News & Notes
I’ve been quiet on this blog during the last two years. For me, the pandemic and the interwoven racial reckoning have been a time of learning, unlearning, collaborating, and changing. While the epiphanies have come frequently and god knows there’s been plenty to be outraged about, the last thing the arts and culture community has needed is another voluble white guy. Other voices need to be heard, and I’ve been among those avidly, gratefully listening.
So have my colleagues at Slover Linett, who have all been growing in profound and exciting ways. That’s why I’m so happy to announce a few important changes, starting with the promotion of Jen Benoit-Bryan, PhD, to president of the firm.
As many of you know, Jen has been vice president and co-director of research here, and over the last two years she has been the overall leader of our national, equity-focused research collaboration with LaPlaca Cohen and Yancey Consulting, Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation: A Special Edition of Culture Track. That word “transformation” has applied to Jen, as well. It’s been a privilege to watch her leadership deepen and her perspective widen as she has worked with the supporting foundations, project partners and advisors, and the many service organizations, activist groups, research centers, and the many individual arts and culture organizations that have been active stakeholders in this initiative.
That’s all been on top of the “regular” research projects Jen has directed (which have also been evolving rapidly), her already vital role in our leadership circle and planning processes, her mentorship and management of most of our team, her voice in the field and the urgent conversations she’s part of, and her vision of our role as social researchers striving to inform justice and change.
So it’s a pleasure to share the news of Jen’s abundantly earned promotion with you, and I hope you’ll send congratulations her way (email@example.com)!
I’m also delighted to announce that Tanya Treptow, PhD, who has also been vice president and co-director of research, will now become director of research, without the “co” — and will remain a vice president and a key member of our leadership team. Tanya’s role in shaping our research practice, methods, language, and aspirations has been vital to everyone here, including me.
We’re planning several other promotions this year, as well, so please stay tuned. And we’ll be hiring at least one new full-time colleague in the next few months.
What about me? With Jen in the president role, my title will become co-founder & catalyst, which I hope conveys a balanced view of my new chapter: I’m not going anywhere, not retiring or stepping away. But I am making room, not only for Jen and Tanya but for our whole team…for new perspectives and possibilities…for new collaborators and accomplices…and for the next era of our work with culture and community changemakers, which feels more vital every day.
In addition to supporting that work directly, I hope to live up to my catalyst title by writing more (here and elsewhere), bringing great people together, sparking new collaborations, helping make research and evaluation in the cultural sector more inclusive and equitable, and offering mentorship and support to newcomers to the field — especially Black, Indigenous, and researchers of color. I hope those newcomers join the many wonderful re-thinkers already working in culture and research to challenge and recast the how, the what, and the why of everything we do.
More to come on all of this. Meanwhile, thanks for your colleagueship over the years, and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have thoughts or questions (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Photo: Jen Benoit-Bryan and Tanya Treptow outside our Chicago office.