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From Heart to Head to Hand

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How to Change Things

How you experience your working reality whether something inspires you or drains you depends on the outside world on the one hand, your working context, or "the system". And on the other hand, it depends on your frame of reference, how you interpret and make sense of your context. Both external context and internal interpretation mutually influence each other over time.

The metaphor

The question is which side should we focus on?

When we look at the working context of cultural workers, there seem to be a million factors that influence their spark. The organisational structure of the centre, leadership style, financial stability, age of the centre, personality structure, identification with the centre's purpose, and so on. Moreover, every cultural centre is situated in a different socio-political context. So, how can we find a way to support cultural workers to keep their spark alive that works regardless of the context?

With this project, we cannot directly change your working conditions. But we can try and help you to change how you experience and make sense of your situation. We can provide the tools to help you reflect on why you do what you do and how that influences your spark. These tools will help you to actively build your relationship with your centre and deal with motivation and frustration. We hope that this approach will contribute to a sustainable working relationship between you and your cultural centre.

How can we do this? This is where metaphors come into play.

In this book we develop metaphors as tools to reflect on your working experience. They help to pose specific questions that everyone, regardless of their specific context, can relate to. Metaphors help to put images and words to experiences. In that way they help to bring things from the subconscious to the conscious level. When you are conscious about things, you can act upon them. We have come up with our own metaphor for the process we want to enable

from heart to head to hand.

It starts at the heart, where we feel, where we develop emotional energy, commitment, love, hate, friendship. This is where our energy and willpower comes from.

→ From heart to head means we learn to think and talk about what we feel. We develop a language and are able to talk to others about these important topics. This is already a very important change that enables us to make the last decisive move

→ from head to hand. The hand stands for our ability to act, to make a choice and change our reality. To avoid misunderstandings, we do believe that it is very important to work on the circumstances of cultural work and to engage in political lobbying for better legislation and more public funding. It is vital to work towards better organisational structures and business models And to network for knowledge exchange and inspiration. All of that is absolutely necessary. It is just way beyond the scope of the Penguin Project.

Application for workshops

This metaphor is well applied also when designing workshops