I learned from LISTEN, see chapter 6, that I wanted to continue my work on the role of objects in facilitation, but this time, I wanted to be in charge of the quirky weirdness of form, and to find a project partner who would be open to trying out unexpected objects for meetings, rather than determining the form of the objects together with non-arts partners. I knew Esteban Kelly, a founding member of Anti-Oppression Resource and Training Alliance (AORTA), a worker-owned cooperative devoted to “strengthening movements for social justice and a solidarity economy.” Members of TradeSchool, see chapter 3, New York had hired AORTA to lead a training for our collective in 2011, and I remembered that Esteban used a lot of visual analogies and theater games, and was open to unconventional facilitation techniques. He is based in Philadelphia, and is now the Director of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives. I was excited about the potential for a collaborative project, and by the idea that he was already sharing conflict transformation techniques with worker-owners nationally.

Subject: Conflict transformation in Philly

July 29, 2018


I just found out that I got a fellowship to be in Philly a few times over the next year to make a project at Moore, and I’m wondering if you know a great intensive or coach for conflict transformation. I’m also interested in thinking/talking with you about how we might work together on something—I have been really into making objects that reflect groups’ existing facilitation and listening practices.

Let me know if anything comes to mind for conflict transformation.

In cooperation, Caroline

“What I envision is imagination and critical speculation going together with a material process of transformation of the institutional art field: a process where both autonomy—as the subjective power of the encounter with an artwork—and heteronomy—as the process of erosion of art disciplinary borders into non-art and into the social dimension—are mobilized.” — Marco Baravalle, 2020

July 30, 2018


Sure, I'd be happy to chat. Let me know more about what sort of coaching training you envision. I may have capacity to do that while you’re around, or I might have ideas for referrals if I’m not a good fit.

I'm cc’ing Kevin to help us find a time to chat. I'm pretty available as of next week.


September 27, 2018

Hi Caroline,

Thanks for circling back! I'm just getting back to the office after a few weeks away. The back of the envelope budget range is:

at $200/hr it would be: $1,600 for 4 or $3,200 for 8 sessions

at $250/hr it would be: 2,000 for 4 or $4,000 for 8 sessions

I believe I mentioned our sliding scale in our previous call. It’s similar to how AORTA's rates work. I'll defer to you to figure out what works best for your budget and appropriate scale-fit.

And for the scope of work, you can mention that I'm Esteban of AORTA, if that affiliation is germaine to your proposal, but the agreement would be with the US Federation of Worker Co-ops, not with AORTA. I'm on leave with them till 2019, and AORTA’s deci- sion-making is a whole other beast in terms of even getting 13 co-workers to accept an arrangement like this, and hammering out the terms of that, and having them want to assign my “AORTA” time to other priorities, yadda yadda.

So best to keep it USFWC.



September 27, 2018


This is great news, and yes to going with your role at the US Federation of Worker Co-ops. As for sliding scale, I don’t see the sliding scale for individuals. That said, my salary at the University of Hartford is $62k a year and the budget for labor to make these objects, materials, travel, food, contractors, marketing, and stipends like this is $50k.

This makes me think that 8 sessions for $4000 makes sense, but perhaps each “session” refers to one-on one-training and the fly on the wall time is unpaid, or that it’s $150/hour for one-on-one training and $50/hour to be a fly on the wall, which works out to the same. Does that make sense?

When do we start?

Looking forward to it,


With Esteban on board, I knew I could begin researching and developing ideas for meeting spaces.

I began searching for a space to work with. Daniel Tucker, an artist and faculty member at Moore, suggested a number of possible partners. Patti also introduced me to a number of people with exhibition spaces and unconventional spaces, including Andrew Nurkin at the Free Library. When I spoke to Andrew, everything seemed to align.

October 29, 2018

Hi Caroline,

I’m also excited about collaborating on this. As I have shared our conversation with my colleagues, they have affirmed what an engaging opportunity this will be!

I keep returning to the idea of a kind of lending library for objects and practices that facilitate deep group work, with the “check out” point in our new Heim Center for Cultural and Civic Engagement. This could extend to an installation that functions as a kind of intentional space for this work, open to groups already in process (from community groups to groups of coworkers). I’m sure more ideas will spark as we continue to talk, but I like the link between your work and new ideas about the traditional “lending” role of the library. Specifically, how to see others in a group as experts/knowledge bearers and then enter a process that draws out that knowledge toward a shared goal.

Are we still on for you to visit the library on Nov. 16?



I then began thinking about the meeting space itself, developing furniture for the space, with support from the Rose Art Museum.

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