Per his blog post from 5/18/2011, it appears that New England Conservatory president Tony Woodcock has declined my invitation to employ a community engagement exercise in the form of a live public discussion to examine a number of the issues he has been writing about over recent weeks. He feels “this is a topic for more than two voices” and I couldn’t agree more, which is precisely why I proposed that our event be open to the public…
In addition to being webcast live and that we engage questions and observations from those in attendance and watching online. It should actively engage a broader group of stakeholders in a fashion that reaches beyond the limitations of a fixed, turn based format that is blogging.
It should be moderated by a mutually agreed upon individual with no vested interests, be free of parameters set by any single perspective, and not shy away from any single topic. But before I get too far ahead of myself, I should point out that Tony offered an invitation to participate in what he’s calling a “virtual symposium” where he will invite individuals to cover what he defines as “the orchestra problem” and publish them at his blog.
Tony sent me a direct message with the same invitation and in the spirit of transparency, my reply follows:
Thank you very much for your note and the offer to participate in your virtual symposium. However, I must decline as although I think the idea has some merit, Tony’s Blog would be an incompatible venue due to an inherent conflict of interest vis-à-vis your established views. But perhaps more importantly, I would add that it would be redundant as there is already a dynamic discussion underway via the numerous posts and articles throughout the cultural blogging community and mainstream media, many of which are already interlinked.
I hope that you will reconsider my original offer as the critical component missing from the sort of dynamic online exchange currently underway in written format is the palpable element of live interaction. Clearly, the current discussions are merely variations of a debate that has been unfolding for decades and will likely continue for decades to come. Engaging in a live, moderated conversation that can be extended to a much wider participation level via interactive webcast has considerable value at this point in time by providing a forum to dig deeper into specific issues in such a way that will help others form thoughts and ideas. After all, look at how successful the YouTube Symphony event was thanks to its broadcast components.
I doubt anyone will consider either of our voices as a definitive position on any of these issues but what it will provide is a great deal of additional depth and expression to what has unfolded in the very two dimensional environment of blogging. Consequently, my original offer stands and I happy to begin putting plans into motion including, but not limited to, selecting a date, time, venue, format, and moderator. To that end, I’m also happy to conduct the entire process with complete transparency by publicly hashing out the details online.