I don’t know why, but I found myself thinking about the Mayor’s Arts and Theatres Task Force, currently examining Toronto’s arts support and the future of three City-owned theatres, when reading If You’re Serious about System Reform, Peter Block Has a Recipe for You in Maytree’s October newsletter .
Block says that real institutional or structural reform comes from redefining power, control and engagement. “Most of our current efforts have little to do with reform. They are at best efforts to make things a little better, a little less expensive, and at worst they are punitive strategies masquerading under the banner of reform.”
If the City is interested in reforming its approach to supporting the arts (and other municipal systems) here’s how Peter Block thinks they should be approaching it:
Serious reform means that there is a fundamental shift in the nature of relationships among the players.
This shift in relationship begins with a shift in who is authorized to speak: whose voice counts.
When we re-authorize whose voice counts, there is a shift in where control resides.
Shifting control leads to new forms of engagement. The players whom the system is designed to serve are now the center of the action; they realize they have the real power to create the future they have in mind for themselves…determined by the way we come together, not by new policy, program or expert design.
And finally, some advice for artists, the arts community and everyone else concerned about our City’s future:
Government reform will have all of us deciding that we are citizens producing a good life for ourselves…
What this calls us to remember is that it is in the nature of…citizens to lead the fundamental shifts that we all seek.
Register for Creating Change Through Consent and Connectedness an upcoming tele-learning seminar with Peter Block
Find more articles by Peter on his websiteDiscover more of Peter’s writing on community at the Abundant Community website