CDI has evolved by doing; the components of our shared practice are thought-through but not predestined. We share them here – a cluster of simple actions and not unusual approaches – as an invitation to adopt them and adapt them.

Ways of working that work (for us)

A small group (3-8 people)

This helps maintain intimacy and a genuine network of relationships.

A small group does not dissolve asymmetries but allows us to see and deal with them.

Anyone can start the initiative

There’s no need for a grand plan, just a conversation.

All in one place (a city, a county)

Our shared practice is about and for this place, so it’s important we live here.

Regular meetings (minimum once a month)

‘Regular’ is relative, but the fact of a rhythm matters.

This helps manage expectations and retain a connection even when busy.

Sometimes extraordinary meetings can be called if there is a need.

A structure for meetings

This can evolve over time.

You can borrow from ours (Meetings)

Some structure and principles help meetings be constructive and kind.

An attempt to articulate a shared purpose

The attempt and the articulation are as important as the purpose.

These help develop vocabulary and trust.


Action will not happen immediately.

Developing relationships is fundamental, or else the rest doesn’t matter.

This is personal

The work is not just about professional work

We care about one another and our peers and our field and our place as persons.


Building a collective archive reminds us that this is important.

It helps us reflect as we go.

It is an opportunity to clarify and arrive at agreements.

A decision on how to make decisions (three of four of us can decide on something)

There are many ways to make decisions and share that load.

We borrow from pa-f  with ‘the doer decides’ but add ‘within reason’.

Good tools

We use Google Drive and Slack.

We helped each other learn how to use these and agreed on their use.

These have helped us avoid email overload and other communication difficulties.

Iteration and reiteration of values

This helps to remember why we are here, together.


For CDI meetings are crucial. They are the backbone of our collective work. There are two kinds of meetings: regular meetings and shared practice sessions. We actively and accidentally move matters from one kind of meeting to the other; they are not totally separate.

We run regular meetings (currently fortnightly) like this:

Before the meeting:
  • We decide the time and date of the next meeting in the previous meeting.
  • Someone decides to do an agenda – we feel this out – and sends this as an editable google doc for the others to add to.
  • Someone sends a Zoom link out to everyone.
During the meeting:
  • There is no chair; we feel it out together.
  • We identify who will take notes.
  • We take responsibility for the use of time together.
  • We take responsibility for inviting each other to speak.
  • We begin with a check-in. This can be very simple and brief, or someone can ask for more time to be spent on it. We also use the circle-square check-in method (courtesy of Mari Kennedy/Grace Dyas). 
  • We work through the agenda as necessary; we make sure each person has a chance to speak on each matter before trying to arrive at decisions.
  • We ask for what we need, a screen break, a stretch together, a time-out, a pause.
  • We identify and note actions.
  • We stop when our allocated time is up; we understand that it’s important to stop and that the work will never be finished.
  • We try to check out and/or reiterate any important actions that need to be undertaken.
  • We agree when the next meeting is.
After the meeting:
  • The notetaker sends the notes around. 
  • We each take action on our agreed tasks.
Shared practice sessions:

We hold longer shared practice sessions that are less focused on moving through necessary tasks or points of discussion. These are very varied in form, including sharing recipes, eating dinner together (online), interviewing each other about our dance lives/practices, naming values, giving constructive feedback etc. Some examples and impressions from these sessions an be found here: Creative Process.

These are not merely fun or even undertaken because we happen to be artists. They are key to our sustainability, generating intimacy and shared understanding. They allow us to create a sense of community between us and build trust.