The Flow Project Programs
We are conducting an international inquiry in the arts community to identify principles and practices of art common across mediums and across cultures. Currently two artist groups in the Pacific Northwest participate in monthly inquiry sessions. A group in Nepal meets occasionally; a group in Argentina will begin its inquiry in early 2012; and it appears an artist inquiry group is forming in Germany.
The artist inquiry sessions are recorded and transcribed and, when necessary, translated into English. The Flow Process Team analyzes the transcripts using rigorous methods based on Grounded Theory and Action Research supported by software. For each transcript, the Process Team produces a report which summarize the emerging themes and concepts and recommends a question for the group's next inquiry session. The report is returned to the artist group. Thus we maintain feedback loops with multiple inquiry groups working simultaneously in diverse locations. By combining the data from all the artist groups we are developing a comprehensive understanding of the art-making process.
We are starting to develop the model based on the preliminary results. A team of highly qualified leadership educators are working with us to develop the model and discover applications of the principles and practices of art in leadership, policy-making, systems renewal, and creating thriving communities.
We are working toward a public exhibition in 2013. We expect to offer products (publications, curricula, education programs, presentations), services (consulting, training), and demonstration projects.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In 2009 we developed the vision and strategic plan. In 2010 we conducted pilot inquiries with four artist groups (one successful, three not). In 2011 we initiated the artist inquiry. We now have international involvement and people are approaching us to ask how they can participate.
Since 2010 eight students at nearby universities have complete independent study projects in conjunction with The Flow Project, under faculty supervision.
We have established a partnership with the US Military Liaison for the Arts, which will allow us to co-produce programs in and for the military community.
We have partnered with the Leadership Advantage Program at Western Washington University and local non-profits in producing workshops and seminars in Bellingham and Seattle.
We have presented at conferences, including the International Leadership Association, Seattle University, Edmonds Community College, Imagining America & Americans for the Arts, Trinity Western University, Association of Transpersonal Psychology, Compassionate Action Network, and Social Artistry Summits.
An article on "What Art Offers Leadership" by The Flow Project Executive Director was published in Leadership for Transformation, a volume in the International Leadership Series Building Leadership Bridges, eds. Barbour & Hickman (Jossey-Bass, 2011).
We facilitated a dialogue following a dance performance at the regional UNESCO Conference on Prisons and Peace (Mt. Vernon, May 2011). We analyzed the transcript and presented a report on "What the dance said that could not be said another way?" The report was included in the report that went to UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
Due in part to our influence, an interest group on art and leadership is forming in the International Leadership Association.
The Flow Project Executive Director participated in the 2010 UNESCO World Forum on Arts Education (Seoul, Korea, 2010). As a result of her exchanges, the third goal of the new UNESCO agenda for Arts Education programs worldwide is based on The Flow Project mission statement. The UNESCO goal is "To apply the principles and practices of arts education in resolving the social and cultural challenges of today's world".