'Outliers' Manifesting a Preferred Future Want to Widen the Circle

A visual harvest of the Jan. 6 international call hosted by Axiom News. Illustrator: Yvonne Hollandy

'Outliers' Manifesting a Preferred Future Want to Widen the Circle

We are actualizing something by how we’re meeting together: Peter Pula

From outliers to renegades, pirates and solitary forest wanderers, a few words cropping up in an international dialogue on Generative Journalism and the New Narrative Arts hosted by Axiom News this week surfaced a shared sense of being on the edge of something — the thrilling but also often lonely and anxiety-ridden edge.

Directly linked to that, there was a pulsing theme of gratitude to have found one another — to have discovered companions or, better yet, fellow pirates, as Jocasta Boone said, for the ongoing adventure into the unknown.

Renegade from Peterborough

“I like that we’re a bunch of bold renegades on this call,” Jocasta said as the Jan. 6 dialogue wrapped up. “It helps you to stay close to the edge, when you know there are other people out there with you.”

A Peterborough, Ont. resident who worked with Axiom News to help pioneer a blend of generative dialogue and media-making called the Peterborough Dialogues last year, Jocasta is now courageously bringing these innovative dialogue forms into other spaces in the community, including the political sphere.

Lonely Forest Wanderer from Winnipeg

Noah Erenberg has been cutting a new path with his creation of a Winnipeg-based citizen journalism project.

As convener of the project, called Community News Commons (CNC) Noah trains and engages hundreds of citizens in the art of creating multi-media stories, which are published to CNC. Reporters range from a homeless person living in a local shelter to a professional working full time, and everyone in between.

“Two months ago before these calls started I felt I was alone in a forest,” Noah said.

 
 

Aided by Zoom technology, the group was able to connect both visually and by audio, and convene in both a large- and small-group formats.

“But I’m thankful that we’ve had these calls. Now I’m realizing there is a whole world of people out there that are wanting to do similar type of things — to tell stories that really push our communities to places that we haven’t been before.

“I’m really excited about what’s next.”

Outliers from Calgary

In Calgary, a project called New Scoop has been working to weave together the powerful elements in the co-operative movement and Generative Journalism into a new kind of media entity.

Sarah Arthurs has been a key brave pilgrim in that journey, pushing the boundaries of possibility. Several Calgarians who are curious about and/or already engaged with New Scoop joined her for the international call.

“What I’m hearing over and over again is just an appreciation that everyone is on this journey together,” said Simone Lee, who is one of those just dipping into the New Scoop project.

“Generally it’s a very solitary endeavour and you can feel very alone and very much put upon because it’s easy to pick on outliers.

“So I think that having this community, everyone is very aware and appreciative of the fact that we are here together.”

The Future is in the Room

The reverberating sense from the Jan. 6 call was that what was happening in the “room,” globally flung apart as it was, was a manifestation of a preferred future.

“What I am imagining to be able to happen in our world is actually happening (here and now),” Alizabeth Jetter of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said. In response, her spirit was “going in leaps and bounds in celebration of the possibilities.”

Alizabeth, who brings an interest in women entrepreneurship and Black youth economic empowerment, is hoping to find a way to convene and narrative dialogues of the kind experienced and discussed in the international dialogues.

“We are meeting in Cedar Rapids on the 18th to begin discussions. I’m excited about the journey,” she said.

Nicole Chan, who has also been involved with the New Scoop project, shared a similar sentiment of sensing that the future is in the room.

“In the spirt of Peter Block’s work, by gathering here, we’re already living the future we want to create,” said Nicole, who is now curious to see how this group is going to further develop as “a precursor to the kind of things we can bring in the wider world,”

“We are actualizing something by how we’re meeting together. Not just the fact that we’re meeting. … but it’s how we’re doing it,” Peter Pula of Axiom News, the host of the call, said.

 
  To view a larger rendering of Yvonne Hollandy's visual harvest of the Jan. 6 call, click the image.

A BGO or 'Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious'

While the feeling was strong that the group is on the edge of something new and possibility-rich, a desire to quickly widen the circle and be open and abundant about what we’re discovering was also expressed.

“An idea I want to launch is for this group to think about how can we share the vast experience that is in this group with other groups, and, by sharing, to connect with people,” said Jan Somers, a coach, photographer and poet from Belgium.

“(I would like to see us) be an open source, rather than a closed group of tips and tricks and how to work with art and storytelling and narrative.

“So I would suggest that we plead for openness in sharing, — and by sharing we will receive.”

In full-hearted agreement, Sarah from Calgary mentioned her recent BGO or blinding glimpse of the obvious, as she described it, which is that the words generative (a central guiding way of being in this work) and generous are very much linked.

“I’ve been thinking about that in terms of anticipating models for New Scoop and how we’re going to function,” Sarah said.

“Do we have the courage to embrace that principle as we set up our business model, our engagement model?

“So I’m really hearing what you’re saying, Jan, and the challenge to hear that or believe that the universe is abundant and there is enough.”

A final call in the international series hosted by Axiom News will take place Jan. 20.

To learn more about this international call series, click here.

Writer Bio

Michelle Strutzenberger's picture
Michelle Strutzenberger

Michelle Strutzenberger has been a Generative Journalist and curator with Axiom News for more than 15 years.

She's most grateful for the incredible people she gets to work with every day at Axiom News, as well as the many other amazing folks she's encountered through this work.

"I have always seen the opportunity to do this work as a gift," she says.

Michelle's writing has also been published by a wide variety of other organizations and publications, including the following:
- Abundant Community, an initiative of authors John McKnight and Peter Block to awaken the power of families and neighbourhoods
- PLAN Institute, a network dedicated to enabling families to create a good life for people with disabilities
-.New Scoop YYC, Calgary's news co-op practicing Generative Journalism
- The Canadian Community Economic Development Network
- Nieuwmakers, a Belgian news agency
- Restore Commons, an initiative of Peter Block and friends
- Academy for Systemic Change

Contact Michelle: 705-741-4421 ext. 27 or michelle(at)axiomnews.com.

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