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.