I hope this update finds you well. This month the Exploitation Prevention team held a major event, the inaugural RISE/Uffizi Community Collaborative meeting. We were delighted by the turn out (roughly 35 people!), but more importantly, this meeting taught us much about both the benefits and difficulties of our lofty goal, to collaborate with and for the marginalized.
Collaboration requires attention to detail: If I didn’t know it before our meeting, I am now well aware of all of the many small details that needed to be hammered out in advance of a collaborative event. Though I am most inclined and energized by the conceptualization and research phases, I gained a new appreciation for the importance of the small details. If we didn’t provide pens, the collaborative members wouldn't have been able to fill out their introductory surveys, which would further stall momentum. Therefore, the simple and mundane act of a trip to the store to buy pens then becomes a necessary component in the process of collaboration.
Collaborative requires innovation: Since our first meeting, Jeff and I have scheduled several follow up meetings with collaborative members. In these meetings I have been struck by how crucial it has been to think creatively and innovatively in working towards solutions. Because we are pulling together partners from different disciplines and fields, in some senses, we are having to carve out a new “third way” to address issues. This “third way” is one that combines the best of all of the disciplines, while trying to work around their drawbacks. We are excited to see where this innovative process takes us.
Collaboration requires commitment & sacrifice: Throughout the preparation, execution, and follow-up stages of our event, I was struck by all of the time, resources, and energy we are asking of partners for the completion of the project. As we all know too well amidst the busyness of the holiday season, spending the evening in a meeting means less time for family, friends, and all that is required for things to run smoothly. So in asking collaborative partners to give of their time & talents, I became newly appreciative of the cost and commitment of collaboration. Collaboration will only be successful if individuals are willing to set aside their time and needs for the sake of others. The fact that we got 35 people in a room to do just that is something to be thankful for.
Best wishes in the holiday season!