What happened in Boundless Roots in 2020
As we’re already two months into the new year, we are taking the opportunity to look back and celebrate all that happened in our community in 2020 and share our first ideas on how the future might look like for us as our funded time of incubation is coming to an end.
As we begin our reflection, we want to acknowledge not only how different this space was this year. The pandemic gave a different resonance to our work. You can find an attempt at making sense of Covid-19 at the beginning of May 2020 from one of our community members on our Medium page. Whilst it didn’t impact our format much apart from our gathering going online, it impacted our members as well as their thought processes. Childcare, mobility restrictions, isolation, uncertainty and new working modalities posed challenges, both for the organising team and our members. Despite these, the growth of our community from 12 members in 2019 to 30 in 2020, confirmed to us the relevance of our work.
In April 2020, we shared our very first article on Medium introducing our community and the new cycle of inquiry we engaged in during the year. In four groups, we investigated and shared around the topics of: healthy power, meaningful life, cultural waves and working with polarities. In each of our inquiry groups, we identified our common challenges which led us to sub-inquiry questions and generated a lot of insight on different levels. If you are curious you can read more about our inquiry approach here or here.
We closed our inquiry cycles with a gathering that had to take place online because of the ongoing pandemic. Our aim was to create a space for togetherness, closure and new beginnings. To create a shared ground of understanding after having been split up into inquiry groups, we created a summary of our process during the year. This pre-read included the insights, practices that were collected, disabling and enabling conditions and “what if questions” from each group. You can find all details in the report we are publishing end of March (see further down).
The programme frame was designed by a small core team and developed with insights and inputs from the community. It was very much co-created, including content and practices that were brought in and facilitated by community members and coordinated the timings using Sessionlab as a tool. In November, we came together on Zoom for two days of six hour sessions. The programme was framed by an opening and closing ritual and included elements like embodied practices, insight sharing, journaling, grief tending, practice sharing and peer support, resonance testing and reflection.
We divided the overall flow into 6 phases:
Phase 1: Opening / The soil
To land fully into this new constellation and energy, and to connect with ourselves and each other.
Phase 2: Recognising the Moment / The landscape
To pause and hold space we used inspiration from Joanna Macy’s The Work That Reconnects, which unfolds as a spiral journey through four stages that move from Gratitude over Honoring our Pain for the World to Seeing with New/Ancient Eyes and Going Forth.
Phase 3: Closing the action-inquiry / Exploring the roots, Readying Seeds
To share the learnings from the inquiry groups, cross-pollinate and look for potential and new questions/themes emerging as well as to turn the insights into shareable outputs and ideas for new initiatives.
Phase 4: Collaborating / Planting Seeds, Growing Roots
To apply learnings, find and offer support, share knowledge, create and collaborate with community members on proposed topics for Open Space sessions.
Phase 5: Growth and Change / The future of our soil
To imagine and plan the Future of BRC and allow members to sense their energy in participating in and preparing the ground of the future of Boundless Roots lied.
Phase 6: Closing / Taking flight
To take a step back and reflect on our shared experience and what it meant for each of us going forward.
To collaborate and visually capture the outcomes of our gathering we worked with the online white board platform Miro, complemented by shared presentations and google docs. In addition to the facilitators, we had community members who volunteered to step into 8-Shields inspired Acorn roles to help us hold the space: community keepers, wellbeing tenders, external reportes as well as note takers and pattern spotters.
What to expect from Boundless Roots in 2021
March 2021 marks the end of our two year mandate and funding by the KR Foundation. This is an important time to review and reflect on our experiences, and think of the potential of Boundless Roots and the ‘if and how’ around continuing our joint project. Boundless Roots has developed a series of impactful reframing for how we talk about, see and understand work that will influence how we respond to the climate emergency.
We want to seed this and ensure that the processes, insights and learnings reach the places and people who can act on them to create and influence change. At the same time, we are holding the challenge of deciding on where to take things after our funding ends. Do we want this project to continue its current form? What pieces do we have the energy and inspiration for to continue? Is it time for it to evolve or shift focus? What would a minimum structure look like?
To provide input for our design team that is working on this transition, we sent out a survey to members asking about their experience of Boundless Roots; the ways in which they benefitted, their participation and their sense of what our next steps should be. We asked about qualities they liked, and our community members mentioned topics like openness, people, learning, diversity and conversation. We also asked what they don’t like; and answers ranged from language barriers, high volume of Slack messages or how challenging the emergent nature of the project can be. Among the benefits people identified were new insights or learnings, hearing different worldviews / perspectives, useful connections to people / organisations and feeling less alone and more supported. Almost all members would like Boundless Roots to continue and want to participate, with half of them being willing to potentially pay for their membership and more than a third to contribute with unpaid working hours.
Currently we are exploring different options in regards to the curation and governance of our community, funding possibilities, collaborations and content we are excited about. We feel there is a lot of potential and we could go many different directions, at the same time we want to be mindful to not overexert ourselves and understand the best contribution we have to bring to the ecosystem of change making.
Coming soon: Our Report
While we are having those conversations, we want to share our process, the tools we tested, insights and other content we produced. We are actively looking for funding to share these wide and far, create conversations and see what is useful for others. If you have ideas about the future of our community or how to best share our learnings, please reach out!
Currently, we are working on our report that will cover the progress and achievements we made during our first years of existence. We are summarising our rich findings in three main themes: cultural waves, power and meaning-making, as well as the three enablers we identified: working with polarities, trauma and capacity building. If you would like to read our report, you can sign-up here and we will email it directly to once it’s published!
We will keep you in the updated about what is next for us… Stay tuned!
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Boundless Roots — Radically Transforming the Way we Live