On Curation

In describing what I do and what I am passionate about, due to the multiplicity of my interests, I often wondered if I am a “jack of all trades”. This term though connotes a lack of mastery as it continues with the suggestion: “jack of all trades….master of none”. This is not a match to my condition as I am at least “…a master of some”. So how am I supposed to make sense of all my disparate occupations and interests?  Who am I to them and what are they to me?

The idea of curation  has been on my mind as curation is the link that connects my diverse interests. Curation is as much as is about its curator as it is about its audience. At its core curation is about community as opposed to individuality. In all my attempts at it my primary motivation is to seek connections. 

During high school I worked as a radio DJ at a Turkish radio station, exploring genres of music (this experience also structured by a love of melodies)I was driven to share with my listeners my most recent music discoveries. I still choose tracks that seem to add to the experience of  friends during car trips and at parties.

My love and interest in food has also been about curation. In my cooking, I am responding to an urge to curate sensations for those who taste my food. In my dishes I bring together inspirations from my travels with spices and influences from my native Turkey.

My primary profession, which is in the field of higher education, is about a desire to curate as well. I am driven to curate an experience for graduate student at the Communication Leadership at University of Washington which I co-direct.  This program is a hub of learning not just for the students but for the broad public. We create experiences that bring our community together around emerging issues and technologies and how to build communities and connections around them that are lasting.

When I teach classes I aspire to bring together engaging examples, news and information, and inventive ways for the students to connect with each other. I do not see myself as an expert when I teach who is depositing her knowledge with the students. Instead,  in this realm too I define myself as a curator who facilitates conversations and experiences about the class topic. I mentor educators who also seek their own curation practices in their classrooms.

I am passionate about cultivating next generation of curators. I teach classes on how to communicate public ideas to audiences to graduate students and professionals that inspire and that bring about change.

With the random thoughts, suggestions, and information  I share here, I hope to give you a glimpse of the nature of my curation practices.


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