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4619 N. Ravenswood Ave., Ste 305
Chicago, IL 60640
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We are a multidisciplinary innovation studio working with diverse partners to understand sustainability challenges and identify holistic, resilient solutions, and we are committed to training the next generation of leaders.

Blog

Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.

City Limits?

Peter Nicholson

Oberlin Diaries 1*: Forging Adjacencies
I’m living on an island. Surrounded by fields instead of water, the small Ohio town of some 8000 residents to which I’ve temporarily relocated is still an island. It’s quiet, pastoral, isolated, and yet connected to the other islands, and eventually the Cleveland-area mainland, by causeways extending in several directions across the fertile moat. As the 1972 “Blue Marble” picture of the Earth first poignantly highlighted, “islands" can come in different scales. I’ve come here not so much to teach how to save our islands, but rather to better understand our interconnectedness to them, and to one another. The lesson begins at the first hello, the first awkward pause in conversation, my first class with a young group from diverse locales, racial identities and economic situations. We are initially isolated by our difference. We also know, hopefully, that over the course of two weeks of teaching-learning together, new bonds will emerge that define, however momentarily, a common ground from the collective effort of conveying and comprehending. I hunger for it. Internally, I’m driven to not so much resolve our differences, as to discover the way they will piece together and inflect one another, as the crops rise from the surrounding fields, and we whirl through magnificent space.



*Peter is in Oberlin, OH (pop 8,251) teaching Artistic Responses to Climate Change that is part of the Foresight Prep @ Oberlin College national high school summer program.