A new Chapter for Unpsychology Magazine
“Why are things as they are? Must they be as they are? What might they be like if they were otherwise?” To ask these questions is to admit the contingency of reality, or at least to allow that our perception of reality may be incomplete, our interpretation of it arbitrary or mistaken.”
(Ursula LeGuin, It Doesn’t Have to Be the Way It is in No Time to Spare, 2011)
Unpsychology’s imaginings began under a canopy of trees, one Sunday morning in 2013 at the Dark Mountain Project’s final Uncivilisation gathering. I was presenting a workshop based on some ideas and experiences about psychology, therapy and culture — and the theme seemed to hit a chord.
From that initial assembly and subsequent conversations between myself, SF author Cae Hawkesmoor and others, the seeds of Unpsychology were sown. Back then, we called ourselves a ‘journal of post-civilised neurodiversity and wild mind’. Cae and I co-edited the first two issues; then Julia Macintosh — who was part of a ‘soulmaking’ group that had emerged from these unpsychological conversations –joined as co-editor from issue 4.
Over a decade, we have published eight issues of the magazine: anthologies of art and writing that travel deep into the human (and other-than-human) psyche. We have asked questions about the way things are, considering ways of seeing and experiencing, and how these might emerge in the present (what we might call the ‘relational now’), and into the future.
Our project has spawned a rich ecology of creativity and inquiry. We have published two anthologies on the psychological implications of the climate emergency. We have opened our pages to the other-than-human; to the deep swell of earthsongs; to the nature of childhood; to the wild mind and the urgency for equality and justice for all beings. And we have become fascinated and inspired by the Batesonian ideas of Ecology of Mind and transcontextuality.
We have published authors and artists from all around the world. Some are well known writers and artists — Jay Griffiths, Tanya Shadrick, Thomas Hübl, Helen Moore, Susan Richardson, Bill Plotkin — while Nora Bateson’s contributions, and the Warm Data community’s collaboration with us for our last issue were a particular highlight.
However, many of our contributors have never been published before. They submit their work because they are drawn to our values and themes. We particularly value working with these people, hearing their voices, and seeing their work appreciated and celebrated.
Over the decade a core of writers, artists, practitioners, therapists and activists have developed, who have come to this project as part of their way of questioning and responding to the way the world is right now. They ask — with their own unique mix of eloquent words and images — the questions that Ursula LeGuin also posed, that go to the heart of how our culture and civilisation operates.
Following our 2022 Anthology of Warm Data (produced in partnership with Nora Bateson and the Warm data community) we are now working on an equally ambitious project: Imaginings. This issue aims to reimagine the present within and beyond social, ecological and multi-species contexts, with a focus on ‘fictions and fabulations’ (to use the framing of Donna Haraway in her book ‘Staying with the Trouble’).
Growth and change…
Unpsychology is not a ‘business’ and we have no desire to be one. ‘Growth’ for us is not an entrepreneurial endeavour, nor are we pushing towards some big goal, purpose or transformation. We are happy in the grounded, uncertain, messy life of the everyday. We see our growth as organic and ‘tentacular’ — reaching out to others who share this kind of perspective, to see what transpires and emerges!
Having said that, we are not naive, and we know that any enterprise or project needs to be sustainable. Unpsychology is a free digital publication — and will continue to be so — but the everyday world can be expensive! As we adapt and change and grow (and we have some ambitious ideas for our future issues) we do need to be able to reach our subscriber and contributor community.
We want to be able to do more than just put out an annual anthology of amazing creativity! We want our beautifully curated publications to spark conversations on and offline. And we’d like to offer a space where people can reflect on questions of change and complexity, and maybe explore ways of living that are more in line with the best of human and other-than-human life, psyche and existence.
We’d love you to join us
You may have been aware of us for some time, and downloaded our digital issues of Unpsychology Magazine over the years. Or you might be new to Unpsychology and intrigued by this rich, diverse and sometimes strange creative project!
We will be staying here on Medium — and we are also opening a free subscription publication on Substack, where you will be able to get regular updates on our publications, download them free
However you stay in touch with us, we’d like to see this as the start of a new chapter for this community of ideas and practice. We’d love you to help us shape it: by continuing to subscribe to this publication and submitting your work to us if you feel drawn to do so.
Meanwhile Unpsychology Magazine will continue to be available FREE in its digital form and on our online platforms — offered as a gift. However, if you’d like to offer support — financial or otherwise — we’ll be very grateful!
You can make a donation to Unpsychology HERE
All best wishes,
Steve Thorp and Julia Macintosh — editors, Unpsychology Voices