Experience: On Display 2020

By Adam Barak Kleinberger and Teresa Ralicki 

Ombuds work is confidential. It can be an isolating profession. Office holiday parties, social nights, or bowling leagues with other departments do not always seem ubiquitous when we talk with ombuds colleagues. In many ombuds workplaces there sits a solo practitioner, or perhaps two ombuds. Because of the small number of staff and confidential nature of the work, office or company culture can sometimes wane. Engaging with colleagues usually needs to be quite intentional if it is to be a constant part of your world as an ombuds.

When we connect around our ombuds work in a creative way, it brings new thoughts, new ideas and perpetual learning about who we are as practitioners and what we can offer to visitors and the profession. By sharing ourselves through a creative endeavor, by learning about others through our creative pursuits, we can find that connection.

With the upcoming conference we have the opportunity to allay some of these ideas and struggles, to convert them into a physical form. We are looking forward to working on a piece of art to express what 2019 was like as an ombuds or even what life is like as an ombuds. We will then share it with our colleagues and other ombuds artists who complete a submission for the upcoming conference in Portland, Oregon.

“Experience: On Display” is a pop-up art gallery at this year’s IOA Annual Conference for attendees to present a piece of art that represents them beyond their profession, that engages with their ombuds work, success, struggles, or that relates to their forms of self-care.

There is no qualification to what “art” is or is not in this venue. It is simply a collection of creative representations of whatever the artist wishes to share. This is a way for us to express ourselves and connect with each other without words or traditional panel discussions.

In the past two years, we have seen photographs, collages, poems, readymade art, crafts, quilts, candy, jewelry, and more. If you make it, we want to experience it.

For those interested in sharing, we would love to put your experience on display as well. Here is a link to our “Call for Art” for more information, as well as the “Online form” to enter your information.

“Experience: On Display” will open on Monday, March 30th at 5:30pm. There will be an “Artist Talk” at 5:45pm to discuss the pieces with their creators and ask questions.

For more information:

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