Successful social learning spaces depend on acts of learning citizenship on the part of everyone. But some people have a knack for making it happen. They can create social spaces where meaningful learning can take place where people are inspired to learn together and to act as learning citizens. We have met a number of these wonderful people in our work and witnessed their art first hand. We call them “social artists.”
We are not entirely sure how they do it, or even if there is a recipe for how it is done. But we know that what they do is important. Their work in key to the development of social learning capability at all levels, from small conversations and communities to large-scale social systems.
It is definitely an art form – expressed in many different ways – that can change the way we experience the world and ourselves. One thing that social artists have in common is that they use their passion and commitment to guide the process and act as exemplary learning citizens. As with artists, they live what they do. Their identity is the wellspring of their ability to create social learning spaces. And as with artists, their contribution often goes unnoticed. We need a language for talking about their art and their contribution. The world will be a better place when their subtle form of leadership is recognized as the key for developing the array of social learning capabilities we urgently need today.
Read more about social artists in this collection of essays by Etienne.
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