On the 26th April following an initiative from Lucy, some of us met to explore the issue of face to face contact among ASP members in Bristol. It was an excellent meeting. One issue that emerged was the emotional labour surrounding work in sustainability, particularly where one is informed enough to be aware of dire consequences of inaction. There was talk of how one copes and maintains a sense of morale and agency while "staring into the abyss". Alison Crowther and I agreed to go off and do some thinking about this- with a view to proposing action. It seemed from our recollections that two possible types of event emerged, both characterised by the needs for "hope", "support" and "belief". One was a workshop style event specifically concerned with hope and resilience. Ali is doing some further work on this. The other was about providing a space where people could come together in a contained way to express their deepest hopes and fears and gain some mutual support. While being facilitated and "held" this latter sort of event would not necessarily have a given agenda but instead would provide a space and an opportunity (a little microcosm of ASP itself in fact!). While providing a sharing and support function it could also lead to collective or individual commitments to action.
I would be very happy to facilitate such events on a regular basis on a non-for-profit basis if this was felt to be of value and interest to enough people. My inclination would be to offer the events as Council using the "Way of Council" that we have used in leadership events and that many of you will already be familiar with (e.g. use of council at Embercombe). I think for this they would work best with groups of not more than 12. I have included a brief handout here.
Does this make sense? Have Ali and I failed to remember what the discussion was REALLY about?! Would offering such spaces be of value and should we try to take this forward. Do please let your thoughts and feelings be known here.