Life Itself

November 2019 Newsletter

Art Earth Tech are preparing for the winter, and as the world settles into composting the year past, we are calling people together for a unique Gathering on Contemplative Activism in Norfolk, UK. We are still beaming from our inspirational trip to our new hub in Bergerac to uncover the human-story behind the building, and finally we welcome some new and old members to our London Hub!

A conversation on a Big Vision for society

Are you clear on our vision for Art Earth Tech – and what we are up to to get there? As we get into the winter months, we are reviewing our messaging and our expression to make sure it is clear and resonates with people. Often, when you have been working on things for a while, you can make assumptions its as clear for others as it is to you… when it could be more like muddy water.

These four questions will take ten minutes to complete, and then we ask how you would like to contribute to our vision. See our new Get Involved page for options!

 This is a wordle of our results thus far

Our collective blindspots

This year, our focus in the Institute has been to identify and work with our collective blindspots. Here, Liam, lays out what they are and why they are crucial to distinguish so we can see them and not be blind to whats in our way of cultural transformation.

On our blog: An introduction to the blindspots

#1: Faith in rationality and progress: is excessive faith in rationality a big part of our climate predicament?

#2: Individualism: the belief that we are entitled to live our own lives, doing our own thing, without interference from anybody, is quite dear to us.

#3: The equality complex: equality is not a source of suffering, but the equality complex (an obsession with it) is.

 Image credit: Alastair Thompson

Our future hub in Bergerac, France

Mark + Poppy who designed our London hub spent a few days in our new hub in Bergerac exploring the stories, providence and materials of this area of France. Here Poppy describes what they uncovered…

‘In recent weeks we have begun the process of creating a new hub, a new place of dwelling. A place to practice the daily art of dwelling. The art of mindful dwelling. A place not to simply exist in but to exist simply in. A place where we can celebrate and take joy in what is regularly considered mundane by turning daily routines into an artful practice. Read more on our blog.

“One of the basic human requirements is the need to dwell, and one of the central human acts is the act of inhabiting, of connecting ourselves, however temporarily, with a place on the planet which belongs to us and to which we belong.”

Charles Moore for Junichiro Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows

 See our Instagram stories here of our trip

Welcome our new members of the London hub

This autumn, we have said goodbye to our founding members of the Art Earth Tech Hub in London: Esteban, Cecile and Tom. They are still valuable contributors to Art Earth Tech whilst on new adventures. We would like to welcome our new members:

Dino Motti

 I am Dino, I am a public health registrar working at City Hall in the health team of the Mayor of London. I come from Milan, Italy, moved here 8 and a half years ago, lived and worked as a doctor in a wide range of places in England. I joined Art, Earth and Tech because I was really impressed by the philosophy and passion about finding wiser ways of living in our societies. I have a past in student union and electoral politics in Italy and in the UK and I am keen to find new ways for us all to engage with the important challenges that we are faced with, namely participation, democracy, the environment and the climate, public health and welfare. Eager to meet you all and learn from everyone’s experience and perspectives. Grazie e a presto! 🙂

Hannah Close

I’m Hannah. I’m exploring how to live the spiritual life in a fundamentally unspiritual culture through contemplative practice, writing, being in nature and connecting with like-minds. I’m currently running a project called the Experimental Thought Co. which looks at exercising thought in the name of conscious evolution through community building and conversation. I was drawn to AET because of their perspective on what wisdom really is, taking into account thinking, doing & being and acknowledging both the rational and the mystical as tools for understanding the world and what it means to be alive in it. By joining AET, I hope to build deeper connections with the community, learn more about myself and what I can contribute to the world, and, on the ground, to curate and organise conversations and gatherings with the wider community.

Liam Kavanagh

 I am a founding member of Art / Earth / Tech and I direct the research institute focusing on Collective Wisdom and Collective Intelligence. My background is in cognitive science and contemplative practice to social questions. I look at how our embodied, spatial and sensory mind interacts with our thoughts (intellect), both within individuals and social groups. My current work focuses on the collective blindspots of the Western (and Westernised) worlds and how the kind of human intelligence that is cultivated in contemplative practices can better inform activism and the production of knowledge.

Alex Kennedy

I am a film-maker, creative director and entrepreneur designing a new model of collective: Once Collective. I combine my skills in post production and animation, with marketing and branding for audiences to create concept films. It is these visual representations of a north star that I believe are needed to align tribes with shared beliefs and re-instill our collective imagination of what’s possible. I had an immediate connection to everything written by AET and the mission seemed so aligned to the connections and opportunities I’d seen in creating cultural change. This has only appears closer the more I learn. I live in the London hub to be nearby related projects and partners, to connect with others on similar levels and to be in an environment where I can absorb the theoretical wisdom to help steer my compass on this journey.

Our winter Gathering on Contemplative Activism

Every summer, Art Earth Tech have hosted a magical weeks gathering in La Cheraille, our HQ, for our community to gather and hold conversations on a Big Vision for society.

This year, due to popular demand (!), we are hosting a winter one in the UK – in Norfolk at the extraordinary West Lexham site – with our friend Naresh Giangrande, co-founder of Transition Towns. We are thrilled and grateful for Naresh and Liam to act on an intuition I’m sure many of us share, and haven’t convened the group to make it happen.

“When a disappointment happens in the environmental movement, we often hear: ‘It’s alright, eventually consciousness is going to change’… but, can we do something about that?” asks Naresh.

Nuns, monks, unitarians, vicars, buddhists, academics and climate activists will convene for four days with an intention to form a regular group that feed more contemplative practices into activism circles, and likewise for contemplatives to get the urgency of what’s at stake for our peoples, and their responsibility to act. Please do read the introduction to the Gathering here and this primer, which goes in more depth. To find out more and to purchase tickets, please click here.

 Image credit: Wake Up London meditates at XR London – credit Noah Walton

… and we are delighted to announce our Gathering is coming to Asia! Look out for news on our upcoming Taiwan Gathering 2020 in the new year

Climate Week at Plum Village

Liam from Art Earth Tech attended Climate Week at Plum Village, the first invitation of this kind to deepen our conversation with the Sangha and meet more people in this field. Liam left feeling the urgency to build a network that is on the one hand really in touch with the suffering around climate change; and on the other rising to the challenge of transforming this anxiety into conviction and solidity of purpose.

He noticed the discomfort some felt in response to the topic still. One Lakota shaman spoke to Deep Adaptation and some were not ready to hear it. Her healing ritual though was a highlight. For Liam, it illustrated the importance of the task of bringing the mystical and intellectual truths together more fluidly. Hence, the call for the Contemplative Activism Gathering and more next year.

Emerge Gathering

This year, we attended the second Emerge Gathering in Kyiv, Ukraine, a highly aligned network that believe in presencing practice as well. There were workshops on ‘flow’, on the climate crisis and spirituality, but of most interest to us personally, was the one on deliberately developmental spaces: how might we create places to make advances in developmental culture? We have started a conversation with a group there and look forward to bringing this more into Art Earth Tech.

Do you have an idea for a collaboration?

We have organised how our community can contribute to building Art Earth Tech and participating in our community more actively. Here we lay out different ways to engage and support what you are up to in the world, from organising events and salons, to writing, to working with us, to living with us! There are many ways – and if there is something else missing, please get in touch!

Join our research calls

These are monthly informal sessions with a short presentation followed by a time to collaborate together on whatever research or reflection we may have. They occur online once a month over the weekend 3:30pm – 5:50pm. Our recent sessions have been on Wise Education and Wise Medicine, with Dr Charlotte Ward and Dr Tamara Cohen. The former picking up on a project from our summer Gathering. If you would like to sign up for our next call, please email: [email protected] who will add you to the group and answer any queries you may have.

Our first community day

We had our first community development day on 24th November, an opportunity for the elders, nucleos and team to come together to connect, discover, create and plan. We reflected on who / where we were a year ago, which was an opening to some heart felt conversations, framed with:

  • What am I grateful for? What do I want to acknowledge?
  • What am I amazed or astonished by?
  • What did I expect to happen that did not happen?

The participants found it valuable to enquire, what are we really up to? And what will it take to be in a weller wiser world?

Book recommendations from our community

It’s the time of year for gift giving, for curling up with a good book in the dark evenings… and the wise AET community is on hand. We have an extensive list of recommendations from the community. It is inspiring and expansive, as were the comments that accompanied their favourite book.

 When we asked our applicants for London and Berlin hubs what they would like from their experience in an Art Earth Tech Hub, these were their responses.