CPCP Summer Institute, Day 1

Unlike the Sojourn workshop which focused more on devising, the CPCP workshop looks more into the processes involved in arts-based, community-led transformation (civic practice) and forming community partnerships. The first day focused on us, the individual practitioner (whether we come from the arts or another sector): what are our principles? How would we describe our practice? What are our assets? How do we listen? Compared to the previous workshop, the activities here revolve more around dialogue and self-reflection than theatrical generation. (I say this with no value-judgment whatsoever–in terms of which is better and which I prefer.)

I have to admit, however, that I’m not one to articulate my artistic practice in words, i.e., I’m uncomfortable talking about myself. Words are wind; I feel I’m better able to convey my values through the actual work–both process and “deliverable”–that I do. So maybe this is the workshop that I need. (I guess there’s also this fear of discovering that what I think are my values aren’t actually reflected in the work I do, so best to not just talk about it.)

Below are the four highlights of today’s workshop:

A. Creed

Similar to how the first workshop began, Michael began with his creed. I’d write down mine, but I think this requires a bit more thinking than my usual twenty minute jotting down of whatever’s in my head at the moment. But I do wonder what it is I’d declare given how I personally find it difficult to maintain any sort of “hard stances.”

B. Understanding of community and place

We were invited to reflect on our own understanding of the words ‘community’ and ‘place.’ We’ll still be playing with these words in the coming days, I think, so I’ll withhold discussion for now.

C. Assets

What are my assets as an artist and how can these assets translate into a domain outside of the arts? For example, as an actress and singer, I’m very quick to take in notes and make adjustments. In other words: I easily adapt to circumstances, unexpected or otherwise.

This was difficult for me because it felt like I was tooting my own horn. My desire was to just go, “Please look at where I am in life and the quality of my work. Ask the people I’ve worked with how I am.”

Impostor syndrome is real.

D. As a listener

I’m a good listener, not perfect, but I care very much about listening well. It stems from a very simple place for me: it hurts not to feel listened to. As someone who is a lot more prone to loneliness than she lets on, I know too well what it feels like to recognize when someone’s not listening and the feeling of finding a little less meaning in life because of it. (I didn’t share this with my quartet because it didn’t occur to me. I focused more on the experiences of being with non-native English speakers and being in communities where I didn’t speak the language and how that demanded a different kind of listening from my end. I wish I highlighted the value of learning another community’s language.)