Need a new way to talk about community management? The second CSCCE concept booklet describes “the garden metaphor”

Back in November, we shared our first “concept booklet” – a collection of essays and reflection questions that used the metaphor of a house party to discuss challenges and opportunities in STEM community management. This month, we’ve been sharing another metaphor – the garden! 

Each metaphor lends itself to exploring different concepts – the house party was great for thinking about scaffolding, and the garden is particularly “fruitful” when considering who your members are and how they interact with each other. And, as we discussed on our March community call, these two metaphors may resonate differently with you and how you think about your work. 

We’ve compiled all of our horticultural posts into our second “CSCCE concept booklet” which you can download for free, refer to as needed, and easily cite! 

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The garden metaphor for community management: Planting your garden – who is welcome in your community?

This post is part of an ongoing series exploring a number of metaphors about community management that can support conversations about specific concepts and common challenges in a creative and free-flowing manner.

You can read more about the series – and the accompanying community calls in our overview post. For each metaphor, there will be a blog post describing the metaphor and several additional posts applying it to specific scenarios. This post is the second in a series of four posts dissecting the garden metaphor. Previously, we described the house party metaphor and you can download all of those posts in a concept booklet

An illustration of a spring meadow, where plants with various leaf shapes, colors, and flowers flourish side by side.
Image by Freepik

When you imagine a garden, do you see a large lawn with a single bed of roses? Or do you see a space filled with variety – plants with big leaves and small leaves; vibrant red flowers and tiny yellow blooms; trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals? 

Chances are, it’s the latter. But, it’s often much easier to plant and mow a lawn than tend a garden for a multitude of plants, each of which has its own requirements to flourish. Such vibrancy takes intentional planting, careful irrigation and fertilization, and ongoing maintenance to make sure all of your plants flourish, not just a select few. In this post we are going to focus on using  the garden metaphor to think through establishing community spaces that are welcoming and inclusive. In our next post, we’ll be talking about ongoing maintenance (aka programming) that supports multiple types of members.

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Introducing the garden metaphor for exploring community management 

This post is part of an ongoing series exploring a number of metaphors about community management that can support conversations about specific concepts and common challenges in a creative and free-flowing manner.

You can read more about the series – and the accompanying community calls – in our overview post. For each metaphor, there will be a blog post describing the metaphor and several additional posts applying it to specific scenarios. This post is the first in a series of four posts dissecting the garden metaphor. Previously, we described the house party metaphor, and we subsequently published that series as a free-to-download booklet.

Imagine yourself in a garden. Maybe you see a rose climbing a trellis, pink flowers blooming and scented. A long border filled with flowers of all different colors, bushes of different sizes, and in a couple of places large trees offer shade. A vegetable plot in one corner is filled with carrots, onions, and tomatoes, and in pots here and there lavender and mint grow tall and fragrant. All around, bees and butterflies buzz and flutter, stopping now and then to take a sip of nectar while unknowingly hauling pollen from flower to flower. 

Just like a garden, a community is made up of different member types, who bloom and flourish at different times, and who prefer different environments. And just as a gardener works to nurture and maintain the plants in their garden, so a community manager scaffolds activities and provides key resources to support community members in their activities. 

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February Community Call Recap – Community-engaged content and its informational roles

Communities rely on content – from websites describing purpose and personnel to documentation guiding activities, gatherings, and collaboration.

Creating content that serves these purposes well, and inspires ongoing connection between members, is therefore something that community managers are often tasked with. It’s also the topic of our advanced training course Content Design (CODE), and on this month’s community call we shared one of the frameworks we’ve developed to demystify the process of creating community-engaged content. 

In this blog post, you’ll find an overview of the call and some of the topics covered in it. It would be impossible for us to condense a 6-week training into a single 90-minute community call, and even less likely that a single blog post could capture all of the nuances of content creation for STEM communities. If you’d like to go deeper, we encourage you to sign up for CODE. Registration is currently open for a Spring 2024 cohort of the course, however if April/May is not a great time for you to participate, please use this form to let us know when might make more sense for you

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February’s Community Call: The informational roles of community-engaged content

Content creation is a core skill for any community manager in STEM. Creating content might look very different depending on your context – from writing monthly newsletters or resources and reports, to creating podcasts, videos, and slide decks. And it’s a skill that many of us pick up on the job, without formal training or a sense of strategy behind what we make. 

In this month’s call, we’ll share a new framework for thinking about how to share information with your community members, and how the content you create can meet specific goals in your engagement strategy. The “informational roles of community-engaged content” is a CSCCE framework that we explore more deeply as part of our Content Design (CODE) course, the spring 2024 cohort of which (CODE24Sp) is now open for registration. So, this month’s community call is both a primer for anyone creating community-engaged content, and a sneak peek into what you can expect from a CSCCE professional development training course. 

Date: Wednesday, 28 February 2024

Time: 11am EST / 4pm UTC

Zoom link to join

Add to calendar (or contact us at info@cscce.org to be automatically added to CSCCE calendar updates)

Join this month’s call to explore content-creation through the lens of community engagement. Image: CSCCE
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January’s Community Call: The intersection of self care, community care, and community management

Pervasive in western culture at the moment is the concept of self care. Of setting boundaries at work and in personal relationships, of saying “no” more often, of striving for the perfect work-life balance. It’s important, in a world where we often feel compelled to be the best at everything – at work, as caregivers, even at our hobbies – to take care of ourselves. But how does self care intersect with community care? And if you increasingly see your community members stepping back from attending events or volunteering on committees, how do you continue to effectively manage a community? 

This is something the CSCCE staff team has been considering for a couple of months now. If it’s something that’s been on your mind, too, we hope you’ll join us for a “salon-style” conversation at our first community call of 2024. 

Date: Wednesday, 24 January 2024

Time: 11am EST / 4pm UTC

Zoom link to join

Add to calendar (or contact us at info@cscce.org to be automatically added to CSCCE calendar updates)

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New CSCCE concept booklet explores the house party metaphor for community engagement

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been sharing blog posts that use the metaphor of a house party to discuss various aspects of community management. And last week, at our monthly community call, we scaffolded a discussion of the metaphor, which thanks to the enthusiastic participation of our members led us all to think about community management in new and creative directions. 

Now, we’ve compiled these ideas and reflections into a “CSCCE concept booklet” which you can download for free, refer to as needed, and easily cite! 

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Community participation guidelines – through the lens of the house party metaphor

Over the coming months we’ll be exploring a number of metaphors about community management that can support conversations about specific concepts and common challenges in a creative and free-flowing manner.

You can read more about the series – and the accompanying community calls in our overview post. For each metaphor, there will be a blog post describing the metaphor and several additional posts applying it to specific scenarios. This post is the last in a series of four posts dissecting the house party metaphor.

We hope you’ll join us on Wednesday, 22 November at 11am EST / 4pm UTC when we’ll be discussing the house party metaphor on our monthly community call! 

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Exploring your community configuration using the house party metaphor

Over the coming months we’ll be exploring a number of metaphors about community management that can support conversations about specific concepts and common challenges in a creative and free-flowing manner.

You can read more about the series – and the accompanying community calls in our overview post. For each metaphor, there will be a blog post describing the metaphor and several additional posts applying it to specific scenarios. This post is the third in a series of four posts dissecting the house party metaphor.

We hope you’ll join us on Wednesday, 22 November at 11am EST / 4pm UTC when we’ll be discussing the house party metaphor on our monthly community call! 

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Introducing the house party as a metaphor for exploring community management 

Over the coming months we’ll be exploring a number of metaphors about community management that can support conversations about specific concepts and common challenges in a creative and free-flowing manner.

You can read more about the series in our overview post. For each metaphor, there will be a blog post describing the metaphor and several additional posts applying it to specific scenarios.

In this blog post, we’ll review the components of the house party metaphor, and then on Thursday we’ll be back with a look at the importance of community scaffolding. Next week, you can expect two more posts that go deep into the metaphor. 

We hope you’ll join us on Wednesday, 22 November at 11am EST / 4pm UTC when we’ll be discussing the house party metaphor on our monthly community call! 

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