Love Society – Part 3 – Hilary Cottam

We had the privilege of welcoming the ever wonderful Hilary Cottam to Morecambe Bay for our ‘Love Society’ event. If you have not read her book ‘Radical Help – How We Remake the Relationships Between us and Revolutionise the Welfare State’, then I would massively recommend that you do so. But as a little teaser, grab a cuppa, sit back, and enjoy this masterclass in the practicalities of how we build a loving society that works for us all. It is such common-sense but takes bravery and creative leadership to experiment in new ways.

 

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Love Society – Part 2 – Triads, Weaving a Web and Panel

Bev Skeggs gave us so much to think and talk about with each other. If you haven’t had a chance to watch her amazing talk yet, then please do so! You can find it in Part 1 of this blog series. She left us with a question – “How can we build value with those who are devalued?”

 

 

One of my favourite ways to explore big questions like this (and there are many methods we use through our ‘art of hosting’ training) is Triads. Triads is a simple and effective way of helping people have really meaningful conversations whilst being deeply listened to. It’s a very powerful experience. It involves breaking into groups of three (obviously). One person is the ‘speaker’, one person is the ‘listener’ and the other is the ‘witness’. The listener asks the speaker the question that everyone is exploring. The speaker then has 10-15 minutes (depending on time constraints) to answer the question in whatever way they want to. The listener listens deeply, might ask some more questions, or encourage the speaker to unpack what they’ve said a bit more. They stay curious, trying to draw out the wisdom of the speaker, but not slipping into the role of ‘speaker’ themselves. At the end of the time, the listener reflects back what they have heard. The witness holds the whole process and watches over the time and might offer some reflections of the process or things that have gone unspoken or unheard. Then everyone swaps round into different roles, so that by the end of 40-45 minutes, everyone has had a turn in each role.

 

When everyone was back in the room together and after a good coffee break, we asked the triads to reflect on the following question (moving from singular to combined wisdom – from ‘me’ to ‘we’), having heard from each person in turn: “What have we discovered that  builds value?” 

 

Each triad (or pair of triads) was then asked to come up with one sentence that captured their corporate wisdom. Here are the sentences that were spoken into the room – they are worthy of much reflection. I love how much synergy can come from a diverse group of people!

What have we discovered that builds value?

Non-judgemental education from an early age builds intrinsic value into everyday life, regardless of circumstances.

We have found in the Poverty Truth Commission that through listening, understanding develops, people recover value and become actively involved in pathways forward.

Trusting that we can subvert pre-packaged judgements and values for the value of the common good.

Accepting that we all make judgements, we grow awareness of how to work with judgments in a positive way that is empowering.

Positively engage with and welcome ‘others’ without judgement and recognise the value of individual contributions.

Discovering/Recognising/Empowering/Encouraging/Nurturing the fact we all have unique value and have power in value.

Value (like energy) cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be recognised/transformed/moved around/flow.

Removing prejudices, titles and labels – going back to our humanity and finding joy in sharing life, food and experiences.

In daily interactions, conversations and opportunities by being positive role models in local and regional settings.

Positive disruption focused on an individual level, driven by a moral imperative and brave vulnerability can create a movement of enfranchised, knowledgeable, solid people focused on social justice not social judgement.

Eating or talking around a table builds individual and social value through real connection.

Recognise the common value of humanity and our vulnerability to build empathy and non-judgemental connection.

Knowing that someone understands, accepts and respects our values. 

Recognising and acknowledging value through relationships and being rather than achievements. 

Awareness of self and therefore others.

 

Jon Dorsett and Lou Andrews, part of our team and outstanding graphic harvesters (if you ever need any help!) turned this wisdom into a spider’s web of learning. This is a kind of framework for a renewed society, maybe! However, none of this is straightforward and my friend Roger Mitchell has also done some really helpful reflections of his own, in his excellent blog.

If we want to build a society based on love and kindness, we have to examine the value we place on people and the environment and the values which shape our society currently. That guy Jesus, once said, “What you value (treasure) is where your heart will be also….”

 

To finish the morning we had a reflective panel discussion – it was packed full of wisdom – enjoy!

 

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Love Society – Part 1 – Prof Bev Skeggs

Tweet   Here in Morecambe Bay, a very eclectic group of us are having some conversations about how we might reimagine life together based on love and kindness towards people and the planet. In April, we were together around the theme ‘Love People’ and in May, this became ‘Love Society’.   To help us and [Continue Reading …]

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Love People! – Part 2

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Love People! – Part 1

Tweet I’m currently in the process of hosting 4 conversations across Morecambe Bay on the following themes: ‘Love People’, ‘Love Society’, ‘Love Economics’ and ‘Love Politics’. We have people from all walks of society coming together to give space to imagine what life might be like if we built together on the foundations of love [Continue Reading …]

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Wisdom From My Nanna

Tweet Last week, I was on the closing plenary panel at The Kings Fund, as we reflected on what we had learned together about ‘PopulationHealth’ across the UK. There were some really excellent contributions throughout the day.   Councillor Matthew Brown, leader of Preston City Council, talked powerfully about the new economic models they are using [Continue Reading …]

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Learning to Rest

Tweet At the end of last year, I very nearly burnt out. As a GP with a bunch of other responsibilities, I was finding it really hard to switch off and allowed my work to encroach on other parts of my life. I got really tired and felt stretched beyond my capacity. I knew this [Continue Reading …]

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An Open Letter to NHS Staff – This ‘crisis’ is not your fault – you’re doing a great job!

Tweet If you work in the NHS, in any capacity, this letter is for you, no matter what your role.   Dear NHS Staff Member,   I write this to you as a GP, who cares for many people who work in the NHS and sees the huge stress many of us feel under. I write [Continue Reading …]

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The Morecambe Bay Approach to Population Health – The Double Pentagon

Tweet In this podcast (iTunes or Spotify), I give an overview, as Director of Population Health in Morecambe Bay, about the approach that we have developed as ‘Bay Health and Care Partners’ (BHCP) around population health. The double pentagon model draws on learning from across the UK and the world, leading think tanks, like the [Continue Reading …]

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Poeting an Alternative Future

Tweet As part of the ‘love and kindness’ series on the Black Swan Podcast, I interviewed the brilliant  and award winning Spoken Word Poet, Matt Sowerby. Matt is 18 and lives in Morecambe Bay. I find his words to be beautiful, challenging and moving. Here are the links on iTunes and Spotify if you want [Continue Reading …]

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