It’s been a little while – we hope this finds you well and enjoying the emerging spring.
We recently passed the vernal equinox (from the Latin aequus: equal, and nox: night), when day and night are in equilibrium. From here, in our hemisphere, light defeats dark as we turn ever more towards the life-giving sun. The days are lengthening, the air warming… it’s a time to throw off the constraints of winter, make plans and help new possibilities germinate. This time is also known as Ostara, named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility (and an etymological route of Easter, which many will celebrate this weekend).
Like seeds lying quiet but busy in the wintry earth, we have been taking some time for germination and planning over the last few months (and Iris has been in hibernation with her baby daughter, born at the turn of the year). Much is beginning, like the spring flowers, to emerge now – and we’re pleased to share some of it, some new audio encounters and some glimmers of hope with you below.
As ever we love to hear from you if you have questions or ideas for us, and we will be in touch again some time in the summer (as mentioned in December, these newsletters will be a little less frequent this year while Iris is on maternity leave). Happy Easter/Ostara, Ramadan Mubarak, and may Spring bring new possibilities.
With love and hope,
Gemma, Iris, Jo, Lily
In these complex times, we believe many of the new ideas and approaches we need will come from our communities. We are excited to announce that with support from The National Lottery Community Fund and Joseph Rowntree Foundation we will be running a journey in York later this year; an opportunity for a group of people from different walks of life in the city to explore how they can contribute to its future through their own work or social action. We will be opening an application process very soon to find people to take part in this journey. If you are based in York, or know brilliant people or organisations who are, please reply to this email so we can make sure you receive information when the process goes live (and/or keep an eye on our Twitter feed). We’d be so grateful for help spreading the word.
We have some new audio encounters for you to enjoy: with life-long activist, former monk and nature lover Satish Kumar
, Bradford Council Chief Executive and local government champion Kersten England
, and with Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce and eternal optimist Shevaun Haviland
You can explore all our encounters on our website
(on a new, simpler page) or by searching ‘New Constellations’ wherever you listen to podcasts. We always appreciate your feedback and reviews, and would love to hear your ideas for people we should record with this year.
As New Constellations evolves we are growing our constellation of collaborators, and are delighted to be working with a growing group of amazing people across some exciting projects. We look forward to telling you more about the work we’re developing as it happens, including looking at how we can build community with the growing group of people who have been through the New Constellations journey, scoping a possible journey around new patterns of wealth and investment, a new project looking at how ecological systems of distribution can inspire new forms of resource flows, and of course the York journey mentioned above. It’s a privilege to be working with Emma Shaw, Jo Sparber, Kim Willis, Megan Lucero, Rithika Rajamohan, Yasmin El Dabi on this and more over the coming months. We also want to send huge appreciation to the brilliant Hadeel Elshak, who has a new full time role at Citizens UK but remains part of the New Constellations family and will continue to collaborate with us on ad hoc projects. And shout out to the wonderful UTILE who continue to support us with beautiful visual design and creative.
As spring arrives we’ve relished the chance to spend longer stretches outside, and the feelings of nourishment and hope this brings. If you too are looking (or perhaps inspired by Satish’s encounter
) to deepen your connection with non-human nature we love these Wild Cards
, and are excited to read Prof. Miles Richardson
’s new book Reconnection
, out this month (see also his excellent blog
and Nature Connection Handbook
exploring the science and powerful personal and social benefits of nature connectedness).
As tech leaders urge caution
on AI development we were struck and (somewhat!) heartened by the 'new emotion’ created by GPT-4
, and know the tech is having some positive impacts
. But we will no doubt be having many more conversations about AI’s unforeseeable consequences and the questions it begs around the nature of authentic human experience.
Finally, no words can describe the powerlessness and devastation felt after the shocking earthquakes in Syria and Turkey, but we are ever-inspired by the White Helmets
, whose volunteers saved almost 3000 people from the destruction. They are now working tirelessly on recovery and rehabilitation; if you'd like to support their critical work please do
Thank you for reading, may the spring help you turn towards life…
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:
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