Here we lay out some of the principles that underpin our work.
At our core, T4P is all about nurturing rich, positive relationships amongst diverse people. Any society (from a household to a nation) is composed fundamentally of people in relationship with one another. Therefore, a healthy society is one in which people are in healthy and positive relationship together. The unprecedented diversity of contemporary western societies makes this work more challenging – and also presents us with unique potential for nurturing new, socially-rich societies. (Thanks here to the NEF and the Centre for Good Relations, amongst many others.)
Further to that, from international activist John-Paul Lederach we learnt… That change in communities comes from ‘critical yeast’, not critical mass: people in communities who’ve been enabled to imagine a different future and equipped to become change-makers. That creating and maintaining peaceable communities is all about ‘web weaving’: making strategic person-to-person connections. And that we always need to be ready to embrace serendipity: being flexible enough to respond to the unexpected.
And from Ben Hoffman, we became inspired by the idea of ‘peace guerrillas’: small, responsive bodies of people working all across society, from grassroots to government, to develop sustainable processes for change, rooted in relationships. Click here to read more about Hoffman’s methodology and work.
And we’re especially inspired and informed by the growing body of writers who are exploring and promoting the concept and practice of ‘inter-culturalism‘. It’s a controversial term, and we recognise and appreciate the value that multi-culturalism brought to modern society: enabling diverse communities to self-develop with some degree of separation. However, we believe that we all have a responsibility to seek new ways forward – and ‘inter-culturalism’ invites us to imagine a stronger, more resilient society founded upon inter-connection, collaboration and inter-dependence amongst diverse people.
We’ve been very influenced by innovative, ‘open source‘ facilitation methods such as Open Space and World Café (summarised here) – which basically seek to maximise participation and distribute ownership in dialogue and decision-making processes. This might all sound very jargon-tastic and heavy, but it works – and it’s fun! Get in touch if you want to find out more.
Finally here, we aim to put creativity and play into the heart of all our work: sport, music, arts, food, and more. As one of the original instigators of T4P once said, ‘you achieve far from singing and dancing with people than days upon days of talking’. (And he spend decades in politics, so he should know.) Indeed, we’ve seen over and over again the way in which creative action (especially when it’s participatory) enables people to connect deeply (in the gut, in the heart), to get around fixed positions and ideologies, and to become changed in new ways.