this & that: edition 6

This is a shorty, as we’re about to head into summer break and that means this collection of links and ideas is going to be put on hold for a while. For now, we hope you’ll enjoy what we’ve been reading, reflecting on and just getting excited about over the last couple of weeks!

Also, as a very excited aside, I’m joining the Public Imagination Fellows over at YBCA for the next year. We had our first retreat this month and  I'm looking forward to updating you as things take shape!

Ok, here we go…


The wellbeing piece:

We’re now seeing that failure as a syllabus has a place on US campuses:

“Nearly perfect on paper, with résumés packed full of extracurricular activities, they seemed increasingly unable to cope with basic setbacks that come with college life: not getting a room assignment they wanted, getting wait-listed for a class or being rejected by clubs.”

We’re now able to capture the human brain in portraiture of sorts.

We’re learning the value of emotional labor for our future work situations. All across the economy, technology is edging human workers into more emotional territory. 

We’re now realizing that behaviors, emotions and even thoughts are highly contagious. This one’s disconcerting.


The culture piece:

We love, love, love what Douglas Burnham and his team at Envelope A+D are doing in Hayes Valley and Hunters Point and now West Berkeley:

“Architects, by training, are able to see these multiple simultaneous futures. But most people need to see it and feel and touch it,” Burnham says. “It’s like a rendering, but it’s one step further.”

Building creativity and hope with Build: Not Impossible, a mobile maker station for refugee camps.

Need an Exercise in Listening? Get to Montalvo Arts Centre this summer.

The Designer’s Fund has opened their application for their new Design Management Bridge Program. Apply.

We’re intrigued by Katrina McHugh’s latest adventure The Question Everything Project

There’s a new Museum of Capitalism in Oakland’s Jack London Square.


Catching our attention:

“Things are not subjective. There’s good and there’s bad, and those things are not negotiable. It’s not my good versus your good; there’s a good that’s larger than us. And I think that’s something that people are longing for.” 

So many good things here: delve into this conversation between Ann Friedman and Chris Kraus

Modern day philosophers, “living people with ideas worth learning about”

“Britain has a cultural aversion to spelling out techniques for success; it’s considered vulgar. That must change. The convention serves brilliantly to preserve wealth and power for those born into it.”

Social mobility is on the decline not rise in the UK.


Planning ahead:

This summer: take action in the great outdoors

Pick up Teju Cole’s Blind Spot

“I see it as a unified story,” he explains, “but one in which each fragment of prose is dense in the way that a poem is dense. There are thematic breadcrumbs scattered throughout the text, but, yes, it is oblique. It’s not meant to be obvious, but a more psychologically resonant series of fragments that detonate on some deeper level.” - Teju Cole

Attend a Literary Death Match!

Can’t get to Wales (!), buy a live-streaming ticket for Do Lectures.

Planning way ahead, there’s a conference on meaning in Brighton this autumn:

:"At Meaning, we bring you bold ideas from unexpected places. We bring you thinkers and do-ers from business, activism, academia and the arts. We bring you the pioneering purpose-driven businesses innovating to disrupt not only their sectors but whole systems."

And Creative Time is hosting their 10th Summit in Toronto – the theme ‘Of Homelands and Revolution


As it’s summer, we’ll leave you with a bright spot: this month’s newsletter from The Awl. It's a gorgeous, heart-warming list of people noticing other people being kind to each other.

‘My toddler and I were waiting in a long line at Russ and Daughters this morning, and a guy gave me a much earlier number. He'd somehow ended up with an extra number right after his, and waited until he saw someone he thought needed it. I gave my number to the last couple in line, and if they did the same, it might still be going. — Annie

More soon.


Claire Fitzsimmons is the Director of Storefront Institute, a creative space for life, and has written widely on contemporary culture and mental health.



this & that: edition 5


This week has been overwhelming. Too, too much is happening. Too, too much to find our feet. We’re holding onto wise words from last weekend’s Art + Race Conference at Impact Hub Oakland - a rare smart, insightful gathering that also centered on kindness, empathy, and love: “Be kind. Be Careful. Be Uncomfortable.” 

"I want people to be ok with feeling something", stated co-host Holly Murchison at the start of the day and we’ve thought often of her words as we negotiated the last few days.

In amongst the major shifts and happenings in global, national and yep, still, personal events, here’s what we’re been thinking about, reading and stumbling on over the past couple of weeks.


The wellbeing piece:

I feel like we know this in our heart of hearts, but it’s interesting to see the evidence coming out to support this: The lasting mental and physical adverse effects of the 2016 Presidential election.

 “A man with a conviction is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.” 

The hard truths of cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias, and the best way to change someone’s mind.

Apparently, there are two types of popularity, one based on status, the other on likeability. Care to guess which is better for you? As you read this keep in mind that Popular People Live Longer

This is not a piece on lipstick, but you should read it anyway.

Vox’s take on Brian Resnick’s widely disseminated idea of the power of placebos.

As our mental health landscape changes, AI has just entered the field with Woebot. More like a 'choose your own adventure self-help book'. Still, need something IRL, we’re huge champions of the movement in the UK around Happiness Cafes. Or you could check out Cup of Comms if you need help with communication and your EQ. Or for a much deeper dive, check out 1440 Multiversity – learning about life while hanging out in the redwoods near Santa Cruz.


The culture piece:

A wonderful way to bring together music and neuroscience, in intentional collaborations that can impact people’s lives.

Can we weave museums more closely into our urban landscape? See what’s happening with The Shed in New York and consider the responsibilities of our arts philanthropists to address both funding gaps and social justice.

There’s an interesting program around Tools for Resistance at the Queens Museum, and another one around the Art of Change at the Aspen Ideas Festival

We are loving Molly McLeod’s Analog News Feed and intrigued by The Analogue Foundation’s Listening Station.

Like everyone else, we’ve been obsessing over 13 Reasons Why too and wanted to share this resource guide from Teen Vogue in case it’s triggering anything for you. “Tell someone how you feel.”


Catching our attention:

We didn't have a big plan, we just wanted to help feed our neighbors…” A community cupboard out of Winnipeg.

Our latest political crush (did we have those before?): Maggie Haberman

And a long-time one:

“I couldn’t help but wonder how things might have been different if we hadn’t all moved West to write magazine articles and select the music for Apple commercials and design websites. What if we’d stayed in our hometowns and cast our lot with—and our votes in—the counties that raised us?” Ann Friedman

Love this idea coming out of Oakland: Try Studio  “Try something creative taught by someone local.”


A little transparency, what we’re learning to make things happen in our world:

We’re learning all the time about how to straddle our worlds of culture/mental wellness, and that of entrepreneurship. Looking to these resources at the moment for advice, advice, advice. 24 best podcasts for entrepreneurs


And planning ahead:

Some summer reading:

E.M. Wolfman’s new publication Black Aesthetic comes out on 23rd June.

Female essayists telling it like it is:

And some positive psychology for on the beach, by the pool, or just in your-not-quite-long-enough lunch hour:

We’ll leave you with this: Get together on one of those hot days (who are we kidding – foggy) and summer (read chilly) nights outside in the Bay Area.

More soon.