I’m Alex Fink and I’m an Assistant Professor in Augsburg University’s Department of Social Work as of Fall 2022. I study the many layers (Benjamin Bratton, in The Stack: Software and Sovereignty, 2015, calls this “the stack”) in which alternative ways of engaging with each other and communal control of production and infrastructure make more just socio-economic-and-political realities possible. My main area of focus and practice is Transitioning Leadership, utilizing participatory and youth-led program evaluation and research to support transitions to youth leadership in youth-serving organizations (and more generally, support program and organizational leadership coming into the hands of those most impacted by the issues said programs seek to solve).
A second area of focus is on the political economy and ecology of data, including data collection, data use, data access/sharing, data economics and infrastructures, and the ideologies surrounding it. I identify the study of this, and of methods for transforming it, Community Informatics. These practice, and thus also my research and teaching, occur at the intersections of participatory research methods, youth leadership development, the history of social movements, and technology.
My interests also intersect between the disciplines of: Learning (Active, Experiential, Adaptive, Emergent), Youth Studies & Youth Work, Social Work, Organizational & Leadership Development, Abolition, Peer Production, Youth Participatory and Youth-Led Research & Program Evaluation, Practice Development, Critical Creative Companionship, Technology & Scalability, Community Informatics, Infrastructure, and Participatory Design.
This is my personal blog and home page. I call it “(Public) Fragments” because it attempts to draw together the many facets of my process of becoming. This reflects one of my beliefs about how people live and grow: we are always in the process of becoming. The articulation, exploration, and analysis of our many fragments or facets gives us insight into this sometimes visible and often invisible process of change. While there is a great deal of pressure in academia (and, in fact, in the world at large) to build and maintain a particular image or representation of oneself online and in person (now often referred to as a personal “brand”), this blog is part of an experiment in “open scholarship”, and more broadly, “open becoming” — a process of study and self-change that share as many fragments as possible with the world. I write “(Public)” because, of course, some elements of life–perhaps because I don’t feel courageous enough to share them yet, or perhaps because they are difficult or impossible to share over the kinds of communications media I feel more or less competent at using, or simply that I don’t always have time to get them out–aren’t public. Out of necessity, and the ups and downs, possibilities and limitations of my own becoming, you only get some of the fragments.