In October of 2014, I left a great job with great people to explore other great jobs with other great people and also a new way of life. The hardest part, besides the occasional moment of terror at not having the security of a day job, is helping people understand what I do and who I do it for. Consultant and freelancer don't quite fit, but the word independent does. I work for all types of organizations in all types of roles, but I have the most experience in informal science learning, digital engagement, risk-taking and and space-making for practitioners in museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions.
When I am teaching, I am fully alive. The sanctuary of the classroom is the place where "my deep gladness meets the world's deep need." This could be a stuffy room without windows, a Austrian castle, a stage in an auditorium, or in the middle of the woods by a camp fire. My content expertise is self-awareness and whole-hearted living. My techniques are listening, allowing, holding ambiguity for the fearful, and being good on my feet.
In the summer of 2015, I will co-host Museum Camp at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. The theme of camp is space-making.
In collaboration with the State Library of Illinois, I work with librarians across the state to support them in risk-taking and change-making.
I view drawing as a way to experience the world around me and also as an excuse to notice it. I also use the shapes of symbols to communicate when words aren't adequate enough. Drawing is also an easy and rewarding place to practice taking small risks, privately and socially. I often encourage people to draw in my lectures, presentations, and happy hours. I very rarely contribute to a comic strip I started in 2014 called Drawing on Wisdom.
I write to be understood — first to myself, second to others. I write nearly everyday through a practice called Morning Pages, and I also write for the occasional journal, book, or blog, including my own blog Swimming with Sharks. I am a natural communicator and use speaking, drawing, and writing as tools in my pursuits to see and be seen.
Ninety-five 1"-sized scenes of The Big Lebowski sketched on a bowling pin.
A quick lesson in how to draw a shark.
I was formally trained as a graphics designer and after 15 years in design-related professions from graphics design to web design to exhibit design, I am incapable of not being a designer in everything I do. These days I'm most interested in designing experiences — multi-way interactions that require participation in order to be fully realized. Sometimes this happens in digital space, sometimes in physical space. Most of the time, I'm attempting to use design in digital space to affect something in physical space. I'm also into using time as an element of design (bounding an experience in time, for example).
I have never been afraid of technology and have played, broken and invented things with it for the past 24 years. At the same time, much of my everyday habits are quite analog. I draw on paper, write by hand, and use a real alarm clock. Technology is a means, not an end, and I work to keep it in the service of human connection and creation.
A NSF-funded project in collaboration with the Museum of Life and Science and the Exploratorium in San Francisco.
An online toolbox for facilitating learning in online environments, created in collaboration with the Museum of Life and Science and Michigan State University.
An open-source, single-serving website that informs Durham County citizens if their local library is open. Try it out. Created in collaboration with the Durham County Library Board of Trustees and Cognitect.