References and Research Framework

Some of the thinking that sparks our curiosity, inspires us or shapes our work and worldview.

  • Work on power, violence and trauma including that on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Studies demonstrated an association between ACEs and health and social problems as an adult. Relevant to our work is how knowledge of this connection is helpful to the recovery of those affected by ACEs, the incredible ability of the brain to heal when ‘toxic stress’ is removed and the way in which many of our current services and systems unintentionally re-traumatise people.

  • Afternow project, Dept. of Public Health Glasgow University; a research project into how modernity affects health and the big health challenges faced by society will not be addressed by the kinds of public health responses that have worked to date.

  • Salutogenesis as defined by Antonovsky and cited by Sir Harry Burns when he was Chief Medical Officer for Scotland. It’s analysis of how health is generated by greater ‘sense of coherence’ is particularly relevant to our work.

  • Bruce K Alexander; Canadian psychologist who’s ‘rat park’ experiments challenged the understanding of addiction that underpins global drugs policy and points to addiction being a social issue arising from societal fragmentation.

  • Paulo Freire; Brazilian educator whose work on popular education, conscientisation & giving people the tools to analyse their own reality inspires us.

  • Frederic Laloux’s work on a radically more productive organizational model that creates the kind of workplaces that allow more of our humanity to play a role.

  • Manfred Max-Neef; Chilean economist for his work on fundamental human needs and how our strategies to meet those needs can be synergistic, pseudo or destructive.

  • Organisation Unbound and their work on expressive change - exploring the ways in which the most effective social change organisations are those that model the change they want to see in the world through their internal culture.

  • David Pye’s manifesto: The Nature and Art of Workmanship for a clear discussion on what craft can be.

  • The theory of social threefolding that describes three distinct spheres of societal institution; economic, cultural and political. The principles of solidarity, freedom and equality belong to each of these respectively. Disorder happens when we apply these indiscriminately, such as the worst effects of a ‘free market’.

  • Otto Scharmer: Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-system to Eco-system Economics. Theory U highlights the enormous global challenges we face and suggests that these times call not for more planning or new policy frameworks but a new consciousness and a new economic paradigm that considers the wellbeing of all. This involves ‘sensing’ together what wants to emerge; co-creating new ways of working and learning together and designing systems that work for all and not just the few.

  • Richard Sennett: The Craftsman for a philosophical exploration of who we are as crafts people and how that matters to our sense of humanity. Sennett defines craft as “anything done well for it’s own sake” - so includes computer programming and child rearing!

  • Guy Standing and his work on work after globalisation, the ‘precariat’ and case for citizens’ basic income and its potential emancipatory impact.

  • Margaret Wheatley and her work on worldviews pertinent to our times, systems thinking and the kind of leadership called for in a emergent and uncertain world.