Wanderway is a free online course in seven parts, designed to walk users through the steps needed for creative and sustainable digital engagement. The goals of the course are to provide encouragement, build confidence, and offer useful tools and know-how so that arts organizations, artists, and creative small businesses can better connect with, engage, and serve people in the ever-evolving online environment. It is designed with the resource-strapped in mind.

Wanderway is a different kind of course.

Wanderway focuses on engagement and relationship-building. It aims to help you expand your reach and develop substantive interactions with fans, allies, and collaborators using the wide range of digital tools available today. These transformative possibilities are available to those who overcome their fear of digital technology and commit to learning new tools and ways to connect.

Many existing courses target sales and marketing objectives – using digital tools to get more money, more transactions. Wanderway was created with the belief that while more ticket sales and more contributions can be a by-product of digital engagement, they are not the goal. Engagement can be significantly more meaningful if audiences are treated as conversation partners and collaborators rather than customers and consumers.

Digital engagement as creative practice

Wanderway addresses the emotional life of digital practitioners by approaching engagement as a creative practice. In creative practice we begin, try things, learn, and start again. A beginner’s mind is a necessity and a strength, not a liability. Creative practice expects “mistakes”—they’re part of the process. Iteration is constant. It’s how we learn. And fear is something most artists and creative workers know a great deal about because it is their constant companion.

Fear doesn’t stop the creative artist. Or as poet Carolyn Forche puts it, “Courage does not mean you are not afraid; courage means a door opens and you walk through.”

So open the door, and walk through.

Wanderway invites your participation. We also invite your feedback. Please check out the course, try the exercises and reflections, read the interviews, and, if you like it, share these resources with others.

Three collaborators built Wanderway: Sarah Lutman, producer, writer, and consultant for philanthropic, cultural, and media organizations and projects; Beck Tench, independent educator, writer, speaker, and practitioner, whose work explores creativity and experimentation in digital engagement: and Jessica Fiala, dancer, independent scholar, and colleague.

We’ve had a lot of fun packing the course with tools that are free and accessible to anyone, and getting to know the dozens of artists and organizations whose work we feel privileged to highlight. Read more about Wanderway on Creative Exchange.