Flexible engagement

In this post I expand to education the scope of the principle of “flexible engagement”—“an ideal in which researchers in any knowledge-making situation are able to connect quickly with others who are almost ready—either formally or otherwise—to foster participatory processes and, through the experience such processes provide their participants, contribute to enhancing the capacity of others to do likewise.” (Taylor 2005, p. 225). Read more of this post


Intersections of  history, personal change, creativity, memory–and, more generally,  journeying: An evening with Johnny Clegg

A concert I went to last night reminds me that making spaces for connecting, probing, reflecting, creating cannot be a matter of finding the right theory and then implementing it (see topic of a current collaborative exploration).
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Workshop on Making Spaces for Connecting, Probing, Reflecting, Creating

“Most workshops are dysfunctional—this one wasn’t!” read one evaluation from the first New England Workshop on Science and Social Change (NewSSC) workshop in 2004. Appreciative feedback like that may feel like validation for any workshop or collaborative processes that you facilitate, but how well can you articulate or support the principles or theory about personal and group change that underlie those processes? Moreover, how would you lead people who experience the dysfunction in many workshops, collaborations, conferences and meetings into making the effort to create something more fulfilling?

This four-day workshop is intended to allow participants to delve into the principles or theory that underlie their own workshop or collaborative processes and develop plans to make those processes more effective in some sense(s) that they deem important….
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Hope or shift to the other side of one of a series of alternations

Time and again she comes running towards you with a bunch of hopes she has found and picked in the undergrowth of the times we are living. And you remember that hope is not a guarantee for tomorrow, but a detonator of energy for action today.

Let’s imagine the “she” referred to in this quote by John Berger, the late English Marxist art critic and social commentator, is oneself Read more of this post

Generativity not reactivity

This 5-minute audio thoughtpiece on generativity and reactivity advises anyone feeling depressed or distracted or dissipated or reluctant during the turbulent politics of these days is to protect space to be generative not reactive.  Hear more Read more of this post

One-day Connecting-Probing-Reflecting (CPR) workshop

This blog post compresses into one day (11h 45m) a previous suggestion of how participants’ interests and energies could be engaged over the day and a half of a ThinkTank on topic X. The instructions are given for arrangements with the additional goal of making it possible to host such 1-day CPR workshops without major funding and without burning out the organizers.  (Some details to be added: Lunch & dinner arrangements; Participants helping with meal set-up and clean-up;…) Read more of this post

The ethics of participatory processes: Dynamic flux, open questions

This essay arose from a workshop on ecological ethics.  It is a thought-piece about possibilities, more than an analysis of a actual practice.  But I have found myself coming back to it for the framing it provides in the combination of “five ideals for a ‘dynamic flux ethics’—engagement, participation, cultivating collaborators, transversality, and fostering curiosity.”

Yesterday, in response to a student’s term paper, I thought that, esoteric language aside, these ideals could inform education from an early age. Today, I am thinking that, despite the pressure to get active now in response to the radical right wing take-over of government power at many levels in the USA, any course of action could be evaluated in terms of whether it met all five ideals, described in brief here.

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