Earlier this summer I wrote and approved a headline reporting, “Chapter Closes on Peterborough Dialogues.” Then I got busy and didn’t write again. In the meantime I got to hear that some people figured that headline to be announcing the death of the Peterborough Dialogues. Just goes to show a few things that does. Like: Don’t be such a drama-queen.
All that was really about was moving out of our space in the Old Colonial Weaving Building. Our lease was up. So it was time to move. We had a beautiful ceremony to say farewell to the space and express appreciation for all that had been birthed there. (Check the video here.)
We are over-the-moon in love with a gorgeous new studio at The Mount Community Centre and have some wicked stuff booked for the fall.
So, one chapter closes. Turn the page, start the next chapter and keep reading. There is actually so much moving in and through the Peterborough Dialogues as to be almost mind-boggling. In this note I want to speak not of all those things but one thing.
This spring the Resonance Centre for Social Evolution was founded. Why and what does that have to do with the Peterborough Dialogues?
Who among us feels we can stay static in the dominant narrative and destructive patterns? Who invests in something so new and nebulous, or as mysterious and foreign to our current ways of being? Sometimes you have to go first.
Well, Axiom News founded the Peterborough Dialogues. It took $250,000 dollars in investment by Axiom News, in addition to participant fees, the occasional partnership, and a contract here and there. It was done because of desire to discover new ways of enlivening and unleashing community capacity and citizen-led ways of making things happen. It was an investment made in discovery, incubation, refinement, the development of principles and practices.
Who among us feels we can stay static in the dominant narrative and destructive patterns? Who invests in something so new and nebulous, or as mysterious and foreign to our current ways of being? Sometimes you have to go first. So that’s what we did. We believed in something that didn’t even have language to describe it. We had things we wanted to try with no results guaranteed, no outcomes pre-determined. No pattern or practice. No street cred or formal credentials. No benefactor, no customer, no grants. We had some courage, grit, and an urge to create a thing borne of our intentions. We put our money where our mouth is. We put it all on the line.
It was a Big Bang. Over 300 Summits, Core Conversations, Working, Reflection, Trust and Healing Circles were held as we hammered away and forged new tools for community building. We failed. We stood back up. We failed and faltered. We kept getting back up. So much energy was set loose. So much learning, exponential learning, burst forward.
As a founder of a thing you aim to found something right? To lay a foundation. That’s what Axiom News did alongside community members who showed up, took risks, experimented, co-created, embellished, and supported the whole shebang.
Axiom News is a narrative arts and media company. As such it holds understanding and capacity to uncovering the emerging and generative stories of our communities. It is a knowledge keeper of the elements of a New Narrative that is alive and well but a story untold. It holds knowledge of an alternative economy and social evolution that represent ways forward to a renewed and better world, a world beyond the industrial-domination economy story that keeps us trapped in destructive patterns.
Here’s the thing, storytelling was not enough to bring about the abundance that lies latent just beneath the surface in our communities and organizations. It is necessary, but not enough. In addition to narrative, we also need ways to be together differently, to co-create, begin, nourish, sustain, and grow new things together. The Peterborough Dialogues was a quest for those ways. It was the discovery field. It was the arena for making a new way, in place with persistence. Axiom News, which had predictable patterns and results, resources and capacity, stepped up to invest in the future, to innovate. We believed in and sought a dialogic practice to round out our narrative practice.
Those two practices — now known, stable, documented, and repeatable — together form a powerful pathway to social evolution. Like so many others I wanted to make a difference but didn’t know how. The pathways to the communities so many of us want to live in were not making themselves evident. Many people who participated in the dialogues felt stuck, isolated, and alone. We knew what was possible, we knew where we wanted to go, we had an intention, but we didn’t know how to get there.
The Way of Generativity, Resonant Community is a way forward and now we have a good grasp on some how-tos. Of course, of course, the job is not finished. There is much to grow into yet. After a sense of completion we must lay plans to grow again. In this moment, we have learned, discovered some principles, found some essence, and built stable practices on which to stand. We have a foundation. The time of rapid prototyping, of explosive discovery and uncertainty is done for now. We have a grasp on the patterns of community. We have found a new way.
The Resonance Centre for Social Evolution brings these two initiatives together. It is a space to integrate Axiom News and the Peterborough Dialogues. It is a space to weave narrative arts with hosting arts in practice. It is a space for unfolding the relationships between an international community and local, in-place community works akin to our very own Peterborough Dialogues. It is a space for enlivening a network of communities around the world who are shaping their own Resonant Communities through patterns and practices like the ones we write about in The Way of Generativity. (See ResonanceCentre.com and join the mailing list to receive your free copy.)
The Resonance Centre has accepted the task of stewarding and partnering for the hosting and funding of Axiom News and the Peterborough Dialogues and weaving their destinies together.
We invite you to the next chapter: A New Beginning.
Have a look at ResonanceCentre.com to learn more about the Way of Generativity. Then, consider joining us at our first international gathering to be held in Peterborough, Ontario, at the Mount Community Centre on October 22-24. We are inviting people like you, from here and far away, to come together to …. well, check out the invite. Are you ready to experience Resonance?