Spheres of Community

Nilofer Merchant and her blog, Yes & Know recently challenged me to think about community and what it means to me in her posting, “Where do great ideas come from?”

It’s really a big core question, and there are lots of ways of looking at it!

Communities of Ideology: all your belief systems, religious, social, political, environmental…
Communities of Geography: all the you’ve places lived.
Communities of Circumstance: gender, race, health, wealth, family…
Communities of Association:  friends, networks, affiliations, clubs, schools, family (again)…

I thought it would be interesting to try and map out some of this in a visual way, identifying some of these communities for myself, to see how large I perceived them to be in relationship to each other and to see where there were overlaps or intersections of these communities.

So I began with Communities of Association (the most personal) and I found the results illuminating!

Spheres of Community - Marie Cameron 2015

It turns out the communities that have the most overlap (and maybe influence?) for me are artists who I went to school with, who I’m still personal friends and with whom I maintain a social network connection.

Now I tried to be as object as I could about the relative sizes of these spheres, based on numbers of people more than the impact they have on me.  It would be fascinating to create another chart where the sphere’s size is based on the amount of influence they have over me.

Another interesting chart comparison would be the Spheres of Ideology compared to my actual engagement with these beliefs. I’d also like to see if this chart would be proportionally represented in my artwork!  Am I brave enough to lay that out? Oh the things we can learn just by seeing it all a little differently!