Connect. Convene. Amplify.
If Ted Lasso has his “Believe” poster, then I’d put those on the one for our office for us to slap as we came into the office, and what we’d touch upon heading out into the city.
It is in that spirit that I’m excited to launch our inaugural Arts and Culture in Public Health Cohort – and announce that we have eight Cohort members that have accepted the challenge (read their bios here), and will be part of our inaugural cohort which will conclude December 1, 2021.
What was the process that led us to the point? First, we sent out an invitation to our network for artists/creatives, arts administrators, and community leaders who shared the sentiment that arts and culture practices are improving public health. Our commitment: to connect like-minded leaders together with leadership tools, practices and frameworks, and to convene them as a community cohort over the next six months. Our hypothesis is by holding this space for them, it will amplify them – not just helping to move their projects forward, but growing their capacity as individual leaders. Deep gratitude goes to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, who has not only provided the resources to convene this inaugural cohort, but also the ResultsCount framework, a honed approach to leadership development for those who want to make measurable differences in the lives of children and families. I will be sharing relevant tools, practices, and models from this practice to support our Cohort participants’ work.
Usually, to participate in these types of Cohorts, prospective participants complete an application that gets reviewed and then the conveners select based on a set of criteria. However, for this experience, I wanted to provide a different on-boarding model in that I set up the virtual learning platform and invited prospective folks to “test drive” it over the course of a few weeks.
It would culminate in an “Orientation” session, where participants would be able to share their project in-progress with other potential participants, be introduced to a ResultsCount framework and apply it to their current work. In essence, it’d be a chance to get a “taste” of the Cohort experience to see if it was right for them.
This was also an opportunity to offer a “level-set” on this experience, via sharing Assumptions and Agreements. To summarize, while we are focused on individuals being able to learn about themselves, we’re here to make a difference – and how we do the work together is just as important as the work itself. Any meaningful difference made with those we are working has to be paired with meaningful change we’re pursuing in ourselves. To that end, our agreements are:
- Openness. Being open to new ideas, and being open to feedback from peers.
- Shifting: Being willing to shift – could be starting with a perspective, point of view and perhaps leading to a new behavior or practice.
- Centering the Result: Everything we’re doing is connected to how it helps move towards the desired result.
As we closed out our Orientation, here’s what our prospective participants shared what the experience was like:
- “...it’s nice to be with other people to talk about these things...it feels like we do our work in a silo and there’s definitely things to learn from other projects.”
- “I’m feeling invigorated...getting into these types of groups can be a psychological barrier for me to be there and prepared...now that I’m here, and I’m settled, I’m glad I had this opportunity to utilize different skills and talents...”
- “I started a nonprofit, but now I’m in [different field], and sometimes I feel like a fish out of water...It feels like coming home to me, being in a group with others that are arts-focused.”
Comments like these affirm that this is the type of experience our arts and culture leaders need right now – a space to connect with peers to connect and convene, and I’m excited about how they will not just amplify their work to foster better health outcomes for Milwaukee through arts and culture, but also grow and sustain themselves as individual leaders.