Friday, 11 February 2011

Education, collaboration, neurobiology,mental health, dreams

Being sick has its advantages. One being forced to stay at home and rest, which for me involves sleeping but also finding many new and interesting things via the internet.

I watched Wall Street last night. It seemed to lack pace and a clear focus but it was very clear to me that the current economic situation is like a Banyan tree with roots growing up all over the place. This problem is systemic and not just about money but about community, values, family and so its not a logical next thought but I was happy to come across the work of David Gauntlett who has written a book - Making is connecting. So much great stuff happening there and at the Social Spaces web site. I am looking forward to reading "Hand Made" edited by Tessy Britton.

Ok, so backtrack and I previously asked about friendship but a larger question is what is community? How do we connect? Somewhere in India children are being read stories to by English Grannies - this is one example of the way technology can bring non physical communities together, but can technology negatively do this? And if so how can we make sure that it is positive.

 I think here of Hikikomi who hide away or a recent student of mine who seemed to only enjoy video games and was eventually asked to leave school because she nearly jumped out of a 4th floor window. This is extremely sad - children need access to stimulation and community not to mention a clearer understanding and compassion of mental health needs in Japan, one that comes without stigma. A nicely branded project in the UK Mind Apples with the tag line "love your mind". Asking people to list 5 things which help them feel better mentally it is a self empowering approach to mental health. I like that - asking what helps you?
From their blog:-
 Meanwhile, I’d like to share a lovely e-mail I received recently from Dr Keith Gaynor, a clinical psychologist at the excellent Institute of Psychiatry who specialises in theraputic treatments for schizophrenia. They’ve gathered a list of activities that they enjoy, and which also have clinical evidence to support their efficacy in improving mental wellbeing.
“I sent your email round the office (Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry). We got a load of responses and I’ve collated the top five.
1. Do one totally absorbing activity (approx 30 mins)
2. Do something silly/funny
3. Do something nice for someone else
4. Smile
5. Remember it’s just a thought, it’s not real
Hope it’s useful”


some great projects.

In TOKYO Patrick Newell - school founder, and NGO founder of living dreams - aiming to give to orphaned children in Japan. He has also completed an interesting documentary 21:21 about 21st century education. Here is a little taster:

Jill Bolte Taylor Interview from 21Foundation on Vimeo.

Hans Rosling Interview from 21Foundation on Vimeo.

I know its not connected but I thought it one of those sychronicities that Matthew 21:21 is "Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done."

 In America and close in name is Learning Dreams  - a community project which helps to practically explore what their dreams are and take steps towards realizing them before working with the children on their own dreams. To believe, to dream, to aspire.

In the autumn I took part in the Tokyo Dreamers section of the Trust Art Dreamers project. 
My intuition told me 2011 was going to be the year if unexpected surprises. I am looking forward to seeing how all these free floating pieces fit together.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

There are 6 parts - to follow if you scroll down you can see from part one, (Japanese/German)...

Michael Ende

Ende`s Last Will

Thursday, 3 February 2011

focus, micro finance and things

2011 and a new post. 2010 the end part at least was rather intense and full of shifts and re-focusing. Taking on board comments on Donald Miller`s wonderful blog I am currently trying to take the small steps towards my distant big goals.My white board has a dedicated daily goals and monthly goals section, although its failure was pointed out to me by a friend who had noted that my daily goal didn`t seem to have change! I can happily cross off at least one thing today, small steps but a little progress.

Having read Yunis Mohammed`s inspiring book - Social Business bearing in mind recent micro finance scandals I was please to read this New York Times about consignment projects where the business end of things is inspired by an actual local need and will ultimately improve the lives of those who the seek to gain as customers. This seems to indicate that it is possible for social finance (style) businesses to suceed in practice.

I also discovered after re-reading Michael Ende`s book Momo, that he made a documentary with NHK and was a supporter of local currency and a fierce critic of the current economic system. I am still researching this and hope to update more...