The Sorting Hat


The Daughter and I were chatting the other evening about the various students in her year at art college.  She mentioned how enlightening it was to her to see other people’s work, especially if they were of a different ‘denomination’.  By this, she meant that the group has self-selected tribes and is divided up into the Fine Artists, the Graphic Designers, the Textilers etc.  What she found was that the Fine Art people, amongst whom she has close friends, think very differently to the way she thinks.  They approach a piece of work in a manner that is entirely foreign to her own process.  Similarly, the Textilers, working with the particular freedoms and constraints offered by the medium, prepare for a final piece in a way that seems bizarre to The Daughter.  She came up with the idea of there being an invisible Sorting Hat (borrowed from Harry Potter) that each person had tried on and had told them which ‘house’ they belonged in.  And you kind of knew it from the first day, she said.

Two thoughts emerged from this conversation for me.  One is that there seems to be some kind of work that each of us is born to do (and irritatingly, it may take some time to stop fighting and listen to the Sorting Hat to find out what that is).  The other is that The Daughter had learned an important lesson.  Hearing how someone  else thinks or sees things, which may be scarily alien to your own perspective, can suddenly push an idea in a brilliant new direction, one you would never have come up with on your own.

People in organisations take note.


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