Welcome to the International Journal of Collaborative Practices. The Journal brings together members of a growing international community of practitioners, scholars, educators, researchers, and consultants from diverse disciplines who are interested in collaborative-dialogical practice based in postmodern-social construction-dialogical assumptions. This community responds to important questions in social and human sciences such as:
How can our practices have relevance for the people we meet in our fast changing world? What will this relevance accomplish? And, who determines it?
Globalization and technology have influenced a rhizomatic spawning of social, cultural, political, and economic transformations. Concomitantly they have influenced a shrinking interdependent world and one in which segmentation of peoples, ideologies, and values prevail. Yet, though for different reasons, people increasingly want to participate, contribute, and share ownership in decisions about their daily lives and their futures. Our traditional perspectives and mainstream practices of producing knowledge, solving problems and creating change no longer meet the unavoidable contemporary complexities inherent in these rapid changes and the challenges they present. We are compelled by these challenges and people’s voices to continually reassess how we understand the world we live in, how we respond to the people we meet, the relevancy of our practice tools, and our way of being with others.
The International Journal of Collaborative Practices is designed as one part of a timely and valuable response to these challenges. It aims to spotlight interconnected issues such as: 1) the juxtaposition of democracy, social justice, and human rights; 2) the importance of people’s voices locally and globally; and 3) the fundamental need for collaboration. Toward this aim, the Journal publishes articles on a variety of practices from various disciplines and contexts and across cultures, and it encourages the inclusion of well-published authors and those who are just beginning to write about their work.
We welcome comments, questions and submissions. Please let us hear from you and please share news about the Journal with your colleagues.
The International Journal of Collaborative Practices provides a bilingual forum for the exchange of ideas and practices from diverse practitioners and scholars around the world. This forum aims to help produce and promote relationally responsive-dialogical processes which generate new opportunities and new futures in our working and living together locally and globally. The Journal is peer reviewed and seeks to feature known published and newly writing authors.
This issue features four articles from practitioners and scholars in Australia, Czech Republic, Denmark and Mexico. Storch and Shotter open the Article section with a thought-provoking article on a style of organizational learning and leadership in which they suggest a “certain dialogical style of intra-acting—involving informal forms of talk, responsive listening, and the noticing of subtle aspects of people’s expressions”. Chaveste and Molina share their presentation at the Bateson and Rhizome Century Conference in Vancouver, Canada in the fall of 2012. Creatively using multiple metaphorical images and the metaphors of “crabs” and starfish”, they spoke about the importance of, and how they integrate, their clients’ traditions of history, beliefs and ways of doing things, along with the inherited cultural meanings and the connection with collaborative practice. Elena Fernandez contributes inviting ideas about writing as a form of therapeutic process and includes some writing exercises to encourage readers to write. Reflections on the influence of social construction theory and collaborative dialogue on a lawyer’s journey of re-discovering and re-creating himself in his personal and professional relationships by Bill Ash concludes the section.
This issue’s essay is a polyphonic musing on an innovative collaborative experience across the ocean from voices in the Czech Republic and Mexico. Each author shares his or her unique application of working collaboratively and approaching their work from a relational-dialogical perspective, and serves as an invitation and catalyst for dialogue.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Frequently Asked Question section offers a four person dialogue inspired by the often-asked question: Is Collaborative Practice “politically sensitive”, and if so, how? I invite you to join in their polyphonic dialogue.
From the Bookshelf
From the Bookshelf features reflective essays by Chrystal Fullen on Nelson Mandela’s A Long Walk to Freedom; Chrystal was born in South Africa and is now studying psychology at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio Texas. We are pleased that we can, in this small way, honor the life contributions of Mandela’s quest for a more fair and just world. The reflection on Emma Donoguhue’s Room was written by participants in a narrative and writing course at Grupo Campos Eliseos, a postgraduate training institute in Mexico City. Each reflection clearly reveals the inner dialogues that the books’ authors invited in our reflecting authors as they read and reflected on the selected book.
New this Issue
Poetry and Art: “Floating Pink Shaman”
We are delighted to introduce you to writer Xánath Caraza and artist Thomas Pecore Weso.
Caraza de Holland writes poetry, short stories and fiction. Corazón Pintado, the book in which her poem “Floating Pink Shaman” is published was honored as a 2012 Top Latino Book. Her more recent Conjuro was selected by Latino Stories 2013 as the # 1 Top Ten “New” Latino Authors to Watch (and Read). Originally from Xalapa Veracruz, Mexico, she currently lives and teaches Spanish, Conversation and Composition at the University of Missouri Kansas City. Her own words express our inclusion of her work in this Journal
“I love and enjoy teaching,” Caraza said. “I like to help people discover the Latino culture through language. Becoming proficient in a second language is like living in two worlds; you’re in two languages all the time….Learn as many languages as you can and enjoy the process of learning….Learning…will open the world and give you many opportunities in many ways, personally and professionally. ”
Weso, an artist and educator, grew up surrounded by the rich artistic tradition of his Menominee and Potawatomi Indian family in northern Wisconsin. His Grandfather Moon Wesho, a prominent leader, and Uncle Monroe (Buddy) Weso were his first instructors in wood carving, drawing, plant lore, and spirituality. This Woodlands cultural background of the Bear and Turle Clans influences Weso’s artistic choice of vivid palette and balance of plant-derived designs against a background that reverses into foreground. This dynamism is apparent in a sequence of drawings and paintings set in the Arizona desert north of Phoenix. The influence of his culture cannot be better expressed than in his words
“Everything I do is “Indian” art whether it is obvious or not. Landscapes are important to me, because Native identity is tied to the land. A landscape has its own spirit; it is neither dead nor alive, and the presence of land adds spirituality to a painting…My maternal grandfather and uncles taught me my overall outlook, which is visible in these paintings. I accompanied my grandfather to Native American Church services, where I learned the presence of visionary realities.”
Weso is also a writer and researcher. He focuses on indigenous studies and his writings include both personal essays and academic publications. Floating Pink Shaman in this issue is part of his Shaman Collection.
Article in Chinese: “The Practice of Collaborative Dialogue in Education – The Case of Kai-Ping Culinary School”
I am delighted to include our first article in Chinese. The principal of the Taipei Kai-Ping Culinary School in Taipei, Taiwan writes about the educational philosophy and practice at his school. Principal Hsia Hui-wen’s father founded the school 60 years ago as a comprehensive multi-vocation school and shortly after the Principal took over the leadership the school became solely a culinary school focused on cooking and all aspect of the food, beverage and restaurant as a career. Principal Hsai is known as a far-sighted educational reformer who believes that educational systems should be collaborative and should provide a learning environment that is an opportunity for life-long personal development. The publication of this article is in honor and celebration of the Culinary School’s 60 year anniversary. Though the article is in Chinese, it includes introductory and afterwards reflections by Shi-Jiuan Wu: her words are appetizers for the English reader. The English and Spanish translations of this article will appear in Issue 5 of the International Journal of Collaborative Practices.
I invite you to step back, pause and reflect on your own practice as you engage with the authors in this issue. We welcome your comments, contributions to our blog, and article submissions. Our authors and readers would love to hear from you.
The Journal is collaboratively published by the Houston Galveston Institute, the Taos Institute and the Psychology Department of Our Lady of the Lake University. It relies on volunteers for all aspects of its production. This issue was made possible by the help of volunteers including translators Adriana Gil-Wilkerson, Gabriela Nunez, Alejandra Proaño and Patricia Ruiz de Santiago y Nevarez. I especially thank my Journal Team–Megan Harris, Victoria Lu and Manjushree Palit–for their assistance in editing, formatting and producing this issue.
We are grateful to Sara London, a Mexico City artist now living in Texas, for contributing her artwork for the Journal banner. The banner is a fragment of a painting titled in Spanish “Red EnRedando.” The title reflects the richness of language and the complexity of translation, loosely translated the title refers to “net, netting, networking.” “EnRedando” speaks to the process of entangling and “red” means net. Sara describes the painting: “Conversations and relationships provide the threads that create a net that holds the members of the community and allows them to connect, exchange, and venture beyond the familiar and explore new possibilities.”
The Journal is published in English and Spanish
2 issues per year (spring and fall)
The Journal is an open-access on-line publication that is offered in the spirit of promoting community and collaboration across cultures, contexts and disciplines.