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CreativeCommunication March 2012


An Exposition of Work

Writer, Photographer, Master Carpenter & Educator

Curvaceous Crown: Techniques for crafting curved plaster crown molding for the Master Carpenter feature in Fine Homebuilding Magazine

I am driven by possibility, by asking “Why not?” and “What if...?” Learning from challenges and figuring out new and better ways of doing things is thrilling for me. This has lead me to become an expert in the “How To” business. I am a free-lance writer for several national magazines: • Fine Homebuilding • Journal of Light Construction • Old House Journal • Tools of the Trade • Professional Deck Builder • Fine Woodworking In May 2012, I am graduating from Winona State University with Master of Science degree in General Leadership.


While working on the Master’s degree at WSU, I have been a Communications Graduate Assistant and have been honored to serve as: • Webmaster, College of Education • Writer, Communications Plan, COE • Editor and Writer, Teach21 Newsletter • Presenter, “How to Properly Care For and Feed your Graduate Student,” Dean’s Council • Member, Graduate Student Experience Committee, WSU • Member, Recruitment Committee, COE • Contributor, PR & Marketing Plan, Education Leadership Dept., COE, WSU



From Forestry (growing trees) to Carpentry (using trees) to Writing about... well... using trees and other Curious Connections

One of the more alluring aspects of academia is the discovery of new knowledge. Most often the new is derived incrementally, from the known. It is innovation rather than the more rare--invention--out of thin air. Most good ideas have either been thought of before by others or are modest innovations. We do stand on the shoulders of giants. This is fortunate really. It means our ideas have a context, they are linked to other ideas. The connections between one idea and others grounds both the idea and the thinker. I was drawn into graduate school by the desire to learn and apply new knowledge. With a background in teaching and writing, it is a given that I like to share information too. Even when I left science education for a carpentry career, I found an outlet for sharing knowledge on professional trade forums. While sharing on a forum sponsored by Fine Homebuilding, I was invited to write my first Master Carpenter piece on “Reproducing Historic Architectural Details.” The specific subject of that article was building reproduction Victorian train station roof support brackets for a restoration. The article title is generalized, because the skill set employed is highly transferrable. In fact, the work tables I built for the project (left) were featured in another issue of FHB two years later (in the same issue as my third Master Carpenter article--“Building an Arched Pocket Door”). Even my most elaborate work employs simple “tricks of the trade,” which can prove useful to

“We do stand on the shoulders of giants. This is fortunate really. It means our ideas have a context, they are linked to other ideas.” a wider audience. The latest issue of Fine Woodworking has a simple tip that is a “good deal” (below). The March 2012 issue of Old House Journal contains a detailed explanation of making cove molding on a table saw from simple 1x4 stock (below). The communication challenge is that of making descriptions of advanced work useful to the broadest possible audience without diminishing the substance of the piece. This charge faces “how to”-authors, journalists, and academicians alike. Evolution of a Molding This photo (left) shows the series of cuts needed to form the cove and edges.

Creating a Cove Get the look of historic cove molding (right).


Newsletters are a good way to communicate... ... if anyone reads them. I endeavored to make the teach21 newsletter (left) something busy people will want to read: • bright • colorful • fun • easy to navigate • inspirational • informational • literally “page-turning” The newsletter is made available in an ISSUU version that provides an “eReaderlike” experience (pdf and Word versions also available). Most content is given a light treatment, with links to blogs, more details, or academic research.

Catch the eye... then the heart and mind. Charged with creating a graphic for the digital signage on the Winona State campus, I played off of the “improving our world” theme of the University and gave it an educational focus.





I once had a good business catering to architects, designers, danger and opportunity? and builders. That seemed I was told that the Chinese secure enough, but just to be on word for “crisis” is composed of the safe side, I diversified... into the symbols for “danger” and print media. Working at the “opportunity...” and I really intersection of architecture and wanted to believe the story. publishing may sound exciting... Much to my dismay, this turns and it was... until those worlds out to be a fallacious assertion. both simultaneously imploded Yet, this notion is so appealing it (one world hit by the housing has appeared in speeches by collapse and the other by the rise John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, of free electronic media content Condoleezza Rice, and Al Gore via the internet). Then it became used it in his Nobel Peace Prize very, very quiet in my world. acceptance speech. Even This was the opportunity I Homer Simpson got in on the act had been waiting for, I finally had coining a new word “crisitunity.”1 the time available to earn a It may stretch credulity to call Master’s Degree. The some crises “opportunities,” Leadership program I enrolled in when this rebranding may be-has been a stimulating tour of under some bold ideas. I learned about circumstances--“insensitive being a “change agent,” being spin.” Nonetheless, “authentic,” articulating visions disturbances or disruptions can and values that drive what we create favorable circumstances do. we never imagined.

Creative Take on Crises


Article, Chinese word for “crisis” %22crisis%22

How do you distill the essence of a college career and beyond... ...into a brief message that will challenge and captivate?

This graphic is an attempt to answer that high call and entice students with another call that might be theirs to answer.


“I really wanted to believe the story... this notion is so compelling... even Homer Simpson got in on the act....” Along the way, I was tasked with handling communications for the College of Education at Winona State University. After working on websites, newsletters, marketing and public relations, internal communications, recruiting, etc., I realized that my communications job was even more fascinating than my Master’s program. This experience has infused me with determination to earn a Ph.D. and to learn more about the interaction of people, ideas, technology, and organizations.



“Extravagance Among Neanderthals”

Implications of surprising prehistoric hominid behavior--writing sample By Brian Campbell

About 100,000 years ago a man we have named Shanidar-1 lived in what is now modern-day Iraq. He was a Neanderthal cousin of ours and lived in a group of 20-30 hominids who hunted and gathered their way around pre-Persia in relentless pursuit of food. What makes him especially interesting is that he was likely blind in one eye and suffered debilitating injuries rendering him unable to walk or hunt or gather much of anything. In spite of these handicaps he was kept alive for many years as evidenced by his fully healed bones seen when researchers found his skeleton (Le Pichon 2010). Shanidar’s group is also known as the worlds’ first flower children, as they buried their dead under a blanket of fresh flowers. The finding about the extent to which the Neanderthal helped (as least some of) their fellow sojourners and their show of devotion in burial ritual was greeted with great skepticism in the scientific community as contrary to “survival of the fittest” (it appears that the Neanderthal had not read Darwin). The implications of care extended to those in need among the Neanderthal may seem far removed from our modern world, but I will suggest that they are not. The above discussion of the Neanderthal is derived from Ecce Homo (“Behold Humanity”) by Xavier Le Pichon. His essential argument is that meeting human need is a human need. The extent to which we help others in our community is what makes us uniquely human. I wonder if the needs of our relatively helpless young (compared to other species), known as prolonged dependence, produced a pattern of helping behavior that humans extend to others in our communities (the handicapped, infirm, or elderly). It might follow then, that teaching our young is part of the alchemical caldron by which modern humans have evolved to form compassionate communities. Jeremy Rifkin deftly describes extending care in ever wider circles in a short presentation called “The Empathic Civilization” (May 6, 2010). Rifkin suggests that humans have an “empathic sociability” soft-wired in our neocortices.

Education may be viewed as an expression of an elemental force essential to our identity. It was born in stories told around campfires 100,000 years ago. Today we have specialized this art form and much of the education is given to young unrelated to the instructors. Is this a product of our empathic sociability extending beyond our immediate family to a broader community? Recent discoveries of social neuroscience have profound implications for leaders in education. Educators that are effective, care about their students, and not only dispense knowledge but also build relationships with students. Support for educational efforts depends on empathic sociability wired into the neocortices of taxpayers, parents and community. The educator should know that biology is on our side. If we lack support for an educational venture, helpful to our youth and our society, we have not adequately communicated the need (Tyack & Cuban 1995). If we have an unmet need, what we have is “a failure to communicate.” This is not a Utopian view (though it does paint humanity in a good light)--it actually requires that something be wrong. Something must be wrong to prompt an empathic response. My argument is that public schools are a response to the prolonged dependence of youth and help us satisfy our own need to express “social empathy.” Education is an expression of our humanity, to suggest otherwise one would have to be a Neanderthal… well maybe a Homo habilis. Works Cited Le Pichon, Xavier, Ecce Homo, online paper, 2010 Rifkin, Jeremy, The Empathic Civilization, Royal Society of the Arts, 2010 Tyack, D. & Cuban L. Tinkering Toward Utopia, p. 31, Harvard Univ. Press, 1995



Thesis, Communications Plan, Articles, etc. Note: contributions highlighted in green were omitted from resume. “Preview” designation indicates the material is truncated (first 100 words, etc.) and the full version is available online to paid members only. Communications Failures in Higher Education: How Great Ideas Are Diminished or Lost in Academia. Master’s Thesis, Winona State, Spring 2012. Focus on Web Usability & Social Media. College of Education Communications Plan. Winona State University, Spring 2012. Playing-card Profile Gauge is a Good Deal. Methods of Work, Fine Woodworking, 225, 14. March/April 2012. How To Make Elliptical Cove Molding. Old House Journal, March 2012. Shutters Made Simpler. Journal of Light Construction, May 2011. Miter Clamps. Tool Review, Old House Journal, Feb./March 2011. Stair Storage. Great Ideas, Fine Homebuilding, 215, Fall 2010. There’s a Better Way, feature with Chuck Miller, Fine Homebuilding, Webcast, Sept. 2010. Building an Arched Pocket Door. Master Carpenter, Fine Homebuilding, 213, 96. Sept. 2010. Versatile Band Saw Work Tables. Tips and Techniques (preview), Fine Homebuilding, 213, 20. Sept. 2010. Haiti Relief Effort. Blog, Fine, April 2010. Green Qualities of Old Houses. Blog, My Old House Online. Feb. 2010. Victorian Style Door Casing. Journal of Light Construction, 28(5) Feb 2010. Big Beams, No Problem. with Andy Engel. Web Exclusive, Professional Deck Builder, Jan./Feb. 2010. Router Bit Storage. Tips and Techniques (preview), Fine Homebuilding, 209, 20. Jan 2010. Custom Carved Corbels. Journal of Light Construction, 28(4) 76. Jan. 2010. Wraparound Lavatory Drawer. Fine Homebuilding, 207. Fall 2009. Miter-Tite Assembly System First Test, Tools of the Trade, Nov. 2009. Flexible Trailer Storage. w/David Holbrook, Journal of Light Construction, 28(1). 80. Oct. 2009. Sculpting a Radiused Crown Molding in Plaster. Master Carpenter, Fine Homebuilding, 204, 90-94. July 2009. Roll-up Boardwalk. Tips and Techniques, Fine Homebuilding, 200. 28. Jan. 2009. New Life for Old Balusters. Tips and Techniques, Fine Homebuilding, 197, 26. Sept. 2008. Reproducing Historic Architectural Details. Master Carpenter (preview), Fine Homebuilding,196, 110-114. July 2008.


Spacers for Laminate-counter Fabrication. Trade Secrets from America’s Best Builders, Fine Homebuilding, 173, back cover (dust jacket). Sept. 2005.

Brian Campbell's Creative Communications  

Portfolio of communications work

Brian Campbell's Creative Communications  

Portfolio of communications work