Blogs

Al Etmanski

Al Etmanski's picture
Al Etmanski is a community organizer, social entrepreneur and author. He is a founding partner of Social Innovation Generation (SiG) and BC Partners for Social Impact. Previously he co-founded...

Sarah Arthurs

Sarah Arthurs's picture
Sarah Arthurs has a B.A. in Theology, a Masters in Educational Psychology and is a Registered Psychologist. She has worked as a therapist, college instructor, parent educator, community developer and...

Yvonne Hollandy

Yvonne Hollandy's picture
Yvonne Hollandy has been immersed in generative dialogue and the new narrative arts with Axiom News since 2007. A 17-year professional background in graphic design, and a life-long love of the arts...

Griet Bouwen

Griet Bouwen's picture
During preparations for the 5th Appreciative Inquiry World Conference, held in Belgium in 2012, Griet Bouwen bounced into the work of Axiom News and recognized her mission in its vision, themes and...

Peter Pula

Peter Pula's picture
Peter Pula has been exploring the pathways to social evolution since founding the Grassroots Review in his hometown of Peterborough in 1992. Since then he has served on the boards of civil society...

Michelle Strutzenberger

Michelle Strutzenberger's picture
Generative Journalist  

Chuck Peters

Chuck Peters's picture
Chuck Peters is President of The Gazette Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He can be reached at chuck.peters@thegazettecompany.com.

Cormac Russell

Cormac Russell's picture
Cormac Russell is Managing Director of Nurture Development, Director of ABCD Europe and a faculty member of the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute at Northwestern University, Chicago...

John McKnight

John McKnight's picture
John McKnight is emeritus professor of education and social policy and codirector of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University. He is the coauthor of Building...

Peter Block

Peter Block's picture
In addition to The Abundant Community, co-authored with John McKnight, Peter Block is the author of Flawless Consulting, Community, Stewardship and The Answer to How Is Yes. He serves on the boards...

Newest Blogs

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Unbearably practical words pointing to where new worlds of wonder await

So much mystery and romance are conjured by the word piano. The piano is a powerfully evocative musical instrument. A piano is capable of sounding as many notes, and by some mysterious art even more, as a pianist has fingers and in endless combination. The harpsichord, the piano’s predecessor, could do all that too. The harpsichord was once the premier instrument of choice in the European music scene for the wide range of possibilities it offered. Even at that, and alas, the harpsichord plucked each of its strings with equal strength producing a uniform sound level, and to me, a madness-inducing monotony. Enter then, the now legendary piano. The piano made so much more possible. An incredible innovation at the time, the piano allowed for dynamic.

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We are at a crossroads in our shared lives and lifestyles, revealed by COVID-19. We can do what is often done in these situations; simply be reactive in our actions during this pandemic, or we can take “the road less travelled” and be generative now and as we transition towards our preferred futures.

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The world has seemingly tilted on its axis. First and foremost, we hope that wherever you are reading these words, you are safe and healthy, and that you are finding ways to stay socially connected with others, even while we must be physically distanced from each other.

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In my previous blog, I shared the first six of eleven shifts in mindset and approach required to move from a deficit-based to an Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) response to COVID-19. I affirmed the view that now isn’t the time to abandon ABCD principles and practices in favour of top-down deficit-based relief efforts. Now is the time to accelerate ABCD on every street. This week I will share the next five shifts (Table 1.2.).

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Over the next few months, I will regularly share new parts/sections of an emerging ‘Guide for Professionals working in Citizen space, during and beyond COVID-19’. I hope you’ll tell me what’s useful and what’s not, and that you’ll also share some stories that support us all to see practical ways to be responsive and generative, in these challenging times.

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Media shift towards civic communications is worth appreciating

Over the past two weeks, the journalistic stance of media here in Canada, and I suspect other countries, has been changing in a manner worth appreciating.

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The reality of COVID-19 is sinking in. This pandemic is likely to be a long and drawn-out one. It also is reasonable to assume that it will not be the last of its kind. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see that critical public health messages are getting through regarding hand-washing, physical distance, limits on congregation and the need for self-isolation both as a preventive and recovery measure.

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Start with what brings each journalist alive

If one wanted to create a democratic and engaged newsroom the place to start is with what interests each journalist specifically. Find out what about their community is most important to them personally, what they care the most about.

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Last summer I wrote and published a story about a former convent, in which I kept a studio, that was fast becoming a community commons. With 131,000 square feet of space on a 10-acre parcel of land near the heart of the city this place had been purchased by way of a community bond and continues to become a community space.

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For over 15 years the Axiom News space has been hosting a Space for Life. This is a phrase brought to us by Michelle Holliday and was the midwife of wonderful clarity.

By our conversations with thousands of people over the years we’ve grown into many beautiful friendships and connections. We have met mentors, supporters, fans, and like-hearted people from many parts of the world.

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Imagine a warm, welcoming cottage, one that is beloved by its stewards and long-awaiting their return. It is a place lovingly imbued with the many memories and friendships held and hosted there over the years. Some time ago, the occupants of this wonderful place received a call to a work some distance away. As the call increased in its energy the occupants ventured off in answer. The home lay in wait for their return, still holding and serving as sanctuary to the intentions, care, and potential of all that was began and is still alive within its rooms, gardens, and pathways.

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For the last five years we have been seeking, and celebrating, educators who are committed to developing whole children, with continued integrity and agency to effectively use the competencies learned in school.

And, we have heard from several of those educators that it can be lonely work, with other teachers, administrators and parents comfortable with the way education has been. So, Benjamin Smith, Jennifer Wilson and myself wrote a paper called Generative Education as an evolving exploration of what we have seen and an invitation for those who would like to share a field of practice.