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Commune Diverge Shift Connect: A Press Press Handbook

Commune Diverge Shift Connect: Press Press’s Organizational Handbook is a collaboration between the Institute for Expanded Research and Press Press. The project develops, collects, and shares emergent models and methodologies for collective work that aid in the efforts of cultural organizers. This reflection also marks a year of transition for Press Press, as the team initiates a nomadic presence in Los Angeles, expanding their national reach. Through this work, Press Press ultimately aims to provoke the question: What are the conditions necessary for cultivating and sustaining ethical and compassionate frameworks for being with and cooperating with others in the world? This publication is one component of a broader project that will be released in 2020.

Toolkit is available to download and share as a PDF or for purchase as a print publication via Printed Matter.


The contents of this toolkit are based on two workshops which gathered Baltimore-based people who are involved in cooperative, collective, or collaborative cultural work, including: Allie Linn, Amy Reid, Bonnie Jones, C Kim (E'NB), E Cadoux, Tanya Garcia, Georgia McCandlish, Adriana Monsalve, Haniel Wides, Jacob Marley, Joseph Lee, Khadija Adell, Lu Zhang, Markele Cullins, N'Deye Diakhate, Priya Bhayana and Rose Buttress. The workshops were facilitated by Valentina Cabezas, Kimi Hanauer, Bomin Jeon, and Bilphena Yahwon.

This toolkit was initiated and composed by Kimi Hanauer using notes, transcriptions, and audio recordings from the workshops and additional research. This toolkit was edited by Lu Zhang and copyedited by Rebekah Kirkman. The digital publication was designed and coded by Eleni Agapis.

In the Prep Work section, an illustration appears that references a quote from the book Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown, “Move at the speed of trust.” In the Growth Work section, two illustrations appear that feature quotes from Press Press’s workshop Shared Agreements drafted by Bilphena Yahwon that say, “We speak and listen from the heart.” and “We will hold empathy and compassion in our actions and words.”

Thank you to Andrea Fraser, Candice Lin, and Gabrielle Civil for editorial advice. Thank you to Alea Adigweme for proofreading. Thank you to Paul Espinosa from the George Peabody Library for hosting Press Press and the Institute for Expanded Research for programming and research as part of the ongoing project.

Press Press

Press Press is an interdisciplinary publishing initiative that aims to shift and deepen the understanding of voices, identities, and narratives that have been suppressed or misrepresented by the mainstream. Through an understanding of publishing as the action of gathering a public, Press Press builds cooperative and collaborative networks of relationships using publishing practices centered in self-representation and conversation. Often focusing on the intersection of immigration, race, and power in the United States, Press Press’s streams of work have included public cultural programs and exhibitions, youth publishing workshops in immigrant- and refugee-only spaces, and the ongoing production of publications. Press Press operates out of a storefront studio and library in Baltimore, Maryland and a production space in Los Angeles, California.

Institute for Expanded Research

The Institute for Expanded Research (IER) activates sites and leverages resources to produce and present projects in collaboration with artists. Nebulous and flexible, IER is a constellation of practices and projects taking many forms. As an artist project and research initiative, IER builds partnerships to support artist-led inquiry and explore the potential for dialogue and collaboration across sectors. IER invites artists, researchers, and other practitioners to share ideas, strategies, skills, and creative work with the ultimate aim of exploring the role artists play in society by giving proximity to their thinking and working processes. IER was founded by Lu Zhang, a multi-disciplinary artist who works in installation, sculpture, drawing, and text – often in response to a chosen site.