Shut up and write… and care

Creativity is key to economic development, to personal fulfilment, and so on. This is pointed at repeatedly these days, as entrepreneurial values are stimulated in a post-crisis economy. But, when can we get the time to be creative when the daily demands of our jobs makes it difficult for us to stop and think? The managerial model in universities has made it more and more difficult.

Since last June 2018, I have been meeting with a group of members of the itdUPM —where I physically attend to work these days— to write while being together. Lost projects, current projects with deadlines, unfinished projects. We have been introducing little by little also reading/reflecting/planning time.

Time to read and write and then to reflect has become a luxury. With the idea of opening a spot a week for these very essential activities, I decided to invite whoever was interested at the itdUPM on Wednesdays for shut up and write sessions. I had already been doing those remotely for a year with my colleagues Yenny and Natalia in Bogotá, but physical co-presence and connection became important.

At first, it was Cecilia, Candela, Mariángeles and me. Then Ander started to come, and then Sara and María José. The group is variable (I cannot myself come each time), but I can say that we have consolidated a group that meets currently on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the “ático” (attic) of one of the universitie’s department. Following Cecilia’s idea, we created a closed Facebook group for eventual feedback on short excerpts of our projects. 

 

Idea and collage: Cecilia López.

We are generating a sense of belonging, and a time and space for things that are impossible in the everyday work rush. We are opening up a time and a space to think and to create stuff in written form. And that’s revolutionary! OK, a slow revolution. Or the path towards some kind of change, at least.

Besides the satisfaction that generates advancing projects —individual and collective—, I am very proud of how this very dedicated bunch of people are developing written, planning, and reflective skills. We are even slowly becoming a Bullet Journal (https://bulletjournal.com/) community of nerds.

But the most important thing is, I think, that it’s because of our being together that it has been possible to develop a discipline to pursue things that really matter to us but that are not important or visible tasks in universities. We all feel like we have done something really important when the session is finished.

 

Look at this amazing people. Please note how the attic itself can change from one session to another: find the differences!

Other members of the itdUPM react when we bump into each other, saying: “I want to come next time!” and it normally takes some weeks before they finally find the time. When they come, this quality time for our minds and spirits stop being a luxury and becomes a priority. Even though this is not a new practice, I hope it extends more and more.

Isolation makes part of our work conditions, especially in an academic setting. This being together makes part of a wider reflection on the generation of some kind of awareness of a collective work and life condition. It also places the emphasis on an ethics of care.

A feminist ethics of care -at least in an academic context, and I will here share an excerpt of a very sharp blogpost by my colleague Ester Conesa-:

“(…) helps make visible the power relations behind the masculinised ideal of autonomy and competitiveness. An ethics of care perspective supports ideas of interdependency and vulnerability. As an analytical approach, it offers the possibility to display and study the genderedness of care across its multiple layers: personal, collective, familial, at the workplace, at decision-making level, within institutions, etc. The ethics of care allows us to also focus on the temporal dimension in the academic environment and on the politicisation of distress when care is absent, invisible, devalued, or displaced to the peripheries of these multiple layers. (…) The Great Lakes Feminist Geography Collective, also advocate for the feminist ethics of care as a way to disrupt the neoliberal university.”

Even though this seems to be “just” a gathering of mostly women who want to shut up and write, we are indeed generating political action. The most evident one is Candela de la Sota’s project on raising a gender and feminist awareness at the itdUPM.

As Narelle Lemon and Susanne Garvis (2014: 2) say (thanks, Edgar, for pointing to a great blogpost on the subject):

‘‘“Our stories assist in the telling and retelling of important events. Reflecting on these events allow the ‘processing’, ‘figuring out’ and ‘inquiring’, leading to behavioural actions to change situations.”

The phone rings and Mariángeles says: “This silence was too good to be true”, she picks up the phone and there is no one on the other side. She hangs up and… shuts up and writes, and we all care.

 

Lemon, N., & Garvis, S. (Eds.). (2014). Being “In and Out”: Providing Voice to Early Career Women in Academia. Animal Genetics (Vol. 39). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

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Cómo protegerse de los grandes players del coworking

Los espacios de coworking medianos y pequeños se enfrentan a grandes firmas multinacionales que se implantan en el país… Propongo una estrategia mixta para seguir existiendo.

Está muy presente entre las personas que montaron/que están montando/que dirigen espacios de coworking la inquietud de que se desvirtúe lo que siginifca el coworking, y que se convierta en una etiqueta vacía de significado.

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Interactivos?’17 prototipado colaborativo en Medialab Prado

Este año tuve la fortuna de estar en Interactivos?, y no sólo como colaboradora de los proyectos como el año pasado, sino también como evaluadora del Taller más grande del Medialab. Es el más grande por el número de personas y el número de proyectos que coinciden ahí. La idea es que durante 17 días -del 17 de mayo al 2 de junio de 2017- grupos de trabajo colaborativo e interdisciplinar se juntaran a desarrollar un prototipo que mezcle la tecnología con un interés social, y este año también medioambiental.

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Rafa de Ramón: el diálogo entre las empresas y los espacios de coworking

Rafa de Ramón explica desde su expriencia en Utopic_US de Madrid por qué a los coworkings les interesa colaborar con las empresas tradicionales, y lo que hay que tener en cuenta a la hora de pensar los servicios que se pueden ofrecer. Lo que viene a continuación es un resumen de su presentación “Cómo vender Coworking a empresas”, en la Coworking Spain Conference 2017. Encontraréis información valiosa para la gestión de espacios y relaciones.

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Carlos Almansa: La vuelta al mundo en 8 coworkings

Él es fundador de Nexudus, y durante la Coworking Spain Conference nos ofreció una estimulante charla sobre los enfoques de los coworkings de diferentes ciudades del mundo, pioneras en el desarrollo de diferentes estilos y modelos de negocio. Se trata de estrategias que es útil entender para luego poder extrapolarlas. Su charla se enfocó en 8 ciudades -Londres, Nueva York, Vancouver, San Francisco, Shanghai y Estocolmo-, cada una con su especialización.

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Coworking Spain Conference 2017: nuevas estrategias para ser diferentes.

El lema de este año es “La industria del coworking”, apuntando a una nueva etapa en la maduración del sector en España. La conferencia organizada por Manu Zea y su equipo duró sólo dos días (el 11 y 12 de este mes), pero aprendí tanto como durante muchas semanas de trabajo por mi cuenta, y estoy segura que no estoy sola en esto.

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