History of Technical Artisans Collective: A Conversation Between Friends

In October of 2012, Shawn Robinson and Kim Guzowski, production technicians and friends, were marveling at the educational opportunities on a production that Shawn was working on in New York City. This production had beautiful, interesting elements of science, math, art, history, music, invention and commerce all woven together.   Kim, a long-time teacher, invited students and their families to experience the event with her.  At the event, students had the opportunity to ask questions and tour backstage with Shawn, and other technicians, Van Orilia, Zoe “Where” Huertas and Mike Patterson.

This opportunity for youth and professional technicians to engage each other was exciting and interesting to all.  For the youth, instead of being passive audience, they became active participants through dialogue with production professionals and close exploration of the mechanics of the event. For the professional production technicians, sharing what they do professionally with youth was stimulating, enjoyable and satisfying.  This experience led to discussions with Kim about how Shawn, Where, Van and Mike wished teaching youth was some part of their work.

Over the next several months, it became apparent that there were many other designers and technicians who also wished teaching were some part of their work. Shawn and Kim began gathering like-minded designers and technicians together to form Technical Artisans Collective: a group of production technicians and designers who take what we do into the classrooms and take students and academic and artistic teachers out into the field with us, in order to create dynamic hands-on learning experiences.