Onboarding Civic Futures

I wrote recently about what excited me to join the Civic Futures Fellowship:

Civic Futures is a growing Fellowship facilitated by Koreo, Dark Matter Labs and The Young Foundation, in partnership with the Greater London Authority. It will work with up to 30 people from across London’s civil society and local government to facilitate collective learning and discovery experience focused on peer connection, exploration and inquiry, systems thinking, and collaboration across London’s civil society.

We started with thought provoking and impassioned introductions from facilitators from the organisations above and fellows from last year’s cohort, including this quote:

“Change culture and you change lives. You can also change the course of history….strategy means nothing to our bodies and our lizard brains. When strategy competes with culture, culture wins–every time.” Resmaa Menakem, My Grandmother’s Hands h/t

Farah Elahi shared about the three elements of self love:

  • Ability to value your whole self and bring it into this space
  • Ability to look after each other’s needs and our wellbeing

A fellow from last year, Mama D Ujuaje, Community Centered Knowledge challenged us to think that if we’re not honest about the structures and the ways in which they influence you You’re, you’re really constantly at risk and at danger of perpetuating deep inequalities, and how people have been impacted by these inequalities in different ways and that has pain and trauma attached to it and how that will kind of show up in this space as well and being kind of careful around that.

At our onboarding session we were asked to bring an object that represents recovery

In my breakout session we talked about

Plants of all different types of herbs & vegetables, very small but they have so much potential, dependent on oxygen and sun and each other, but also very invisible as to what each herb or plant is, you need to get to know them and to help them grow. Want people to have more plants to show London as a city where you can breathe, where you can share trees and gardens, as well as show how you can tackle wider issues, like damp housing.

Bike that they enjoy using to have time for themselves, see other people and get that sense of normality and the future, with so many different benefits. Surprised positively about the number of people cycling.

Memory cards of the citizenship test. They act as culture building infrastructure by migrants to support other migrants. The recovery of London needs education about our diverse history. Curious about how local governance can allow people to participate without requiring status.

What opportunity does Civic Futures represent for change in all of us as individuals, and collectively? How can it support change in our working environment, and in the communities in which we work, live and play?

We discussed in my breakout session how we:

  • Interrogate what we mean by change and inclusion and post-Covid — what is the timeframe or is it a state of mind
  • Develop a deep analysis & intersectional understanding of the collective lived experience
  • Spread change through stories of people’s lived experience that mobilises people from different backgrounds around a common cause
  • Test test out different ways of tackling the issues which show a visible impact on the ground, challenge power and build community




Head of Policy Design, Scrutiny & Partnerships @newhamlondon #localgov Co-founder of #systemschange & #servicedesign progs. inspired by @cescaalbanese

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Head of Policy Design, Scrutiny & Partnerships @newhamlondon #localgov Co-founder of #systemschange & #servicedesign progs. inspired by @cescaalbanese

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