Collaborations: Minuses and Natural Pluses

Aug 18, 2011

Not all collaborations are harmonious. Take Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s collaboration with Phil Collins (video above). Not amazing. It did relatively well on the charts in 2002, but in my opinion, not a triumphant example of a smooth and inspiring collaboration. Subjective, I know, yet still I think it’s an excellent jumping point for the endless nuances and mash-ups that fall under this word.

Collaboration is working together towards a shared goal. We collaborate for politics, for creativity, for peace, for music and magic, for change, for movement, and for war. Collaborators has been a term used in many political incarnations. In the early 1940’s the Vichy Government of France used the term to refer to those who aided the Nazi’s. In the same vain, below is an image of at Collaborationist Propaganda poster from 1942.

When I think of collaborators I think of people working together to make movement, positive change and affect power in unexpected ways. Collaboration is not a new idea. And, while many trends in social change champion the notion of collaboration above all else (which we don’t necessarily disagree with), we also see the places where this notion as a part of a movement for change has it’s flaws.

Collaboration is not only for those who want to grow rooftop gardens and mix synthesizers with puppetry, as is sometimes the trend in collaborative and interdisciplinary circles. Not to seem overly sarcastic…but the word is overused and we know it. Yet still, it has merit, it’s the basis of what we do, and we’re very interested in exploring some of the more bizarre and inventive collaborations we’re taking notice of lately.

As summer nears it’s end and we are wrapping up our first year of the Kindle Project blog, the idea to share some content based on the idea of collaboration is compelling. At Kindle the nature of what we do is collaborative. We are funders but we are also collaborators and work with our grantees. We’re invested in their work and see their missions as being a part of our own. This doesn’t necessarily makes us unique in the funding world, but it does enliven our work and further compels our mission.

We are hoping that in the next ten weeks you’ll be reading about the collaborations that Kindle Project is most excited about, impressed by, and think are cutting edge.