Today’s guest post is by john gieryn, founder of Indy Art | Media Co-op (iAMCo-op) and a longtime community organizer.
Guest post by john gieryn
Until recently, I had thought little about what “property” actually means, let alone what it means socially. My name’s john; I’ve been working in the collaborative arts of community organizing for about 7 years. I advocate for decision-making that emboldens the disenfranchised (people from underserved communities) to have equal opportunities to participate and engage.
I believe we need to flatten the table, and make it possible for anyone to reciprocally engage and thereby build trust with others in their local community. No matter what the participant’s trust level is at the outset, we can build trust through practicing collaboration together.
After working towards social change through labor and food, I began to see the arts as a critical tool, especially when combining digital communication technologies with the arts. The above infographic shows the initial inspiration for creating the nonprofit, Indy Art | Media Co-op (iAMCo-op). A big motivator was Indianapolis’s lack of connectivity; this continues to challenge our collaborative efforts. If you live here, I’m sure you’ve come across someone and thought,
- “I wish I knew you 2 years ago,” or
- “why aren’t you connected with Kelly who’s doing the same work?”
Transportation and limited time are part of the problem, but we see an opportune solution with rapidly evolving communication tools and the internet.
The project has progressed a lot since its initiation as a monthly movie screening: now, iAMCo-op is a collective of makers, tinkerers, & creatives who are launching Indianapolis’s first Tool Lending Library. The library shares media-production & event-equipment. We practice real co-ownership with collaborative budgeting and collective decision-making processes. Our hard launch will be in early October (in partnership with Kheprw Institute).
We are excited to invite others to join us! You can join iAMCo-op by participating as a member, spreading the word, or just observing the process, as we aim to have an open source model for others to replicate.
Our theory of change is based first in reciprocity and abundance (the opposite of poverty-mindset, in belief that we have what we need to move forward). From years of co-operative experience, we are developing a shared language around:
- mutual accountability
- dedication to restorative practices of conflict resolution
That means we adopt approaches that consider and include all of the stakeholders/ affected parties of an issue. We understand that “property” is actually a social relationship, and so we advocate for what’s known as the commons—a way of holding a resource collectively that builds trust and creates & strengthens relationships.
Want to see what we’re up to? I’ve been contracted by Scarabys Consulting to present on the power of deciding things online, on your time, in a presentation I call “Access // Digital // Power”
Where: 3549 Boulevard Pl. (Kheprw Institute)
When: (9/18) third Sunday of September, 3:00-5:00pm
Interested in tool sharing or co-creating? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or come by an iTooLL work-party, also on third Sundays at 3549 Boulevard Pl. (September’s will follow the aforementioned presentation, future work-parties will start at 4pm). Feel free to just hang out and observe, or join us in building the library through carpentry, online data entry, and—next week—letter writing. Snacks often provided, and very welcome.
You can also spread the word and follow us on twitter or instagram @iamcoop317.