Sunday, April 13, 2014

Announcing Dinner-vention 2 - 2014 Edition

Good morning.
"And the beat goes on…………………"

Announcing Dinner-Vention 2

Readers of this blog are familiar with a project launched last year we called the Arts Dinner-vention - a play on the old idea of: If you could invite anybody, who would you invite to a fantasy dinner party --coupled (tongue in cheek) with the notion of an “intervention‘ - in this case to spotlight new ideas to some old challenges.

The idea was to gather some of the best younger minds from our field at a dinner party; people who had already gained some renown and reputation for their thinking but whose careers were long from peaking, and to give them a platform to share some of their ideas by disseminating the conversation from the dinner to as wide a field as possible.  We wanted to promote new ideas, introduce some of our future leadership to those who might not be familiar with them, and we wanted to encourage our guests to bond and keep in touch with each other.

We opened up the selection process to the field, narrowed the selection to twelve guests, created a master list of potential topics for the guests to choose from, sought preparatory position papers from the guests, and tried to share all of that via this blog with the wider field. Last year’s Dinner-vention was held at Djerassi Artist Residence in California in October and a video of the event was posted on this site after the fact.  The project garnered a lot of attention in the field and we think we succeeded in introducing some new thinkers (and thinking) to a wider audience, as well as to each other (and on their own initiative, there is a reunion of sorts of last year’s class apparently happening at the Americans for the Arts Conference upcoming in June in Nashville).

You can read the post announcing the project last year here; the announcement of the Dinner topic here; the guest list announcement here; the briefing papers here and here; and finally the video segments Part I here, Part II here, Part III here, Part IV here, Part V here, Part VI here, and Part VII here.

We had such fun and success with the project, that we’d like to announce Dinner-vention II - the 2014 edition - and we again need your help.

We’ve asked the dinner guests at last year’s event to nominate people as guests for this  year’s event.  Having been members of the initial dinner class, their experience in having participated in the project will help us form a base list of possible invitees for this year’s dinner.

But we’d like your help as well, and we invite you to nominate up to eight new thinkers from our field that you think would make for a provocative, insightful and memorable dinner party discussion on an issue relevant to the arts field.  

As last year, we want inventive, creative, serious thinkers who have something to say and will contribute to an engaging, in-depth conversation on issues facing the sector -- and (hopefully) put forth specific ideas to move us forward in addressing those issues.  We want people with opinions, who are not reticent to share bold viewpoints:  provocateurs and visionaries, policy wonks and skeptics, from all corners of our field, from various disciplines and diversities, from urban and rural perspectives, and from disparate geographical points -- people who will make for an engaging evening.  And we want people whose reputations and influence is growing in the field, so we are not looking for long time, well established leaders - not those who have been around and have made their reputations,  but rather those still who are still on the rise, still making their marks.  Fresh faces and new thinking.  So please don't submit names of the established arts leadership.  This dinner isn't about them.  It's about the new class of arts leadership.

Having already done one Dinner-vention, we’ve learned from that experience how to manage the project.  This year we are making a few simple changes:

  • First, rather than twelve dinner guests, we’re going to keep the guest list to eight invitees.  We think a smaller group will allow more of an exchange of ideas and more time for each guest to make important points.  We hope the resulting conversation is even more engaging to you as an ultimate viewer.  
  • Second, rather than video tape the dinner, edit it and then air the segments, we’re going to try to stream this year’s event live.  That will necessitate less direction at the actual event and we hope it flows more like a live dinner event - warts and miscues notwithstanding.  It will also necessitate a somewhat shorter presentation.
  • Third, as was the case last year, we will present a list of possible topics for the dinner guests themselves to choose from and their consensus choice will be the featured topic for the evening.  But we will need your help here too and at a later date I will invite you to suggest topics to present to the selected guests for this year’s dinner.
  • Finally, last year’s guests thought the preparatory work (in exchanging position papers and in limited opportunities to exchange ideas via telephone conference calls) was valuable, and suggested more would be of benefit.  So this year we will try to expand the ways the invited guests can intersect before the dinner itself - including some intersections with last year’s guests.

I will report back to you all via the blog once the guests are selected, the topics chosen, this year’s site selected - and we'd like to move the event to a different location each year for diversity's sake (suggestions welcomed), and the date of the dinner.

You can submit your list of (up to) eight dinner party guests to me by replying to this blog email -   Nominate anyone you would like, including yourself.  You must include - for each name on the list - the person’s job title and organizational affiliation.

It would be very helpful if you could also give us a contact phone number and / or email -- and, if you can, in just a few words, why you included that person on your fantasy dinner party guest list.  The deadline for submissions is:   May 15, 2014

I would greatly appreciate it if you would pass this on (and publicize it) to people within your sphere.  The more names submitted for possible guests to the Arts Dinner-vention, the better.

Thank you all for your help again.

Have a great week.

Don’t Quit.