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Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Space and place

As thought it was intended, hardly had I assimilated the term 'mudmapping' from John than I'm sitting rapt in the Shine Dome on the broad campus of Australian National University in Canberra listening to a rich sequence of speakers theorising about different ways to understand space and place, supported by some intriguing methods of representation and analysis. In between listening thinking and chatting John and I have been for walks, and today, under blue skies we've cycled around Lake Burley Griffin sparkled by a lively breeze, amid these antipodean acoustics - the mellifluous burbling aboriginal sound of confident bird's in conversation from waking at dawn till gentle evening.
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The next seminar's in Brisbane tomorrow - 28 attending. I've been thinking how I would classify the skills to which we give attention. I like the trio: reading, negotiating, governing. I'm uncomfortable listing what's inseparable. Sometimes they help. We've got material on each - description, handouts and papers, plus exercises and film. So I'll treat this trio as a way to organise the programme. John approves. It's helpful too in answering the question "What skills are you addressing here?" I'd add that the focus is on skills and values in equal measure. Skills are easier to teach. Values are something else. How do you learn integrity? I'm playing with the idea of casuistry.
Reading covers the process of mapping a political environment and the role of responsible gossip in both maintaining such maps - they're never static - enriching their content and diffusing understanding of the world of the politicians through the organisation.
Negotiating is in part addressed by definitions of political skill, political nous, and the process of constructing trust across political-management boundaries, more specifically between a particular politician-manager pair. Negotiating the overlap.
Governing, though I'll refer to my writing on political-management leadership, is, in the realm of unknown unknowns - a theme suited, therefore, to shared analysis in the learning venue exploring my (and now John's) extensive archive of political-management conversations on film, and the challenge of leadership at the apex - in the space where political and managerial zones succeed or fail in overlapping.
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Campus flora and fauna - Australian National University - as John and I take one of our early morning planning strolls...

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Simon Baddeley