that his students created were designed for the sake of the community, not for the sake of the students' own interests. They worked to improve communities where people had fallen below the safety nets of social services, and whose needs are invisibilized by society. The students were able to build homes from donated and recycled materials, which greatly reduced the cost overhead of their projects.

Sambo knew that architecture of a building deeply impacts the people who reside there. It can make them sick, divorced, or better. When you impose architecture on a community it destroys that community as well as the neighborhood. It creates urban wastelands, places devoid of collective identity. Good architecture can make the world better.

The Rural Studio is more than just a class, it is the institutionalization of a value system. Students are out in communities to build a house, but they are learning something more from the interaction. The students are directly responsible to the community they work in. This stands in contrast to other universities, where architecture it is dealt with in the hypothetical realm. At the Rural Studio, architecture is dealt with in the realm of the real.

Students spend their lives together doing everything from eating to partying. They establish communal bonds between them, and the become family. They comprise half what the studio is. The other half is the community. Through participatory collaboration with community members, the studio becomes a functional whole.

It is imporant not to judge community members by their looks or way of life. You have to get to know the project and the task at hand. In every family We have some members who are doing well, some doing okay, and others who aren't doing so well. You need to take care of them, because they are your family.

The belief of Sambo is that he would rather go out with a bang than to look over his shoulder to make sure he was doing what he was supposed to be doing for the sake of the university. He was encouraging of the students to be opportunistic in their work.

The best part of the students' work is the building of community with the people they work with. They are breaking down oppression by ending the use of oppressive architectural practices. They create value through the wealth of minds.

Usually in carpentry you start out in a big city, someplace that you can make a name for yourself. You work hard in order to have the payday from wealthy clients. This is why Peanut Robinson says that there aren't any architects looking out for people who are poor.

A lot more people will be needed in order to build enough houses to transform our hard-hit communities. However, it seems like we are collectively ignoring the issue. It is very common to hear people with privilege say that those who are experiencing poverty should just "pick themselves up by their bootstraps." Unfortunately, the institutionalization of oppression is the reason people in impoverished communities don't escape them. This type of oppression is enacted by the government, which people with power privilege aren't working to change.

Privilege is a major issue to address when working with marginalized groups. Successful collaboration requires trust from the people being helped. By working with you they are putting themselves in a vulnerable position. If you deny them your own vulnerability by not questioning your privilege, then you will not become part of their community. For example, the Music Man sees the students working with him as friends, as people he can trust. He is the one who will have to live with their mistakes, so he is relying on them to get things done right. If the students were to do things that made him feel unsafe, then he would be more likely to show them to the door.

Peter Eisenman, a professor from Yale, believes that the architect should know more about what (the concept of people) "really" want than the people who will actually live there. This is misguided from the standpoint of academic knowledge. Higher education is a privilege that many cannot afford. It creates what is known as a "modernist hangover," the idea that professionals can know what's best for others, and that there is a perfect outcome that only professionals can find. This denies that people can know what is best for them. By following Eisenman's beliefs, community workers are bound to be oppressive in their thoughts and actions.

The concept of the Rural Studio goes beyond just architecture; similar projects can be done in other fields of knowledge as well. Being hands-on and going into the community provides real-world experience beyond just being in the classroom. As a society we are letting this pass us by.