Yesterday Axiom News hosted a special conversation with Peter Block, Walter Brueggemann and John McKnight on their new book, An Other Kingdom. Here we share a visual and poetic harvest of the call captured by Yvonne Hollandy and Ben Wolfe respectively.
an other kingdom
three fish in a bowl a triad of seekers, of seers
six old, white eyes that have learned to see water, and see through water —
they speak of the sacred, share stories with strangers
pearls beyond price from another kingdom,
in a language we used to know
Listen to a recording of the conversation here. To purchase the book, An Other Kingdom, click here.
Friday February 19, 2016 - Michelle Strutzenberger
Insights from Peter Pula
Our latest fractal brings together a random collection of brief insights expressed by Peter Pula in various recent conversations on Generative Journalism and the New Narrative Arts:
Generative Journalism includes sharing clearly possibilities that are emerging as a result of people coming together in new ways.
How do we uncover the new life that wants to come into being?
We want to be in a space of prophetic imagination...causing a new thing to be born.
Our intention is to break away from old stories we continue to live into and to work into ways we can co-create a new story together.
There is a fine space between the past and the future, and that is where the chrysalis of Generative Journalism lives.
If you touch a soul you touch infinity. That's a pretty big audience.
Things open up when the silence asks the question.
The less time between the point of inception and something being seen, the more generative it is.
We don't want to know what happened; we want to know what's happening.
We don't stand outside of a community and report on it; we stand in and with community.
Generative Journalism asks, "What are the questions we can ask that give birth to the new thing?"
In doing the work of Generative Journalism, we’re not here to help somebody. We’re here to discover somebody.
In Generative Journalism you work with somebody co-creatively to shape a story that you both want to live into together.
Wednesday February 3, 2016 - Axiom News
Peterborough Dialogues Doings and Delights
We’re excited that the Peterborough Dialogues initiative — our community dialogue and new narrative arts studio dedicated to our local community’s thriving — is abuzz with activity this month. Click the link that follows to learn more about these local happenings: a gathering on rethinking citizen engagement, a hosting arts training workshop and a human services and justice summit.
Illustration created by Yvonne Hollandy of Axiom News as she participated in an international dialogue series on Generative Journalism and the New Narrative Arts.
Friday January 29, 2016 - Michelle Strutzenberger
New Narrative Arts & Our Communities
When creating the space for communities to come up with their own strengths-based responses to local issues, a big question has to do with telling the story of what's unfolding as the communities move forward. What's the best way to do this storytelling? What's the intention, i.e. is it just to shine a light on what's happening, or can the story itself act as a kind of "next step" for the community's journey? And is it just written stories we're talking about? Or what about illustrations, videos, poems?
An international dialogue series, called Generative Journalism and the New Narrative Arts, hosted by Axiom News, touched on these questions -- though there's still lots more to explore!
The gorgeous illustration posted above was created by Yvonne Hollandy of Axiom News as she participated in the last call of the international dialogue series last week.
It offers a sampling of what's possible through combining the arts and community dialogue.
We'd love to hear your reflections on what comes up for you as you consider this topic and/or look at the illustration!
Also, let us know if you'd be interested in joining another dialogue series on Generative Journalism and the New Narrative Arts!
Wednesday December 9, 2015 - Ben Wolfe
A Joyful Year at the Gates of Hope
I shared this image to social media almost exactly a year ago: a fractal structure, in delicate balance, built patiently and by hand, in unique relationship to a place — and with it a quotation from Victoria Safford's essay “The Small Work in the Great Work,” beginning “Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of Hope.”
It had just become financially impossible to fully staff and fund emerging work we were still in the process of sensing the full shape and possibility of at Axiom News — some of the best work I have ever been involved in, what has become the Peterborough Dialogues.
Photo: Rock art by Richard Schilling
I just kept coming, first part-time and then full time and more. It was too right to stop. The magic was almost in reach. Those of us pursuing this discovered we were transforming ourselves by the work. We became deep co-creators, drawn (quoting Rumi) “by the strange pull of what we truly love.” We have lived frugally, dared joyfully, experienced moment after moment of being joined by amazing and generative people in deep search for community. We've paid ourselves when we can be paid.
It's been coming into bloom over the last few months, locally where something beautiful and amazing seems to happen almost every day, and internationally now too in a small but powerful way. Today is the fifth call in our global Adventure Into Generative Journalism & the New Narrative Arts, with participants from Cedar Rapids, Cincinnati, Seattle, Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal, Delburne, New Delhi, Berlin, Antwerp, Mopertingen (Belgium) and more. We might just be collectively birthing a worldwide network of projects that combine citizen journalism with local convening, all in the service of life, local resilience and community.
It's doing what we dream of doing. Community-building. Learning. Media-making. Change. Creating (in the words of a paper co-written by a brilliant friend, Vanessa Reid, of the Living Wholeness Institute, "a learning ecology for community transformation.”
It's been an extraordinary year, the adventure is only beginning — and I've rarely been so grateful to be reminded of a year-old post by the robots of Facebook.
Here's the quotation, from Rev. Victoria Safford:
“Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of Hope — not the prudent gates of Optimism, which are somewhat narrower; nor the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense; nor the strident gates of Self-Righteousness, which creak on shrill and angry hinges (people cannot hear us there; they cannot pass through); nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of ‘Everything is gonna be all right.’ But a different, sometimes lonely place, the place of truth-telling, about your own soul first of all and its condition, the place of resistance and defiance, the piece of ground from which you see the world both as it is and as it could be, as it will be; the place from which you glimpse not only struggle, but joy in the struggle. And we stand there, beckoning and calling, telling people what we are seeing, asking people what they see.” — from “The Small Work in the Great Work”
Monday November 23, 2015 - Ben Wolfe
I Felt My Feet Move to Answer
We share one of the poetic harvests by Ben Wolfe from the second gathering of the Adventure into Generative Journalism & the New Narrative Arts. The poem is woven with insights expressed by participants in the call.
i was given the gift of a challenge today : a distant voice that seemed to speak right in my ear asked :
what declaration of possibility can you make that has the power to transform community and inspire you ¿
i heard my own voice say :
i believe in the power of being generative i believe it is the transformation we need
it is possible that people living together in community can overcome their differences for the sake of the whole
and celebrate their differences as a gift to the whole
i believe all this can become normal more quickly than we can imagine
i felt my feet move to answer, inspired by the talent that is sitting at the table, their declaration makes me want to jump in with them,
we are facilitators we can create that space
we are makers of co-creative art, the process itself can be transformative, if you connect difference, you transform —
we are weaving this harvest together
Tuesday November 17, 2015 - Ben Wolfe
On the First Day
The Adventure into Generative Journalism & the New Narrative Arts has begun, and the first dialogue has seeded a harvest that includes artwork, a video, a blog and Facebook bursts of reflection and gratitude. We include one of the artifacts, here, a phrase-poem by Ben Wolfe. All of the words were spoken by participants in the call. Enjoy!
it's starting and the energy is right
i was in the room with people who want to make the world a better place, by being present to each other, the openness and honesty were incredible,
that spark of connection added a whole different level of energy within the first half hour —
i have found colleagues, i do not have to be alone
i received the gift of listening i received the gift of common ground
i received the gift of validation that i hadn't realized i needed quite so much right now
it was a wonderful gift to hear the deeper thread a stranger heard in my story
they told me i am at the beginning of a great journey i felt the adventure through their eyes
i am sensing the shift, i can almost name what i am on the cusp of learning —
i am in the right place in the right time with the right people — i am feeling the friendship already
I have used the ‘hunting’ language, and its context is specific for me. It’s not about claiming the essence of a story but about seeking something in myself — about hearing, listening for, catching the scent of something that is right, that is more awake, that is closer to what I have been trying to find.
On ‘capturing’ … I share entirely your thoughts and feelings on it if it’s about someone else, or if it’s about ‘claiming’ a story. It’s the difference between a free and living creature and one that is dead and pinned to a card, with the name of its species beside it.
If I use ‘capture’ now (and I’m going to be thinking about how to use it) it will be in the sense of a marker, a note made. There was something I said once about a story, a poem, a photo being like ‘a blaze on a tree’, a place of significance that represented a moment of discovery that I now know how to come back to.
The Way It Is
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among things that change. But it doesn’t change. People wonder about what you are pursuing. You have to explain about the thread. But it is hard for others to see. While you hold it you can’t get lost. Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die; and you suffer and get old. Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding. You don’t ever let go of the thread.
— William Stafford (from The Way It Is, 1998)
Monday November 2, 2015 - Ben Wolfe
We're launching a new section of the Axiom News website today. For the moment we're calling it "Fractals."
A Fractals post is quicker and lighter than a blog, contains an "a-ha!" or insight, and is the latest moment in a co-created stream of process learning by, for and from our team — or anyone we're with who says something sparkling.
What's it for? We find ourselves joyfully surfing a tsunami of accelerated learning. We’re inviting ourselves to discover the best ways to continually create artifacts of our work and learning, in a way that doesn't interfere with the speed of discovery.
We are freeing ourselves to share everything from aphorisms, to poems, to paragraphs, to sketches, to photos, captured in the moment, and posted with minimal necessary structure. Fractals posts will make most sense over time, as part of a stream. There's nothing magic about this: it's just a need we've encountered in our current “fractal zoom” of practice.
We are looking for (and sometimes even finding) deep patterns of generativity, across systems and scales. This section is an experiment in capturing and sharing that adventure without slowing down. Why “Fractals"? A fractal is a pattern that is self-similar at different scales. It's a deep structure of emergence.