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methodology pioneered by organizational behavior expert David Cooperrider -- where the
conversation shifts to what is positive and working in an organization as opposed to a
problem-solution discourse. This repositioning has the capacity to generate change as
described in the Social Construction: A Reader:
The practice of appreciative inquiry is lodged in the assumption that when we begin
to explore people’s positive experiences in an organization, the conversations begin
to change. And when we use these stories of value to create visions of a desired
future, powerful forces of change are unleashed. (Gergen & Gergen, 2009, p. 160)
I adapted the appreciative focus to create the first level of sense making: the conversations
and their transcriptions being the first steps toward making meaning; while utilizing the
creative application of the appreciative focus to read and write about our conversation, I
designed the appreciative reflections for each freelancer. This process allowed for an
appreciative construction of important lessons learned without getting mired in the
economic slump; then it was possible to move forward and weave the common threads
across their narratives that spans the breadth of a substantial media freelance career.
The assumption that AI fixates on positivity at the expense of reality is a countering
viewpoint sometimes expressed. In my case, I did not gloss over the participants’ concerns
about their career challenges; those excerpts were woven into all of the chapters. As
noted in Appreciative Living: The Principles of Appreciative Inquiry in Personal Life, “It often
requires a shift to notice and appreciate the inherent learning that is always present (Kelm,
2005, p.40). The Appreciative focus served as a wide-angle lens that allowed for an
extraction of lessons learned throughout a long career spanning decades. It is not about
boarding the “Good Ship Lollipop” of positivity, but being able to find “the best of what is
present in each moment, person, and experience. It is not what we wish were there, but
the good we can actually find” (Kelm, 2005, p. 40).
The Migrant Creative Is A Personal Story
As a media freelancer for many years prior to academia, I often affectionately referred to
myself as “migrant creative” because of the nomadic nature of entering so many diverse
work cultures in order to convey a client’s story through multimedia. Although I enjoyed the
work and people I met along the way, I decided that as a single parent with a young child
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