FIELD NOTES | Pause. Record. Dialogue.

Lisa Funderburke Hoffman
April 20, 2020

"The only answer to fear is more understanding. And there is no understanding if there is no effort to look more deeply to see what is there in our heart and in the heart of the other person." - Thich Nhat Hanh


Dear AAC Network,

Every residency has learned something from the shifts prompted by  COVID-19. Residencies are more aware of their internal strengths and staff capacity and we’ve seen sharper focus on organizational mission and values. Fractures in policies have been exposed, new ways of engagement have emerged, and residencies are redefining what is essential. Learning and iterating are central to a healthy organizational culture. 
Now is the time to reflect on lessons learned, as you begin to consider the process of transitioning into the next phase of operations.

  • What have you learned personally, as a team, and as an organization that you will carry forward?
  • What practices, processes, or policies have to be amended or abandoned because they privileged only a few members of your team?
  • What do you now know about the artists you serve and how your decisions have impacted their creative and financial health?
  • Who haven’t you been serving that you might create space for in the future?
  • What gaps and fractures were exposed in your use of technology?
  • Are you centering equity in your work by challenging biases, assumptions, barriers to participation, and examining existing power structures to bring forward voices that have been historically subdued?
  • What have you learned about the community context in which your residency exists and the people who call the community home? 

Write down your thoughts, reflections, challenges, and successes.
Dialogue (virtually).
Ask these questions of your team. Ask them to share questions that have emerged for them. Then have an intentional exchange with your team to share ideas, insights, knowledge, lived experiences, feelings, and assumptions that have become apparent during this time. As Paulo Friere writes, “Dialogue cannot exist unless the dialoguers engage in critical thinking . . . thinking which perceives reality as process, as transformation, rather than as a static entity.”         

Now consider, what your organization will be when you re-emerge?


Lisa Funderburke Hoffman
Executive Director