First sketches

RBW Rachel B. Wickert Public Seen by 10

Sam Burcher's beautiful new book, Garland - Flowers of Spirit http://www.samburcher.com/publications/my-book.html , has sparked discussions around emergence, the multiple dimensions of knowing and how we could use our respective strengths to develop new tools.

Here are some of the info and ideas that are emerging …


Rachel B. Wickert Mon 10 Mar 2014 10:36AM

Sam and I first met almost 10 years ago at a crossing road. I was writing evidence-based reports to back-up claims from leaders of the environmental movement such as Dr Vandana Shiva. She was a talented communicator who seems to have a natural gift for creating connection between people from very different backgrounds. I moved circles. We stopped crossing each others paths until a few weeks ago. I read her book and I knew we had to meet again. Her poems, lyrics and prose are coming from deeply felt experience. Her anthology opens a kaleidoscope of emotions making my head swirl while my soul heals. That is when I realised what a gift she is!


Rachel B. Wickert Mon 10 Mar 2014 10:36AM


Rachel B. Wickert Mon 10 Mar 2014 10:41AM

I am keen to see how we could develop further the idea that emerged on Friday of a workshop involving all the senses to bridge science, art and the spiritual dimensions. This is the Experimental workshop my fellow researchers and I co-created in 2008 to address similar questions: http://rdwbizz.blogspot.co.uk/2008/07/experimental-workshop-around-emergence.html

Here are links to examples related to how arts could be used to create the bridge we talked about:
✰ Rainbow of Desires includes many of the senses as well as the support of a group to help an individual to rehearse for change : http://rdwbizz.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-rainbow-of-desire-boal-method-of.html
✰ Power of music to heal the brain: http://rdwbizz.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/awakenings.html
✰ Bodystorming: science + dance : http://rdwbizz.blogspot.be/2013/06/bodystorming-science-dance.html
✩ Poetry and heart surgery: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/318066792404732579/
- cyborg spirituality reference from Andy Pickering: http://rdwbizz.blogspot.be/2013/08/cyborg-spirituality.html
- this book about Buddha & Darwin: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/318066792404761118/
- how mindfulness practice can lead to epigenetic switch: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/318066792404871469/

I've collected other articles and case studies, but these few are a good start I think.

I've pinned also a few stuff about people working on metrics to show how arts act as a superconductor for kindness:http://www.pinterest.com/pin/318066792404931008/.

I think it is probably enough for now!


Rachel B. Wickert Mon 10 Mar 2014 10:58AM

On sounds, colours and extending human senses:

Extrasensory: radio version of TED talks about going beyond our senses with Neil Harbisson and Julian Treasure: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/npr-ted-radio-hour-podcast/id523121474?mt=2


Sam Burcher Mon 10 Mar 2014 11:21AM

Hi Rachel,

Thank you for your lovely comments. I believe that humanity has reached a very important crossroads. Despite the obvious problems and inequalities in the world, there is an emerging reality that awaits us all. It just so happens that I have chosen to channel my strong feelings around this by attempting to extend my senses on all levels (to include a higher power) and to translate that experience into a lyrical form.

Garland become a "special" book to some of the people that I hold in high regard, which means to me that I am moving forward on my "right" journey. I want to engage with other people who are interested in unlocking their poetic/artistic/musical potentials and to tap in to the new consciousness. All you have to do is be ready!


Aldo De Martelaere Mon 10 Mar 2014 10:35PM

Thanks for inviting me Rachel. I'll have to order the book (it's not on kindle) but I can already browse the links in your post. But it's a great idea to stimulate our thinking about the relation(s) between art and society in that way. I hope it becomes an ongoing discussion. My own reflections (on Smallwhales) most often concern 'how' poets create poems, what's their 'inner fabric' (aka their form) as that is what occupies me most when writing poems myself. But there are other entrances to art (one of them being the relations to the world in which it is created or 'consumed'). So yes, I'm in.

Good to meet you too Sam. I'm sure we will have interesting discussions together. Rachel told me that you can send me the book via email in exchange for a donation on your website. Just let me know. My email is demartelaerealdo@gmail.com.

Hear you both (and others) soon!



Rachel B. Wickert Tue 11 Mar 2014 12:14PM

@samburcher and @aldodemartelaere You are both welcome! I am glad to be able to introduce two friends, poets, and beautiful souls to each others. Sam you might like to check Aldo's blog: http://smallwhales.wordpress.com

Sam: I only mentioned that it might be a possibility to get a pdf of your book the way you kindly offered it to me, before actually giving me the book which sits now proudly on my bedside table!



Rachel B. Wickert Tue 11 Mar 2014 12:37PM

@samburcher and @aldodemartelaere: I would like to introduce you to @elizabethwillmotth via her poem http://www.libertyandhumanity.com/themes/human-trafficking/the-light-behind-my-eyes-has-died/ and painting (attached).

Elizabeth and I only met yesterday via The Forest Floor, a platform facilitated by @gwynjones , but you'll discover soon reading her poems and browsing her website to see some of her work why we found that there might be possible synergies...


Sam Burcher Tue 11 Mar 2014 2:54PM

Hi Aldo and Elizabeth,

How lovely to meet fellow poets through this happy medium! Here is my website address http://www.samburcher.com/home.html
where I report on campaigns for socially accountable governance and science for the public good.

I have also just started to promote poetry there and hope to expand upon that. Aldo, please make a small donation of between £5 and £10, and I can email you the PDF of Garland for you to have a look at.



Elizabeth Willmott-Harrop Tue 11 Mar 2014 3:54PM

Hi Rachel, Sam and Aldo, thanks for including me here and I look forward to looking at your writing.

Sam I just noticed looking at your website the testimonial from Jay Ramsay - I am a friend of his here in Stroud. Small world!

Rachel, prompted by our chat yesterday, I have literally just added a gallery of my art to my website:

The most crucial thing for me in all this, is that intellect as a lone tool is so diminished by the absence of art or heart as its fellow.

I have only just learned that personally at the age of 46, and can see that if taken beyond the personal realm, and out into the world it is the most powerful unity and force for change.

I will give more thought to your ideas and will look at the links above.

Very best, Elizabeth


Elizabeth Willmott-Harrop Tue 11 Mar 2014 4:06PM

This study may be of interest too:

Poetry is like music to the mind, scientists prove.

New brain imaging technology is helping researchers to bridge the gap between art and science by mapping the different ways in which the brain responds to poetry and prose.



Rachel B. Wickert Tue 11 Mar 2014 6:18PM

@elizabethwillmotth: I agree.

That's what inspired our name: Minds et Motion stands for: Minds and Emotion in Motion.

I am convinced that it is impossible to craft processes that enable people to find collaborative solutions to "wicked" problems without injecting a strong dose of Hope. To me art can be a superconductor for Hope as long as it is used for a legitimate purpose. The creative process has been misused by advertising for instance because its been disconnected from ethics. To me the purpose to be legitimate in that sense has to be defined through a democratic (inclusive) process.

Hence art in all its forms is a crucial element to this mix as it can create the spark that reconnects our shared humanity. From the inspired minds emerge the possibilities of creating together the necessary structures that will have the power to sustain the effort to hit the goal.

At least that what I think!

NB: On a purely practical note. if you use the @ and name of the person you are directing your comment to, s/he will receive it as an email. Like this @samburcher @aldodemartelaere


Aldo De Martelaere Thu 13 Mar 2014 12:21AM

It's way too late now and beyond bedtime, in fact, to think this through decently, but here is a very small poem I want to write something about on my blog. The theme might be of relevance here:

To Be Said Over and Over Again

I glance down at my shoe and - there's the lace!
This can't be gaol then, can it, i that case.

Gyorgy Pëtri

About the relation between a fascination for ordinary objects (a shoe, but it might be a less ordinary piece of art too) and upholding/regaining your self-worth.

Just a thought @rachelbwickert @samburcher @elizabethwillmotth


Rachel B. Wickert Thu 13 Mar 2014 5:16PM

@aldodemartelaere It reminds me of one simple thing that Barry S. Barnes (my tutor in Exeter) told me and blew my mind. I was struggling with my thesis. The more I looked, the more amazing connections I found. I was driven to get deeper and wider. I was afraid to miss crucial points. My curiosity was consuming and disorientating. He basically told me not to worry because if I look close enough, I would find that every single thing contains answers to everything else like a kaleidoscope. (cf Blake) What I needed to do was to be able to stand still for a moment (while still moving cf Fireflies from Tagore). From the focus I would get clarity on the path I needed to take. For some reason, it helped me a great deal. It still does!


Aldo De Martelaere Thu 13 Mar 2014 7:00PM

I (think) I see @rachelbwickert. Some people like to work with little. Others want to widen up things first before making up their mind. Two viewpoints, two mindsets. Maybe both types need to shake hands ('synergise'- oops, that word seems not to exist) in order to make progress in important matters (such as the discussion about planet earth and the marketing guy).


Rachel B. Wickert Fri 14 Mar 2014 8:24AM

@aldodemartelaere Yes, indeed, you do see it! If you click on the still and silent words in Tagore's Poem you will also experience it … http://rdwbizz.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/adrift-centered.html


Gwyn Jones Tue 18 Mar 2014 5:29PM

Many thanks for inviting me to join the discussion @rachelbwickert ... and yet again we meet @elizabethwillmotth .

I may have an opportunity to offer people the chance "tell" earth's story on a huge "stage", both real and virtual. So I asked Rachel if she could connect me to people who might want to help to develop a strategy for how that story (or "stories" ) could be created, presented, using any and all art forms so that they really have a deep impact and inspire people to start to create their own earth story that leads to a future where the earth we give back to our children is worthy of them.

And here I am. It's still early days and the dream could still be snuffed out (in its current form) but in the next few weeks we hope to be able to launch the project from which this idea will arise. If that happens I would be pleased to share our vision and concept with you.


Elizabeth Willmott-Harrop Mon 24 Mar 2014 1:20PM

Just reading through these comments there are some exciting thoughts arising.

@gwynjones your project sounds wonderful - ambitious, dynamic, and it would seem to sit very well with the point made by @aldodemartelaere which I relate to, of the two different approaches:

"Some people like to work with little. Others want to widen up things first before making up their mind." I can imagine Gwyn's project really benefiting from this dual approach. Please tell us more Gwyn.

And @rachelbwickert I feel really inspired by your comment: "To me art can be a superconductor for Hope ... art in all its forms is a crucial element to this mix as it can create the spark that reconnects our shared humanity."

Put these three things together and I feel something really exciting!


Gwyn Jones Mon 24 Mar 2014 1:40PM

@elizabethwillmotth Indeed I think you have caught the essence. We are looking at funding at present and if that happens we'll start to flesh out the concept in the next 3-6 months. I feel that it's not our place to define what the stories communicated via earth story are, or will be. Or even what the process is for creating/presenting the stories. Hence the "shoutout" to see who feels drawn to creating the process...

A hint of what it could be is attached.


Elizabeth Willmott-Harrop Mon 24 Mar 2014 2:30PM

Thanks so much Gwyn. Please keep us informed here about the project and I totally take your point about you not putting definitions on it.

I watched the video linked to in your word doc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sKK4dAu_sFo about seeing earth from above - The Overview Effect - and as one person in the video commented that the effect of it is "transcending that sense of separation" - very similar to the feelings evoked by the video posted by @rachelbwickert in the other discussion http://vimeo.com/69445362


Rachel B. Wickert Mon 24 Mar 2014 3:48PM

@elizabethwillmotth : It's great to see how you meshed the 3 threads that spoke to you most! Interesting the similarity you found between the video @gwynjones shared about the astronauts' take on the 'overview effect' and the video about the San-Francisco fog. I think that the intensity of the experience (body&mind) required to achieve that same feeling may vary hugely between people. Just like @aldodemartelaere said. Hence it's useful to multiply the sensory experiences. To me roughly speaking there are 7 of these senses:
- 5 (Aristotle): Hearing, Sight, Smell, Touch, Taste
- 1 (neurology): Kinesthetic = awareness of movement (balance & acceleration, Temperature, pain, time etc)
- 1 (buddhism): Mind (non physical sensations and perceptions)

As well as creating environments for sparks to emerge, I believe it is important to suggest various gateways for people to connect with other likeminded people. So once inspired to act, they can go on creating their own path …

@gwynjones: Are you planning to be a UK charity and to fundraise in the US? If so, we've just reached the necessary quorum of board members to set-up Spring Fund USA. It should be up and running this summer. Your charity might benefit from its mechanism. Here is the website in progress FYI:http://www.spring-fund-uk.org/usa/


Aldo De Martelaere Tue 25 Mar 2014 4:10PM

@rachelbwickert, I realise I'm lagging behind a bit. I read some of your texts you refer to above (awakenings and science and bodystorming), and here follows my attempt to understand them. I realise this is at most a very small part of what you are thinking, but let me know whether I'm driving on the right track. This is important to me, to know whether I can actually contribute something to the discussion.

The meaning of legal concepts is embedded in practices. By their very nature, practices are open-ended. To really get a grip on their meaning, one should participate in those practices.

However, that is not always possible, and might not even be desirable. Art comes to the rescue here. As participating in its creation - somehow - offers an 'alternative' to participating in those practices, hence to understanding the world that lies embedded in them. Empathy comes in here, too. As the creative process enables us to understand and respect worlds that would otherwise remain closed to us.

But participating in creation does not only enable understanding. It also fosters a sense of belonging, and stimulates our capacity to act in the creation of a better world, in some sense. Hence the therapeutic value of creative engagement.

One of the links I see between art and societal practices is that they both have an inherent richness that makes our involvement with them endless. One can never be a specialist in them. For example, one can return to the same poem, painting, or piece of music, over and over, and will always discover new things.

But what is of interest here, is not so much 'Art' with a capital, but the participation of potentially everybody in creative activities. And what makes an activity creative, is that the whole person - which means thinking as well as the senses - are intensely involved.

@sam, I made a donation on sunday for your book 'Garland', and am very curious now. I wanted to say something about your website too. Did you know that part of it is unreadable on an Ipad (at least on mine, but I suspect it's a general problem): after a few seconds, the screen turns black. Damn!

Anyhow, a good afternoon to all of you (also to @gwynjones and @elizabethwillmotth, I hope I'm forgetting nobody


Aldo De Martelaere Tue 25 Mar 2014 4:11PM

Oh sorry, I didn't mean @sam but @samburcher!


Sam Burcher Wed 26 Mar 2014 8:31AM

HI Aldo,

I have emailed you a PDF copy of Garland. Thanks for letting me know about the problem with my website. I will try to get that fixed. Hope you enjoy the book.


Rachel B. Wickert Fri 28 Mar 2014 11:32AM

@aldodemartelaere Yes, you are definitely on a similar wavelength!

Have you heard of the Indian Parable of the Blind men and the elephant? (pic attached)

As you said, while much of our individual knowing is embedded into our 'doing', our shared humanity gives anyone a potential to access the essence of things. The means vary hugely depending on what you were born with and your experience.

I found this simple truth struggling in our world where hyper specialised expertise is valued more financially and otherwise than other types. To me all are as relevant when it comes to finding a way forward as a collective to solve a complex problem e.g. be it a trans-generational familial trauma, a personal crisis, the dying of bees, a company dysfunctional culture etc.

The arts/creative activities level out that difference of value allocated to different types of knowing by enabling all present to reconnect with their own whole humanity and therefore to the collective even if only for an instant. It is as if it was opening an extra-verbal channel…

That has been my experience of the theatre workshop I did for instance: http://rdwbizz.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-rainbow-of-desire-boal-method-of.html


Rachel B. Wickert Fri 28 Mar 2014 12:02PM

@gwynjones @elizabethwillmotth @aldodemartelaere @samburcher

I've been on the look out for inspiring examples of news innovative artistic collaborative concept. I stumbled on this one from the Big Live Arts Group (a loomio group based in New Zealand). It has got many of the essential ingredients that we've been discussing about e.g. the mix of open innovation, tech/scientific insights, the arts/crafts, sustainability, collaboration via cross-fertilisation, community spirit regeneration, autonomy and experimentation.

They are happy for me to share it so here it is attached. Any sparks? ;-)


Sam Burcher Mon 31 Mar 2014 6:03PM

Hi Rachel,

I've just got back from five days farming in Devon. Can't open your link for Big Live Arts, so will search through Google and get back to you with my thoughts. Sam


Rachel B. Wickert Tue 1 Apr 2014 9:54AM

Hey @samburcher, farming in Devon sounds fab! Attached the snapshot of the google doc FYI…



Rachel B. Wickert Tue 1 Apr 2014 9:54AM

page 2


Rachel B. Wickert Tue 1 Apr 2014 9:55AM

and some of the pics that go with it!


Rachel B. Wickert Tue 1 Apr 2014 9:56AM


Aldo De Martelaere Fri 4 Apr 2014 10:35AM

I think I'm getting closer, @rachelbwickert:

There is a kind of thickness and richness in the patterns of daily life, that specialisations are frantically running around and are unable to finally capture in a way that means something to most people. Art, however, shares in the thickness of its 'subject' and simultaneously clarifies it.

Again, the image of concentric circles comes to mind. It also reminds me a bit of Dante's Purgatory, where well-intentioned people move around restlessly, striving for Heaven. It also makes me think of the subtitle of shiftN - my former employer: 'clarity in complexity'. Only, the pursued clarity is not primarily an intellectual, but an artistic endeavour.


Rachel B. Wickert Thu 10 Apr 2014 6:07PM

Yes! @aldodemartelaere You got it.

Interesting you mentioned shitN. I had an interesting exchange with Philippe last week around that issue through the prism of the different but, I believe complementary ways, we approach the process of "Resilience" (and therefore its enablement).

ShiftN's primary angle is through the intellect first than, possibly, acknowledging the lived-experience: see the community resilience systems map they recently did for a US Foundation here: http://shiftn.com/jpb/ and here http://vis.shiftn.com/sym/#philippe/Resilience%20v%204_1/1

MetM's primary angle (model if you wish) is through the acknowledgement of the visceral experience than bringing the intellect in for good balance: http://rdwbizz.blogspot.be/2014/01/creating-conditions-for-childrens.html

Philippe's view oscillate between these two different positions that he nicely summarised using these 2 questions:
- Is Resilience a set of normative choices within the contours of which we can try to work systemically? 
- Or is Resilience an emergent property that is the result of standing systemically in the world?

I am definitely closer to the emergent property than Philippe, on his spectrum. But while his first interest lies in searching for a model for Resilience, I am more interested in the stories of Resilience crossing life forms. Hence the creation of a number of stuff that can support that on a grand scale.

In essence, I believe the key lies in embodied not disembodied, in circles not lines, in emergence not certainty.

This said Philip and I, we both feel that each others approach could be complementary. Rest to find how. To Be Continued...

@samburcher @elizabethwillmotth @gwynjones


Aldo De Martelaere Mon 5 May 2014 10:58PM

Hi everybody,

I find the following article worth thinking about:


The relation between perception and thinking is worth reflecting about, I believe. There is no perceiving without thinking, according to recent findings in neurology.

I think that perception and thought are both consciously involved in experiencing art. There is a constant attempt to free oneself from thought and look or hear or read afresh.

Something similar might be the case in moral judgment. Freeing oneself from thought is here a kind of freeing oneself from prejudice. Which requires empathy.

@rachelbwickert @samburcher @elizabethwillmotth @gwynjones


Elizabeth Willmott-Harrop Wed 4 Jun 2014 1:53PM

@aldodemartelaere That is a really interesting article - reminds me also of emotional trauma and how without healing and interventions one can not "unsee" danger in relationships for example.

@rachelbwickert The systems thinking links you have given are very interesting eg http://www.pinterest.com/pin/318066792406168464/
http://vis.shiftn.com/sym/#philippe/Resilience v 4_1/1
However this is something totally new to me (but attractive as I am a visual person) so am keen to discuss on our group call later!

V best, Elizabeth


Rachel B. Wickert Wed 11 Jun 2014 9:46AM

Super Sense

Hello @samburcher @aldodemartelaere @elizabethwillmotth

I received an invite this morning from Super Sense. I thought it fitted well in our discussion here. It is a nice practical example of a way designed to get people out of their comfort zone but comfortably so they can discover and better appreciate their natural surroundings and their own abilities.

Basically, they organize blind experiences that alter the way participants perceive the world with the aim to empower and support each other.

I have no doubt you are familiar with all kinds of team building workshop including the walking on fire ones. I just thought this one was refreshingly different as it turns upside down the idea of disability for a start.

Teaser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiLZI0lk76E&feature=youtu.be

Groups are invited to engage in interactive activities lasting around 3 hours either around a dinner ( I thought of you in particular @Iliana as it could be something you could do in your restaurant?) or during a walk in the wood for example. They have a series of these sessions next week on 20 and 21 June during Bristol Big Green week.


Cheers, Rachel