Building Interpersonal Infrastructures

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A Workshop and Roundtable Conversation on Proactive System Building for Women, Trans, Nonbinary, and Gender Non-Conforming Creative Practitioners in Traumatic Times

Facilitated by: Lynne DeSilva-Johnson, Founder and Executive Director, The Operating System

Sun. January 21, 4-6pm


What would it look like to support each other, to build intentional interpersonal infrastructures that work alongside (and possibly replace) the culturally norms and assumed systems of personal resources that we rarely examine closely together? How can mindful, intentional system building serve to stabilize and ground our personal and professional lives?

We participate in social rituals, hold onto friendships long past their expiration date, attend family functions, don’t speak up in the workplace when we perceive that doing so endangers us in some way. And now we find ourselves in a curious time, when our willingness to speak out seems to be on an uptick, made visibly safe and culturally viable – like the current #metoo movement. We post on Facebook, we share, we publish. But how many of us are able to take real risks in doing so? Who is able to take the sort of “risks” that fully inhabit their values, to work for the change we’d like to see on the personal, local, national, and global scale? This becomes a question of privilege.

SOHO20 and The Operating System invite you to participate in a discussion about navigating queer communities and gender normativity, financial and personal risk taking, interpersonal support, and precarious professions, such as art and academia, through looking at how resources and values can and do exist without a safety net. In this discussion and workshop we will use open space facilitation methodologies, drawing on writing and mindfulness exercises, and small group work, with room for emergent conversation and topics introduced by participants.

We encourage people to come both as active participants as well as observers. These conversations can be vulnerable and uncomfortable, so those who are on the fence can simply listen or ask questions. Not everyone has the same access to the privilege of sharing information without recourse, and no one can decide what defines a “safe” space for someone else. We do believe that showing up and energetically gathering around intentions to build positive, supportive infrastructures for one another is an important place to start.


Lynne DeSilva-Johnson (she/her/they/them) is a nonbinary queer interdisciplinary creator, cultural scholar, and educator. She the founder and Executive Director of The Operating System, a radical open source arts organization and small press. A deeply committed futurist, Lynne is always seeking (r)evolutionary possibility, through the building and reshaping of increasingly intelligent systems, institutions, and processes. She has extensive experience in programming and management in the nonprofit arts sector, and has been leading classrooms and workshops in a wide range of institutional settings for over twenty years. After 10+ years teaching at CCNY, Lynne is now serving as a visiting assistant professor at Pratt Institute. Recent publication credits include Wave Composition, The Conversant, Gorgon Poetics, POSTblank, Vintage Magazine, Live Mag, The Philadelphia Supplement, Coldfront, the Brooklyn Poets Anthology, Resist Much/Obey Little: Poems for The Resistance , and “In Memory of Feasible Grace,” part of the Panthalassa Pamphlet series, among others. Lynne has performed/been shown at The Dumbo Arts Festival, Naropa University, Artists Space, Bowery Arts and Science, The NYC Poetry Festival, Eyebeam, LaMaMa, Undercurrent Projects, Mellow Pages, The New York Public Library, Launchpad BK, The Poetry Project, Dixon Place, Poets Settlement, and many more. She is always still beginning.