Our project is currently in the ideation and research phase in which we are looking at the collaboration between The New School (TNS) and external partnerships that, specifically, work with “communities.” The reach of the work of TNS and communities outside of the university spans the globe. Several projects that have grown out of the work of TNS faculty and students have been successful examples of sustained multi-year projects, but the majority of work done with external stakeholders considered “community” are somehow impacted by the incentive structures inherent to the systems at play in scholarly work. Due to the academic calendar, construction of projects based in the semester framework, the unseen variables of incentive, motivation, and expectation construct many of the obstacles to developing work that is transformative and sustainable through many of the accepted models of pedagogy currently in use. These experiences shape the practices of our students, and shape the perception of the capabilities and purpose of TNS to those who outside of the institution and have the potential to make a vast impact.
Our solution, at this stage, is a bit of a moving target. We envision that our deliverable may take the form of interventions in curricula, a toolkit that functions as an artifact to uncover the difficult to discuss variables of collaboration, new models or processes for validation of partnerships, or new models of partnership/collaboration that can facilitate more successful, enduring, and meaningful “community” work.