The Commonplace #14
At Social Possibility Lab, we explore and encourage possibilities for greater good. Here are 7 things we are seeing, thinking, or doing this week:
- We have been recording and enjoying a number of conversations in February for upcoming podcast episodes. Among others, Brad spoke with Joanne Samuel Goldblum and Colleen Shaddox, authors of Broke in America: Seeing, Understanding, and Ending U.S. Poverty. Their book helps us see what poverty looks like in America, how it is deeply embedded in systems and structures, and what we might do to address its causes, not simply its symptoms.
- Scott spoke with Amy Azano, a Virginia Tech professor working to found a university research center focused on rural education. Nearly one in five U.S. students attend a rural school. Rural schooling equity is a critical concern.
- In Virginia, like many other states, rural school divisions face declining student enrollments, difficulty competing for high-quality teachers, and inadequate facilities and capital projects funding.
- There are many doors and windows to possibilities and imagination, to thinking, seeing, and doing differently. Pondering this quote from the great poet Seamus Heaney: “Debate doesn’t really change things. It gets you bogged in deeper. If you can address or reopen the subject with something new, something from a different angle, then there is some hope. … People are suddenly gazing at something else and pausing for a moment. And for the duration of that gaze and pause, they are like reflectors of the totality of their own knowledge and/or ignorance. That’s something poetry can do for you, it can entrance you for a moment above the pool of your own consciousness and your own possibilities.”
- A weekly newsletter to check out is from the folks at Reboot.io They remind us that leaders must be well versed in the arts of seeing, and of listening, practicing a kind of radical self-inquiry.
- A novel worth picking up that is hard to put down: Hank Green’s An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. The book deals with big themes but in fun ways: the nature of fame, but also the importance of seeing and noticing, how we pay attention, the role of art, the stories we tell about ourselves and others, the dangers of celebrity and of extremism.
Thanks for reading and exploring with us. Send us a message or join our list.
Scott, Brad, & the Social Possibility Lab team