A Toolkit for Gathering


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A guide for artists, designers, and other creative professionals by Rachel Berger, with Meg Bisineer, Sara Dean, and Janette Kim.

Every profession gathers. From conferences to convenings, residencies to retreats, we each have discipline-driven concepts of what it means to get together. These default formats (conferences, retreats, meetings, critiques, residencies) have their attendant clichés, many of which have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Defaults might seem efficient, but they rarely take full advantage of the value of getting together. There are simple ways to make professional gatherings more meaningful, productive, and joyful. This book presents a kit of tools on a spectrum from practical to poetic, alongside concrete, replicable tactics and provocations for new tools.

Originally conceived as the authors planned and participated in a two-day gathering at the residency program This Will Take Time in Point Arena, California in summer 2019, this books was written and designed over the subsequent year—a year of deferrals and uncertainty and impossible working conditions. It comes now just in time for others to share in the knowledge gleaned from the group's approaches to the ways they could share ideas and build dialogue.

Created to help others plan more fulfilling and less generic gatherings, all readers are invited to enjoy the shared curiosity, spontaneous invention, and surprising insights made possible by getting together—in whatever mode possible!

Includes a short list of further reading.

Designed by Rachel Berger

Risograph printed and spiral bound at California College of the Arts, 2021
Printed in a limited edition of 250 copies

Softcover, red spiral wire binding, 124 pages, 2-color Risograph, 5.5 × 8.5 inches

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