Annual Reporting: Two Years of Useful Unemployment
In my professional life, I wrote Annual Reports. It was one of my primary responsibilities.
Most years, I tried to do right by it — crafting a comprehensive narrative rich with anecdote and data about our organization’s year. i I think I did a pretty decent job of it, but the annual report always came late. Since it was our ‘document of record,’ it had to be vetted repeatedly by many people, all of whom had better things to be doing. So the thing would finally get printed, like, a full six months after the year had ended, by which point it seemed stale. Which didn’t really matter, because nobody read them anyway. Yet it just seemed wrong to just not have one.
I still feel some duty to report on my year, even though I’ve been self-employed. Which is also to say ‘unemployed.’ I’ve been busier than ever during this stint of unemployment, and more or less pleased with the fruits of my unpaid labor. But my unemployment benefits ran out in August. If I am to sustain this freedom — and, somehow, someday, earn income, as it seems one must — I should account for what I’ve done with it.
So. Yet again, my Annual Report comes way late, by like nine months this time. (Didn’t even get it in before New Year’s Eve; this time I have no one to blame but myself.) Which makes this really sort of a bi-annual report. I’ll give a quick summary of the work I’ve done and the places I’ve been, with some links to more context and a bunch of pledges to actually give these things a proper writeup. The thing is long, so I’ll map out a bit of the structure up here:
2012: Digital Justice in the District
2013: Research residencies
DC (studying commons theory, community technology praxis)
Madison, Wisconsin (studying cooperatives and coproduction)
Greensboro, North Carolina (creative facilitation at Elsewhere Museum)
California; NYC; UK (roaming research along the lines above)
At the end of this series, I’ll post a couple of reflections about why I’ve chosen to do this particular work (and the framework of ‘commoning’ that I’m developing) and the way in which I chose to go about it (an extended stint of ‘useful unemployment’). Finally, I’ll look ahead to this year, 2014.