Turning a Generative Lens on a Transformed School

Turning a Generative Lens on a Transformed School

“They told us it made them stronger:” documentary producer The Gazette Company CEO and president Chuck Peters

A just-released video documentary of the transformation of a once-failing U.K. primary school offers hope not only for our education communities, but also for the way we create the story of any community we care about.

 
  Chuck Peters

President and CEO of the Iowa-based media firm, The Gazette Company, Chuck Peters took the lead in directing and producing the documentary. Chuck brings a deep passion for creating what he calls Generative Education Communities.

He chose to approach the narration of the school’s journey using the elements of Generative Journalism put forward by Axiom News founder and CEO Peter Pula: presence, questions, essence, weaving and sensing.

“In doing this video with the school, we told them what we were doing and why, and how we intended to act,” Chuck says.

“And to a person they told us it made them stronger. They were doing their work, but they didn’t have time to reflect, they didn’t have time to create the narrative.”

Chuck came away from the experience with a deep sense that this kind of narration “is real work.”

“It’s a real-world deal, with real effects. . . . It’s not extracting from the community a minimal story that dimly reflects what they’re doing,” Chuck says.

“It truly is generative.”

Chuck describes having a new feeling “in my bones” of what it means to be generative as a narrator, which has to do with sensing into the next step to be taken. “What happens is, the community tells us (what that next step is),” he says. “(Their response is), ‘This is great, this really helped us, this solidified us, this gave me hope for doing this or that. Now here’s what I need next’.”

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Writer Bio

Michelle Strutzenberger's picture
Michelle Strutzenberger

Michelle Strutzenberger was with Axiom News as a Generative Journalist for more than 15 years (2001-2016). She recently joined the Resonance Centre for Social Evolution, an organization that works with communities to enable their citizens to connect deeply around their true values and dreams, and to foster an environment for participatory engagement. The Resonance Centre has identified two fundamental patterns for cultivating this kind of connection and engagement: Generative convening and the narrative arts (which includes Generative Journalism). Michelle is thrilled to add to and learn from this vital and exciting work.

Contact Michelle: michelle(at)resonancecentre.com.

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