Introducing CoRe Jolts

Welcome to CoRe Jolts!  This blog is a fundraising project for the CoRe Conflict Resolution Clinic at UBC.  The CoRe Clinic is a registered charity that provides affordable mediation services and conflict resolution information through the dedicated work of volunteer law students and professional mediators who donate their services as mentors.

The idea for CoRe Jolts has been percolating for just over a year now.  Over that time it’s undergone a few minor changes, but it’s still the combination of a few ideas that I chanced upon together – a moment of combinational creativity (a topic I plan to come back to throughout the year) or just plain fortuity.  As I recall, CoRe fundraising was an ever-present concern: we’d recently learned that gaming funding cuts would have a big impact on our sustainability and we were all brainstorming about fundraising options that didn’t involve calling all our friends every year and begging for money.  I’d just finished a presentation on impasse breaking for the Small Claims Mediator roster and had generated a gross overload of ideas for “jolts” – no doubt inspired by Kat Koppett‘s session “Jolts, Exercises and Frame Games” at the Applied Improvisation Network conference in Portland.  And then I stumbled across The Uniform Project – a creative fundraising and sustainability project in which Sheena Matheiken pledged to wear a single black dress in multiple variations for 365 days to raise money for a foundation she believes in.  Eureka!  CoRe Jolts: weekly “jolts” for mediators as a CoRe fundraiser!  Can’t imagine why I didn’t think of it sooner …

Of course, I can imagine why the idea waited until I was primed for creativity and able to see the combinational opportunities, and that’s what’s behind one of the purposes of CoRe Jolts. We all need jolts from time to time.  Koppett, speaking about training exercises – defines jolts as “short activities designed to change attitudes of mindsets.”  As mediators, we may use the term in the same way in reference to many impasse breaking techniques, but might also apply it to quick means of re-engaging our own creativity.  I’m planning to collect jolts for use in mediation, jolts for mediators and jolts that make me think about any aspect of my work differently – even if only for a moment.

You can expect some common themes in these jolts, especially in the beginning.  I’ll start by sharing what I know best and have used the most myself, so you’ll definitely see jolts about applied improvisational theatre games, jolts drawn from popular culture, and jolts from my teaching practice (I’m jolted several times a term by new perspectives on something I have said dozens of time before.)  I’ll also bring together new ideas from my readings, new experiences and probably lots of ideas that emerge simply from the process of keeping up the blog.  After all, one of the most important rules for creativity amongst improvisers is to nurture spontaneity.  Committing to weekly blogs will serve the purpose of limiting my time for over-thinking and force me to work with whatever ideas I have at the time.  I’m hoping that it will be a lot like improvisation in its benefits – with a little more editing time to eliminate the worst groaners.

This project will work best with collaboration, of course, so please add your comments!  Feel free to riff off anything you see here, but help me in return by providing your thoughts, too.  It’s bound to produce even better ideas!

I hope that mediators and others who like the ideas and resources will donate to support the operations of the CoRe Clinic (or become a member of CoRe).  As well, the weekly “jolts” will be collected for publication as a handy tool to carry into mediations.  That tool will be available for sale with all profits going directly to support the Clinic.


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