Enterprise Thursday@Launchgrad

There was a reason my office space was invaded by Hagrid and a headless Troll yesterday; it was Enterprise Thursday for Launchgrad.

Enterprise@HCA has taken on its own identity. We have larger, more formal sessions with students planned this year, but the ‘open’ space discussion/ideas group (for want of a better word) which started last year has, fantastically, continued post-graduation and I was proud to welcome three recent graduates and four current students to the Library at CRC yesterday.

We’d decided to go ‘rhizome’ for the session, riffing off Lou Mycroft’s ideas and thoughts in her ‘Designing the Jobs of the Future’ session last year to let the session remain an open space full of possibilities.

And we ended up REALLY going rhizome and using Kay Sidebottom’s Community Open Online Course in post-human education prompts to explore the idea further as a group. This course is also part of Kay’s postgraduate research.

We talked about some amazing rhizomatic plants. Some examples were nettles (love this thought for nettles are so protective/protected and seen as negative by their sting, but are also hugely nourishing when eaten), and also ivy, which again is seen as so negative by humans but which protects a whole fragile ecosystem (whilst keeping us out until we tear it down). We also talked about ground elder, similarly seen as a scourge but a plant of great beauty.

Our conversations echoed themes of rhizomes as subversive and powerful – unboundaried, surprising and unexpected.

Next we sketched out our ideas of rhizome, using paper and pen – and also lego – with one of us creating an assemblage from found objects. On reflection, lego probably isn’t the best material for embodying ideas of rhizome; but it was amazing to watch these structures being built, then rebuilt, then re-balanced by one member of the group. I wish that I might have filmed this in slow motion (and her thoughts were about constant negotiation and re-negotiation). And lego does have nodules (thank-you to the graduate who pointed this out as it is something I’ve never thought about – how lego joins together).

We all found different things in our ideas of rhizome. For one it was the power of roots to break through concrete; infiltrate seemingly tame spaces by force. For another it was the rhizome as part of darkness and light; spreading down as well as upwards. For a further student it was the idea of tiny nodes, all sparking with energy and creating further tendrils/connections (I love this). One depiction of rhizome completely took control, weaving and waving through the text; forming a different kind of narrative passageway which would be an amazing idea to explore further.

The assemblage was so interesting, too – a real storytelling of past experience through objects which shared past rhizomatic connections whilst making new connections and ideas of its own.

With kind permission from our group I have posted our images from the session below and in the journal of unfinished ideas, plus some poems and other ideas we talked about and which were sent to me later – thank-you! Anyone who couldn’t make the session is very welcome to also post and join in.

Kay’s free open online course on post-humanist education is here, although she is now doing other things. It contains a wealth of interesting materials and reading matter, including extracts from Deleuze and Guattari’s ‘A Thousand Plateaus’. Kay also highlighted a video of a Donna Haraway lecture which isn’t in her reading list so I’m linking to it here. I’ve curated some more interesting ideas, alongside our own, on our Journal of Unfinished Ideas II.

Our homework for the next session borrows Kay’s question on the course:

What kind of rhizomatic networks are you a part of? How do they work and what do they mean to you? Are there any downsides…or challenges presented?

Look forward to listening to your answers! You can share these next session or post on the padlet board below (and feel free to also share any images/ideas/texts that you think of).

Looking forward to carrying on the conversation next time – Sarah

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