After this year of change and challenge but also growth and opportunity, all of us here at Crossfields Institute send warm seasons greetings to you all. We hope that the year has treated you kindly and that you and your loved ones are able to enjoy a restful and restorative break. In these times the world needs our collective, pioneering work more than ever. We look forward to continuing to support and journey alongside you in the New Year. With warmth and trust. Lou
This article in the Guardian suggests a dramatic dip in ebook sales. This is perhaps an example of how people are beginning to value the tactile and embodied feel of real world ‘analogue’ objects over the disembodied feel of digital technology.
ZINC has posted this video. In the interest of adding as many perspectives as possible, watch this video:
It does not ring entirely true, but may be that is not the point. Perhaps the message is more about reminding us to think about what works as well as what doesn’t. And also…it may just be that a little gratitude will help us get more things right, too?
A touring exhibition has been in Nailsworth and Stroud (hometown of Crossfields Institute) this last week showing artwork created by young people in Gaza in response to the conflict of 2014, which brought destruction, death and displacement to their homes and families:
A poignant and powerful reminder of the ways in which art can enable communication and healing, whatever your age or skill. The exhibition is now moving to Carlisle Cathedral, so do catch it if you are in that part of the UK in the next week or so.
An image of true social innovation: the longest picnic table in the world, created by Jason Gathorne-Hardy, artist, farmer and the founder of the Alde Valley Spring Festival https://www.aldevalleyspringfestival.co.uk/index.htm. The table is more than 290m and can seat 700 people. Bringing together the local community and those from further afield, Jason has created a hub of innovation, connection and celebration.
The Center for Courage and Renewal in the United States www.couragerenewal.org. seeks to create a more just, compassionate and healthy world by nurturing personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it. There is a lot in common between the work of the Center and that of Crossfields Institute. In Healing the Heart of Democracy (Jossey-Bass 2011), Parker J Palmer from the Center writes:
“We’re always being asked how effective is your work, are you getting results and outcomes? I don’t object to that, but I’m really convinced that there’s a terrible problem when effectiveness is our only standard and we become utterly obsessed with outcomes and results. When that happens, what else happens is that we keep taking on smaller and smaller tasks because those are the only ones we can get results with.
If we want to take on big tasks like love and mercy and justice – the tasks that we’re neglecting in our democracy right now – we need another standard by which to measure our actions. And I think that standard is faithfulness.
I don’t mean anything high and mighty by that. I mean, am I faithful to the gifts that I possess, to the strengths and abilities that I bring to the world? Am I faithful to the needs I see around me? Am I faithful to those points at which I intersect the needs of the world and have a chance to serve? Do I enter that opportunity, as complex and challenging as it may be, or do I shy away, run away, for fear that I won’t be able to serve well or that I’ll be stretched beyond my ability to serve?”
His words are an interesting challenge to the processes of quality assurance and compliance in education, and a good prompt for anyone embarking on developing a qualification or starting a new piece of work.
Kensington Palace has released the news that Prince George will begin to attend the Westacre Montessori Nursery School in Norfolk before the end of January. Both Prince William and Prince Harry attended Montessori Nursery schools as toddlers.
The Westacre Montessori Nursery School was rated “good” by Ofsted earlier this year.