I’m interested in social institutions and the different ways they can be relevant in the 21st Century.
Here are some of the previous projects I’ve been involved in, now either resting or thriving in my absence. I describe them as an indication of my experiences and interests. Let me know if you are seeking people for a like-minded venture: a co-production initiative, an unusual learning institution, collaboration project, or some other kind with a similar flavour.
I've been involved for some years with the contemplation practises developed by Alan Chapman that currently sit under the title Magia. This aims to provide clear spiritual teaching with minimal jargon, and recognising that part of the path of spiritual insight involves exploring and challenging belief systems, thus recognising the role of individual psychology in awakening. At times I have been involved as an advisor/input but my main role is as a student and advocate for this approach.
The Time Bank in Paxton Green
In a time banking scheme, participants “deposit” their time in the bank by giving practical help and support to others and are able to “withdraw” their time when they need something back. We're both giver and receiver, and we pay attention the different ways we can give. Like local currencies, it is a way to develop resilience within communities by developing ties between members and surfacing their intrinsic assets, encouraging people to depend more on one another and less on formal systems that may not be around forever.
As a trustee of Paxton Green for 5 years, I was involved in ongoing management and governance, as well as staff recruitment/appraisals, formation of three-year strategy, and a research role including liaison with work conducted at Bristol University.
Edgeryders/Council of Europe (2012/13)
During this period I became involved with the Edgeryders, an initiative aimed at how young people could engage with the world during a time of extreme precarity. I was part of a team that began putting flesh onto @benvickers’ unMonastery concept, which is now being prototyped in Matera, Italy. I also participated in the Council of Europe's planning and design meeting on citizen engagement against poverty and inequalities.
My time banking work spoke to my belief in locality - small is beautiful (and effective). These meetings and events relate to my interest in more strategic and experimental action, as well as an interest in how technologies can lubricate or impede these actions.
The University Project / Plays the Thing (2011)
Somewhat prior to this I was involved with projects that were more abstracted, concerned with knowledge and wellbeing.
Dougald Hine's University Project reached its clearest expression in a three-day unconference hosted by myself, Dougald, and Liane Fredericks, exploring alternatives to the existing mainstream model of higher education, from freeschooling to wikified accreditation. It led on to several collaborations for me including workshops on leadership with the Free University of Liverpool, and the improvising mathematics course described here.
The Play's the Thing conference was organised by Pat Kane to explore creative perspectives for wellbeing - creative meaning both rooted in the arts, and in the sense of imaginative/flexible. I ran a workshop and talk there.
The Dark Mountain Project
Dark Mountain is a project and movement that can be tricky to describe without experiencing directly. For me, it begins with the acknowledgement that we are living through a time of disruption, and that many features of society that we take for granted will be unrecognisable within our lifetimes. Dark Mountain gives a space for people to associate, get a handle on what that means, and examine the narratives - grand and personal - that will be overturned whether we like it or not.
The kind of things I've gotten up to with them include
- Talks on improvising the future, (2010)
- Trance mask improvisation session (2010)
- Using improvisation as a tool for Living with Uncertainty (2010, 11, 13)
- Taking Floris Kloot's kids council to the festival (2010, 12, 13)
- Children's storytelling (2011, 12)
- Part of the ensemble producing the art happenings Liminal (2011) and Mearcstapa (2012)