Risk, exposure & consequence

With the metaphor of the ridge we wanted to create an image that
illustrates one basic aspect of working in a culture centre - risk,
exposure and consequence.

The metaphor

The ridge metaphor was inspired by our time

spent in the mountains[^1]. Walking or climbing a ridge line can be very

exciting, but also quite terrifying. What makes walking on a ridge

exciting (or terrifying) is the exposure and the connected risk of

falling. The bigger the exposure and risk, the higher the emotional

reward if we successfully manage the climb. Being exposed makes you feel

alive. You are totally in the moment, your body produces adrenaline,

nothing else matters.

The difference between being excited and terrified is based on how well

your skills match the difficulty of the terrain. What can feel like a

walk in the park for the experienced mountaineer can be way past the

comfort zone for a couch potato. Important to note here is that (i)

mountaineering skills can be trained, (ii) you have to know your skill

level and match it to the terrain, and (iii) be aware of the risk.

Misjudging the situation can end badly. Another aspect of walking a

ridge is that it is normally a limited distance. Keeping up the focus

required to safely get across is taxing. In order not to get too

exhausted one has to mix time spent on the ridge with time spent on less

difficult terrain.

- Can you remember a situation where you put yourself in an exposed

position (in sports, romance, gambling, work) and successfully got

through? How did it feel during and after?

- Do you like being on the ridge? If so, what do you like about it? If

not, why don\'t you like it?

### The Culture Context

Working in a culture centre often involves risk and exposure. You commit

to challenging projects with hairy reporting, take responsibility for a

shaky budget, or take the lead in a new performance. You can also feel

exposed in your team or towards the authorities.

In our view, exposure and risk are integral parts of the experience of

our work in culture. They provide the salt, the seriousness, the

excitement. However, being in these situations can also wear you out, if

you are not aware of the risk or if your skills don't match the terrain.

- When and where are you exposed at work? How makes up your personal


- What is the reward after you have mastered an exposed situation at


- What are the skills and conditions needed for exposure to positively

impact you?

- How long can you handle exposure?

- Do you know people that were exposed for too long?

- Can you be not exposed enough?

A ridge is like the edge of a knife[, just with rock instead of

steel, and maybe not as sharp.]

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