A warm hello this summer solstice, our longest day and shortest night, when the sun is at the height of its life-giving power in our hemisphere.
It’s a time of celebration and abundance, with an energy of expansiveness and possibility. A time to soak up the warmth and light and enjoy nature’s beauty and bounty.
Yet as we reach this solar peak we also acknowledge that from here the light will slowly wane and days shorten as we move into the second half of the year. Nature’s cycles remind us that every phase of growth, development and plenty must be followed by harvesting, shedding and composting to keep our world in balance.
So this solstice represents a turning point – an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the year so far, and look forward at what is still to come.
In this spirit we are sharing some reflections from Gemma, celebrating the addition of the amazing Hadeel to our team, and have some new audio encounters and glimmers of inspiration for you to enjoy.
With love and hope,
Iris, Gemma, Hadeel, Jo and Lily
Gemma has some reflections to share at this turning point in the year, on the mythic times we are living in and tension between urgency and slowness. “I am asking myself, if we are in this phase of epochal transition (as I believe we are), how can we nurture and make space for ‘the quiet before’?" more on our blog.
And we are just back from hosting a powerful enquiry around reimagining care with Hilary Cottam, building on her report ‘A radical new vision for social care’. Together we gathered a group representing a wide range of lived and professional experience of different frontiers of care and repair across the UK. Over two days we examined where we are and what’s not working in our systems and cultures of care, and began exploring how we might imagine and hasten a future in which we care for and repair ourselves, each other, our places and ecosystems in ways that enable all life to flourish. We look forward to sharing more soon, meanwhile Hilary’s recent blog series offers a taster of some of the ideas we were exploring.
We have three new encounters for you to enjoy – with writer, award-winning philanthropic leader and park runner Derek Bardowell, creative innovator, filmmaker and dreamer Hrund Gunnsteinsdóttir, and farmer, entrepreneur and self-professed veg nerd Guy Singh-Watson.
You can explore our growing constellation of audio encounters at newconstellations.co/listen or by searching ‘New Constellations’ wherever you listen to podcasts. We are always on the lookout for inspiring thinkers, makers and doers to record encounters with, so if you have a suggestion get in touch.
It's our great pleasure to introduce you to Hadeel Elshak who joined the New Constellations team last month. Hadeel is a producer, former youth worker and community organiser passionate about work that tackles social injustices by supporting marginalised communities to have their voices heard. At New Constellations she will be supporting research, operations and creative – please join us in giving her a massively warm welcome.
This time of year has us spending as much time as we can out in nature – squeezing in walks and river swims and taking calls from park benches… In that spirit we lovedthis conversation with Janine Benyus celebrating 25 years since her seminal bookBiomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature was published (exploring Nature as Model, Nature as Measure, and Nature as Mentor),this article from adrienne maree brown on our entanglement with the natural world, and these inspiringEarth-healing projects. We also loved theNature Connection Handbook which beautifully explores the science and benefits of nature connectedness, andthis clever and creative initiative which invites people who don’t usually experience the countryside to come together in beautiful landscapes at dusk, across the UK this summer.
We’ll be at New Frontiers in Funding next month and would love to see you there (registration for the online event is free) – hosts Joseph Rowntree Foundation also recently published this excellent blog series on emerging futures and social imagination.
Here’s a hopeful report from More In Common demonstrating far less division than the media would have us believe over gender identity in Britain (building on Dousing the Flames, their report on the culture war, which identified that “most people believe that cultural change is a central part of the British story, and something that they embrace.”)
Civic Square never ceases to inspire us, if you’re not familiar with their work and approach find out more here and check out the zine they recently co-created with their community to creatively unpack the latest IPCC report. We’re also excited to see the School of Social Justice launch this week, for people who want to learn from those who have built movements and influenced cultures.
Here are two treasure-trove Twitter threads on narrative change from Trevor Smith and Ruth Taylor, and the Good Energy Playbook is a must-read for anyone wanting to tell better stories about our changing climate. In a similar vein we can’t wait to visit Our Time on Earth, an exploration of radical ideas for future living at the Barbican til 29 August, including an installation by our friends at Superflux. And we have another great playlist for you.
Finally we will be cherishing the memory of our beautiful friend Jo Cox on what should have been her 48th birthday tomorrow.
Thank you for reading, wishing you celebration and abundance this solstice.
New Constellations exists to help people imagine and create better futures; futures in which humanity and the planet flourish together. If you like what we’re doing, you can help us by: