Preamble: Why Scholarship Memberships Are Important
Scholarship memberships ensure that there is a variety of incomes amongst members here. It is helpful for everyone to be around those making different amounts of money each year. It is helpful for those making very little money to be around those making very good money to realize that they are worthy of making what they would like to make. It is inspirational for those making a good bit of money each year to realize that sometimes there is more to work for than money.
Cap scholarship membership to 33% of the total membership. Scholarship memberships will be filled on a first come first serve basis. Once all spots are filled we will start a waiting list for the next scholarship spot to come available. If we fill all scholarship spots and then loose members at the regular membership level so that the group consists of more than 33% scholarship members we will not ask any scholarship members to leave. We will wait for attrition to rebalance membership before taking on more scholarship members.
Current Numbers as of 12/7/2012
15 out of 58 [26%] of our members are scholarship members.
8 more scholarship memberships would be available with our current member distribution if this proposal passes.
Public Perception – It is important that we maintain an image as a supportive workplace where anyone is worthy of working here. We cannot be known as just a place where you can get cheap rent. Being the cheap place to have office space would devalue the space for non-scholarship members and attract scholarship members that do not value the community.
Business Viability – We make very little money on scholarship members. If our membership consists disproportionately of scholarship members we will not make enough revenue.
Other Relevant Facts
Membership is $250/month for a flexible desk membership
Membership is $380/month for a reserved desk membership
Those making less than $35,000/year can pay $160/month for a scholarship membership
Those making less than $20,000/year can pay $50/month for a scholarship membership
Change Permanent desk membership rate from $495 to $380
Lower the single largest barrier of entry to becoming a member of our community.
Encourage current members to refer new members.
Set our prices closer to market rate of services that are seen as similar. (We provide office space, but we are fundamentally different from private offices or executive suites.)
How We Will Make up the Difference
I am asking members currently paying the grandfathered rate of $160 to volunteer to pay the new rate of $250. A few members have said that they would likely do this.
We will need:
11 (10.5 more accurately) members currently paying $160 to volunteer to pay $250
4 new members sign up
A combination of the two
Rates of Sort of Similar Services
This chart is only a comparison of only our rates NOT amenities and services. Most importantly, none of these places have the community that we do. It is sort of misleading to really compare all of these directly. Interactive Chart
We have started the membership drive! Our first meeting was hugely productive, establishing many of our initial priorities and objectives. Some simple and some quite complex. Thank you Tom Boeker and Molly Danielson for your help in getting the ideas flowing in our initial meeting. Our first two immediately actionable tasks resulting from our first meeting were tidying up a bit and conducting a brief survey of members. Aimee, Tom, and I spent a whole morning (and a bit more) making all of our resources more accessible and visually appealing. Member Scott Crabtree of Happy Brain Science suggested that we conduct a Net Promoter Score survey of members to test how willing members are to recommend this place to other people. The responses have been and continue to be hugely informative. If you are a member please fill out the survey. It will take less than five minutes and will be extremely helpful in knowing what we can do to make Collective Agency even better.
Our next steps will be to continue gathering information and resources that our community might have to offer. Concurrent to gathering resources we will be starting the outreach effort in full force. Do you know of an event or meeting you think a representative of Collective Agency should attend? Let us know and either Aimee or I will do our best to be there. Or, even better, go yourself and remember to tell the group about Collective Agency.
We are currently exploring more ways to collect feedback including a more in-depth member survey and a general feedback box or form. In the meantime, please comment on this post or send Aimee or I an email.
Any member can call a vote at “Collective Agency” on anything that people here care about and is actionable. Here is how I did.
I outlined a quick chart with a problem statement, proposed solutions, and a place to tally votes. Simply walking around and telling people here about it seemed to be very motivating. We had 100% turnout for those who were here and knew about the vote. We even had one write in, Option C to get a second opinion of the best pest control solution. In just a few minutes everyone had cast their vote, and Option B won handily at 7-1-1. We keep the plants! We had a question of what to do that affected the whole community, and we came to an immediately actionable conclusion. So, if you see a decision that needs to be made around “Collective Agency” call a vote and do something!
Thursday, December 1st, 4pm-7pm, we will welcome Sam and Emanuel to the Coordinating Council with a potluck-style party here.
There are two new candidates for the two new positions on the Coordinating Council, to be representatives, one of paid members, and one of non-members, December 1 through June 15. With only one candidate per open position we will not be voting for this election. Emanuel Costache will represent paid members and Sam Balter will represent non-members. Learn a little bit more about them below.
2) Skills? What skills do you bring that you want do?
I bring, unfortunately, more than two years experience doing management consulting in higher education. I say unfortunately because though my firm’s mission is a semi-noble one — to help colleges and universities use grant funds effectively so to better serve students — the money often comes with mandates rooted in old thinking about what successful initiatives look like. The most successful projects I’ve seen turn away from tried/tired models, bend the rules, tackle “impossible” problems, and, in doing so, do something cool. I am badly in want of doing something cool.
For the two years prior to that stuff, I lived in a coop with twenty-four others. The glue that held us together was served as a vegetarian dinner, Sunday through Thursday, at the unholy-early hour of 6:30 pm. We took turns cooking in small groups, we took pride in our dishes. We managed, somehow, to make enough food. Our funds were pooled and every expenditure approved by consensus vote. From preferred apiary to laundry detergent. We had a lot of meetings.
My second year, I acted as treasurer of the party fund — money we collected separately from essentials fund. I asked from each only according to his/her ability. Near the end of the year, I noticed we’d cut costs 20% by taking note of which wines people actually drank and only buying those, not serving margaritas when it was snowing, and replacing plastic cups with decent glasses. (Whereas red plastic cups seem to scream praise for the excesses of frat boy delinquency, a glass made of glass, well, it even rhymes with “class.”) As for the savings, we voted, of course, to blow it all on the last party.
3) Vision? What do you plan to do?
I want to help the council and members build upon the Herculean amount of work that’s gone into creating this space in order to grow it into a sustainable organization.
If Alex, Fitz, and Summer disappeared to Alaska tomorrow, the future of CA would depend entirely on another small group stepping up to fill their shoes with equal vigor and double socks. I want to be a part of an organization where one wo/man’s drive isn’t the only driving force keeping the thing afloat; where we are all — to some degree — always-already filling each other’s shoes.
4) Learn? What do you want to learn in this experience?
I want to learn about organizational democracy from Alex. I want to meet everyone I share this space with; I want to hear their stories and learn from their experiences. One of my favorite teachers always seemed to speak in paragraphs… I want to do that and the only path I see to getting there is littered with lots and lots of conversations. Let’s chat.
More than anything the Coordinating Council needs doers. Everyone that I have interacted with here at “Collective Agency” is competent and motivated. The real question when considering additional members to the Coordinating Council is, “are they willing to put in the work?”
That being said, this is why I chose to be on the Coordinating Council, and it’s not just so that I can “do” things: A personal mantra of mine is “relationships matter”. My position on the Coordinating Council allows me the opportunity to build a community that values personal interaction and relationships. “Collective Agency” is more than a workplace. It is a cozy, nurturing, and relational place to work, and my position on the Coordinating Council helped me make it that way.
The Coordinating Council is an opportunity to make what we want out of this place. So, I guess it is a place for doers and doing things.
October 19th, 2011 – Old Town, Portland, Oregon: “Collective Agency” is growing fast, and Alex Linsker, Summer Abbott and Fitz Ryland are asking for 2 more people to step up and lead with them on the Coordinating Council. There will be elections.
“Collective Agency” is a supportive and nurturing workplace in Portland’s Old Town for people to self-organize work they’re passionate about and committed to.
The Coordinating Council members make decisions about what happens here overall. They ask for advice and listen to what people say they want, inspire and support people to do what they care about, and often do the hands-on work.
Calls to action:
Nominate yourself November 1st & 2nd, at the “Collective Agency” Election Central webpage, or think about who might be even better for the role.
Come vote during Voting Week, November 14th-18th.
Then come to the December 1st welcome party.
All are welcome to come to the wooden voting booth during Voting Week, November 14-18. “Collective Agency” is open to the public 9am to 5pm, Monday-Friday, and will be specially open for voting until 8pm Friday, when votes will be publicly counted. Each person can vote for two representative positions: a paid member, and a non-member. Ballots can also be mailed.
“Why be on the Coordinating Council?” asks Fitz Ryland, a current Coordinating Council member. “Do things you’re passionate about. Help others do what they’re passionate about, and good things will come.”
* * *
Visit Election Central on the website, come and work here at 322 NW Sixth Ave, Suite 200, and/or contact the candidates yourself. They’re friendly and want to say hi.
In this opening at the new interdisciplinary workplace-gallery loft: Fitzhugh Ryland’s “Profile” encourages the viewer to find his or her center, Careen Stoll’s ceramics comfort via her carbon-neutral kiln, Dunbar Aitkens’ “Glass Plate Game” facilitates conversations, Alex DeSpain’s “Shapes” represent unity through diversity, and Maggie Nichols shares some lines and colors.
Place: “Collective Agency” Address: 322 NW Sixth Ave (between Everett & Flanders), 2nd Floor, Portland, Oregon 97209 Open: to the public Mon-Fri 9-5, and First Thursdays 6-9pm. This show will run September through November. Contact: Phone: (503) 517-6900
Fax: (503) 517-6901
Email: Council@CollectiveAgency.co Website: http://CollectiveAgency.co
On the bookshelf, a sampling of current functional work:
Porcelain, clear soda glaze
Belly Pitcher 65
Two tumblers 45 each
Cup fired twice 15
Little celadon bottle 30
Winged plate 30
Winged bowl 15
Oval lunch plate 45
Oval toast plate 25
Oval bowl 35
Flared bowl 65
RC Brunch Box sample 30. Comes in padded envelope.
Clay With A Conscience
I design my pots to be comfortable and minimal. Think of beach stones and soft bodies: a full curve, muted color, asymmetry and dimples. I choose porcelain for its working qualities and skin-silky touch. As the densest clay available, it becomes impervious when fired to 2300 degrees in my highly innovative kiln. In keeping with strong environmental ethics, I built an efficient kiln that fires primarily on waste vegetable oil in a carbon-neutral footprint. Trained in the use of reduction-cooling methods, I achieve a palette of red, orange, and salmon in the porcelain’s unglazed exterior. I also use a smooth dark stoneware that registers brick red, violet and black tones with yellow ash. Pots from my kiln resemble wood-fired work and are finished with a light coating of clear soda glaze to make a smooth eating surface. I dabble in sculpture; mostly I make durable dishes for everyday use.
We crave comfort in a world whose only constant is change. What generates comfort? Time-honored rituals, pleasant memories associated with a space or encounter. Sometimes we may find a memento to embody the favorite memory. Handmade dishes live in this lovely limbo between simple service ware and ritual object. We can still create environments that speak of generosity and sensory comfort. When food is prepared and presented mindfully, I find a nourishment far beyond simply eating.
Info about the work here at Collective Agency:
I am delighted for my work to be exhibited in a space whose operating principals are so close to my heart. Should you wish to meet me or visit the studio and carbon-neutral kiln, the best time is during the Portland Open Studios tour in October.
On this shelf is a sampling of my everyday dishes. Feel free to hold them and imagine them in daily use. They are designed for heirloom quality and longevity. Fine in the oven and dishwasher.
The RC brunchbox is a special project for Research Club, designed to be held while snacking and chatting at Sunday brunch, then tucked away into an envelope for light-hearted transport to the next event.
Other work is selected to suit the space. Some of it was wood-fired for days or fired twice in my kiln. If it is for sale, there is a small tag on it. Or you can ask Alex for the price list.
Glass Plate Game
Cardboard box, ink on wooden squares, plastic squares, ink on cardboard cards, instructions on paper.
The Glass Plate Game, inspired by Hermann Hesse’s Glass Bead Game, is essentially a conversation in the trappings of a board game. Hesse’s game us alluded to as a The idea is to spark creative and interesting dialog as the players explore connections between ideas against a dynamic mosaic map. There are no winners or losers. There is no order of play. Conversation continues throughout, and anyone can make a move at any time. The end result is an artifact of the conversation. The “game board” makes it easy to follow the twists and turns of the conversation.
Co-creator Dunbar Aitkens will be visiting to help lead the session. We will begin with an introduction to the game followed by a period of idea card making to especially bring concepts from players’ own projects and interests into the card deck, then launch right into playing. Stay for the 3rd hour, and we’ll build Glass Plate Game sets for everyone who’d like one to take with them. The sets contain “idea cards” for composing the mosaic and wooden cubes and colored transparencies for tracking the thread of thought.
Come for fun, friends, and stimulating conversation.
On First Thursdays September and October (see link above), there will be a private game and a public game at Collective Agency, each led by experienced players. The private game will begin with an introduction to the game then launch right into playing. The public game will be open for passer-by.
Players are also encouraged to make their own cards and their own versions of the game.
As a response to a world driven by decontextualized images and reproductions, the dynamic and shifting nature of this project necessitates the literal presence of the viewer. By allowing the viewer to manipulate the space and content of this piece I encourage the viewer to find his or her own center.