Community members from Iowa’s Creative Corridor said yes to an ambiguous yet clear enough invitation and gathered on August 18. With this yes they entered into the conditions of an emergent, co-creative field of what is possible. Each yes brought with it its own cares, concerns and curiosities.
The story is changing out there. The world is experiencing transitions in economics, in communities, in the way people gather and in the way they are citizens in their communities. To be a part of uncovering some of those movements and bringing them to light is really exciting — to continually search for the gifts and assets that are out there. There's no shortage, as it turns out.
When we try anything new it can be hard. In the early days we might need to turn to props, mnemonics, guidebooks or top tips to help us get to grips with even the basics. If someone acts as a coach and we get time to practice then our confidence grows. We turn to the props and guides less and less. One day we realise we can just "do" it… the thing… whatever it is… without thinking!
Recently, I was invited to engage in a fascinating online conversation about narrative and generative community. It really got me thinking.
Society is often spoken of as if it has only two important dimensions; namely, individuals on the one hand and formal institutions on the other. What this map of civic space leaves out is everything in between: families, neighbours and friends, clubs, local business, faith communities and associations.
One has to wonder if the results of the Brexit referendum are an answer to a question other than the one on the ballot. Being in inquiry most of my life I’ve had many, many experiences where the question asked isn’t quite the one answered.
Trying to listen well — like striving to live healthy — can easily erode into a guilt-heavy, anxiety-stabbed experience.
John McKnight has a passion for jazz. Once a year he becomes a roadie for one week and travels on a bus with an aging “old time” jazz band. He once told me if he hadn’t gone down the road he went, a life as a jazz musician would have been a dream come true. Not at all surprisingly, one of his favourite metaphors for leaderless groups is a jazz jam session.
Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) starts with what’s strong not what’s wrong, but should we be expected to always look on the bright side of life? This week’s offer to Room 101 is "overt positivity" in the face of structural inequality; when misguided ABCD practice ignores the underlying issues of power and oppression in communities.
Asset mapping was never intended to be about data gathering by institutions but about relationship building between neighbours. It feels like there is a move away from this neighbourly connection, muddying the waters for thoughtful citizens hoping to grow and develop their own asset maps.
As satisfying as your new project or initiative is, there is no rule that states it has to continue. In its current form at least.
I’m a bit nervous as I knock on my neighbour’s door. I’ve lived here for five years so I’ve certainly seen them around, I think I even introduced myself, but have forgotten their names.