Your NameAne Eline Sorensen
Cohort AssignmentAmericas with In-Person Intensive in Santa Fe, Fall-Winter 2023
1. What do you see as your primary work at this stage of your life?

Building bridges. Metaphorically speaking. I’ve come up through theatre, social entrepreneurship, street projects, activism, film, tv, art, spatial design, interaction and service design, experience design, design and systems thinking, and for the past 9 years, sustainability and regeneration. I left commercial work when I was a Senior Creative Director with adidas Global Brand at their headquarters in Germany in 2014 and 15. One day at work, I took a moment to feel into “having made it” and felt nothing but tumbleweed inside. The work was a lot of fun, but it was hollow. Meaningless. So I left for Hawaii to go see about some whales and it’s been a continued journey ever since to establish my footing as a creative in conservation and regeneration. I believe my skills in creative problem solving is more needed that ever, the trouble is getting that underwritten.

2. What role do you see as yours to play?

The through-thread in my work has always been the ability to listen, respond to needs, and think very creatively about what needs to be done. I’d rather think up a new transportation system than keep patching holes in the road. I bring the ears and the compassion and I also bring the vision, the ideas, and the rolled up sleeves.
I’m at my best when I’m part of solving problems and building what makes Mother Earth heal, humans included. Thus I’m using the broad and fluffy descriptor ‘Creative Leadership’, which in essence is the role I hold.
As a liminal being with a diverse background, I bring ideation, strategic thinking, and designing spaces - physically and in narratives. The toolbox for creative development after 30+ years, is pretty vast and deep.

3. What goals or aims do you have in regard to the above?

One of my (humble) goals is to transform the travel industry. I want to make destinations regenerative and the travel experience transformative.

4. Where do you feel your next arenas for personal growth are?

I could be a lot better at believing in myself, I wish I had more confidence and less doubt and inner criticism. I’m one of those people who’ve had to fend for themselves for a long time. I lost my parents and family when I was in my early 20s and have had shifting circles of people close to me in my life. So no consistent support system.
Growing up, I wasn’t raised to feel good about a job well done and it’s honestly absurd that I’m still affected at times by the lack of recognition in my upbringing. I became the little ghost in my family, there was no point in trying. It was also better to stay invisible to stay safe, far away from the abuse. It was rough. These days, still, I can observe myself stopping in my tracks as I question my efforts before I’ve even gotten started.

5. And for professional growth?

Becoming an authority on something has been circling my mind for some time now. In my early professional years I was the generalist—the project maker and entrepreneur—then I did film and TV, gained a lot of craft there, design brought even more craft as I was doing my BA level but then it pivoted back into strategic development, creative problem solving and critical thinking for my MA’s. My professional and commercial design career was succesful because of this mix. Moving sector, I'm a bit stunted. It's been a challenge to keep things afloat for the past 8-9 years, (the pandemic certainly didn't help). I know the frameworks and tools for creative development, but to be honest - no one seems to want to pay for that work even if it is what WEF, OECD, gov's and such are all requesting.
For the past 5 years, I’ve worked closely with scientists, and I love that. I love true transdisciplinary collaboration, where everyone holds a piece. I want to be a 'piece owner', as well as the one laying the puzzle. I’ve just been the latter and I don’t think that’s working for me. Transformative and regenerative travel is a strong contender to be my piece. I know experience design, spatial design, and branding. I know healing arts (I’m a reiki master), functional foods, and herbal medicine. And I know enough about ecosystem regeneration, MPA and MP integration, and collaborative enterprising to engage in visioning and designing for/with it. I know all the parts needed to create transformative and regenerative destinations and sanctuaries. If I can own this piece, I can bring a lot of value.

6. What have you invested in to get you where you are?

In financial terms: everything. No savings, anything, left. Not super smart, I suppose. Personally, I’ve probably sacrificed a stable life and instead invested my time and resources in knowing and learning more at all times. My drive to work for Mother Earth, and protect animals, wildlife and biodiversity, has made me prioritise learning journeys over financial security.

And now, I’ve invested in you guys!

7. What fields of learning and which thinkers have been important in your life?

I read a lot, also because I, among other things, teach design theory at a university. So many great, wonderful, impactful thinkers. John Berger’s way of observing the world as one does art, gives deep insight into the often peculiar ways of humans. He was instrumental in my work with studying the human-animal relationship and creating a manifesto against all zoo's. Nicolas Bourriaud created a theory called Relational Aesthetics stating that art only becomes art when social interaction is engaged, which laid the foundation for my spatial interaction design work, for exhibitions and museums I’ve designed since. Faith Popcorn, known as the Original Futurist, influenced me greatly in the 90s with her book “Clicking” , it resonated so hard with me at the time it was almost an outer body experience but I lacked her confidence to claim the same space even if futuring was s all I wanted to do at the time. Jane Goodall’s take on compassionate wildcare and community development is essential studying to me. I recommend anyone to read Anna Tsing's book “The Mushroom at the End of the World” about capitalist destruction and collaborative survival within multispecies landscapes, it’s phenomenal. I’d also like to mention your book Regenerative Development and Design, I’m bringing it up to my students every chance I get.
In fiction I love Tove Jansson for how she narrates darkness, and Hemmingway, despite his highly questionable views on women and bulls, has been the most inspirational source for me on creative writing throughout the past 30 years.

8. Can you frame your philosophy or cosmology of life? What role(s) do humans play in it?

I operate in the in-between, I’m someone comfortable in the gap. I don’t believe one human in existence has ever had the answers to everything, I think we’re all a part of a larger system that we’re not yet capable of grasping. We need to evolve into that knowledge, that awareness. I mentioned I know about healing arts and I’m a reiki master, I have a practice around connecting to the subtle energies, and I'm trained in extra sensory perception. For about 10 years, I’ve trained with shamans and studied shamanic practices, which I’m drawn to because of the deep respect for the land, and all life on it. Humans, in my minds, must be stewards of nature, in collaboration with and not exploiters of. I don’t subscribe to any single tradition or belief, I think they all contain important parts and are all beautiful at their core.

Date CreatedNovember 12, 2023