Democratizing Access To The Tools For Transformation

In the face of accelerating social and environmental breakdowns, how can we build our collective capacities for transformation to bring about a just, inclusive, and regenerative society for all?

Key Lessons Learned:

Building Transformational Literacy

The u.school for transformation is a vision to democratize access to whole-person and whole-systems innovation and learning, integrating both head, heart, and hands, as well as the micro and the macro.

A School Without Walls

Five Core Elements

Methods and Tools

1. Access to new methods and tools

  • Over the past years, the Presencing Institute team has built methods and tools for social transformation and has made them freely available under creative commons to everyone.
  • These tools and resources have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
  • Examples of these methods and tools include the Four Levels of Listening, Stakeholder Interviews, 3D Mapping, and Journaling.

2. Practice Fields

  • Changemakers need practice fields that help them adopt new behaviors and to work with new tools in safe, supportive, and generative environments.
Scribing by Kelvy Bird
  • Examples of generative practice fields include Case Clinic Circles, Solidarity Circles, Social Presencing Theater practices, and Visual Scribing practices.
  • In our work, we have found that some of the most important keys for creating powerful practice fields lie in the use of awareness-based social arts, such as Generative Scribing or Social Presencing Theater.
  • These practice fields help a lot, but we have also learned that simply providing both of these things, tools and practice fields, is still not sufficient:

3. Arenas of Activation

4. Ongoing and Customized Support Structures

  • u.lab 2x: A free (application-based) change accelerator in 2021 that helped 340 teams across sectors and systems to move their prototype initiatives from idea to ecosystem impact within a period of four months. (This involved thousands of stakeholders and core team members along the way).
Scribing by Kelvy Bird at the Global Forum 2021
  • Global Forum: In June 2021, PI organized a Global Forum that spotlighted transformation cases and connected changemakers. The “audio garden,” co-created by the community, explored more than 80 change stories from around the world, engaging the community with 8,172 downloads in just a few weeks. The audio garden helped Forum participants unglue themselves from their screens and take a deep dive into their local contexts through stories, soundscapes, and deep reflection practices. (For further information, visit the website).
  • The U.Academy: A digital capacity-building infrastructure with monthly programs that are geared toward changemakers and leaders in institutions working on societal transformation. PI aims to make this arm of its operation profitable by 2022.
Scribing at the United Nations by Kelvy Bird
  • Customized Institutional Infrastructures: One example for institutional support structures for transformation are our three lines of current work with the United Nations and its various agencies:

The Fifth Element

5. Research and Knowledge Creation

  • The launch of a peer-reviewed academic journal: Journal of Awareness-Based Systems Change.
  • The purpose of this journal is to advance systems science in regard to making visible the invisible (field) structures of deep systems change. The founding editorial board of the journal includes a globally diverse group of academics, including leading Indigenous scholars.
  • The publication of seven books, the latest two in 2021:
  • Just Money: Mission-Driven Banks and the Future of Finance, which explores how to use finance as a tool to build a more equitable and sustainable society;
  • Social Presencing Theater: The Art of Making a True Move, which is a journey into the origins, principles, and practices of an innovative social art form co-created by Arawana Hayashi and colleagues at the Presencing Institute.
  • Advancing the methods and tools of Social Presencing Theater not only for intervention purposes but also for research purposes makes better visible the largely invisible structures of social systems and social fields. (Social fields are social systems, but seen from within, from their interior conditions).
  • The publication of our Field of the Future blog to connect the community and showcase initiatives and new ideas.
  • Launching a 10-year research initiative on inventing and advancing methods and tools of awareness-based systems change and making them mainstream.

Our Goal: Launch u.school For Transformation & Activate Millions of Changemakers Globally

Activating 1 million changemakers at the u.school for transformation
  • Further activate a vibrant global ecosystem of changemakers who facilitate local and regional “hubs”; organize around issues such as climate change, regenerative agriculture, women’s rights, racial equality, financial inclusion, as well as reimagining and reshaping education around human flourishing;
  • Provide customized capacity building mechanisms on Pathways of Transformation for grassroots changemakers, for institutional professionals, and for researchers on awareness-based systems change;
  • Offer university students a complement to their core curriculum, linking learning with opportunities for real-world action and change while cultivating the interior condition of the intervenor;
  • Offer universities pathways to reimagine and reshape education for the needs of this century, linking systems thinking with awareness practices as well as hands-on aesthetic, and ethical literacy;
  • Co-initiate journeys of transforming self and systems across sectors and geographies;
  • Develop the body of data, experience, and knowledge necessary to advance the field of awareness-based systems change.

What is it that you feel called to do now?

If you’re interested in exploring u.school tools and practices, you may consider joining the new cycle of u.lab 1x which begins on September 9th.

Register now on our website:

www.presencing.org/ulab

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