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.

It takes a village to… raise an adult (especially after loss)

Let me share some new thinking about the purpose of the book I produced and recently published, Ann(ie) Blum in Our Lives.

What does it mean to have had Ann—Annie to some—Blum in our lives? The letters and stories from family and friends assembled in this book, together with photos and words of Ann’s own, evoke her presence. They allow us to think about what we want to carry forward, into the lives we still have.

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Cultivating collaborators, revisited

This post assembles a short-list of measures that enhance the building of a trust-full, generative group interested in personal, professional, and institutional change.  It feeds back into face-to-face group meetings items from an earlier post “on integrating face-to-face dynamics into the structure and expectations of online platforms.” Read more of this post

Every-year Apprentice

What skills do we need to apprentice on? As soon as I began a list, I saw that the answer was many. There are many skills that we might wish we had developed before we needed them, to avoid getting into a crisis or being overwhelmed when the need arose. This led me to imagine a society in which we make time as part of everyday, every-week, every-year life to be an apprentice, and to serve as the guide to apprentices. Read more of this post

Design change for individuals in/and society

This post presents a series of contrasting models for thinking about how to change individuals, society, and individuals in their social context. It addresses the first case in the course Design for Living Complexities. Read more of this post

Exploring the relevance of Relational Cultural Theory to forming a sustainable “studio”

Relational Cultural Theory (RCT) holds that human growth and development occurs in relationships. The cultural emphasis on a separate self, maturing or individuating,[1] devalues the efforts of people, especially women, who foster connectedness. RCT-informed therapy emphasizes self-in-relationship, even as it acknowledges that people disconnect strategically in response to dominance by the powerful.

To explore the relevance of RCT to forming a sustainable studio (see also here) we need: a) to translate the therapeutic principles and practices to situations and interactions in which being whole more than healing is the focus; and b) to explore the benefits and costs of putting support for studio participants’ separate projects (in their separate situations) ahead of building relationships among the group members. Read more of this post

ThinkTank, a day-and-half model

I recently attended a “thinktank” that went from evening of one day to lunchtime a day and a half later. After looking back at what happened (and didn’t), I prepared this blog post to suggest a way that participants’ interests and energies could be engaged over the day and a half of a ThinkTank on topic X. (It is not important for this exercise to identify what the topic was of the ThinkTank I attended.) The instructions are given for arrangements with the additional goal of making it possible to host such ThinkTanks without major funding and without burning out the organizers. Read more of this post

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