A newsletter on progress-space research and audience development for cultural leaders. One reader calls it, "sometimes funny"

Last week, I asked you to describe your organization's ideal [x] for [y] in this Mural canvas. (If you missed last week's letter, stop here and go read it first because without that context it's all alphabet soup from here on.)

I saw a good number of anonymous animals visiting the Mural canvas over the past week, but only one completed the exercise.

I understand why you were hesitant— It's a weird thing to ask newsletter readers to do. Still, hat tip to the adventurous reader who accepted the challenge. You know who you are.

Now, a reader replied to that letter and made an important point. They said that identifying our ideal [x] for [y] is the first thing we should do — not the last. That is, if we have a [y — program, exhibit, event, etc], then we should have already figured out the [x — who it's for], presumably to the extent that we know how they think, feel, and behave.

[Y] should not be created without an [X] in mind.

I agree, but Ys do get created without X's in mind — certainly we make things without a deep understanding of people's motivations — and I think it's better to reflect on what we know or what we think we know about the people we want to support later than to never do so at all. Better late than never, and better to externalize it somehow (hence, the Mural canvas) than to carry it around in our heads.

But I'd like to hear what you think.

So, let's meet up next Thursday, July 15th from 5–6pm ET to discuss Your Ideal X for Y.

We'll spend a little time working in pairs or small groups to talk through this question and post-up ideas in Mural. Or we may just use the Mural exercise as a conversation starter and hub. Either way, I think it'll be a fun discussion.

If you want to make it more interesting, maybe invite a colleague to join you — You can work through your x's and y's together. Pick a project and explore who it's for and what you know about those people you're creating for.

Writer Roundtable: Kyle Bowen: X’s & Y’s
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