We are Starter Culture - a new initiative dedicated to co-creating healthier, more transformative and just cultures committed to love, intimacy, compassion, courage, creativity, beauty, pleasure and play.
Our vision is to help co-create these relational cultures that support deep and radical change from the inside-out in service of deep cultural transformation in sacred and reciprocal relationship with the whole earth community.
We are helping bring about this cultural transformation by supporting collaboration between those interested in the intersection between inner and outer dimensions of social and ecological change.
We want to help unleash our collective transformative power to radically address the inequality, systemic injustice and abuses of power giving rise to the inordinate human suffering, ecological destruction and species extinction that are bringing into question the future of our own species.
What do we mean by the ‘Inner’?
We are aware that the ‘inner’ is often understood to speak only to personal individualised experience rather than the richly interpersonal, social, cultural, political and other-than-human dimensions Starter Culture is all about. It is this breadth and depth that we are referring to when we talk about the ‘inner’.
The lack of an accessible and shared term for this field can make connecting and collaborating very challenging. What's more, the differences in how we all experience and express our inner worlds can create confusion, fear and a sense of separation and ‘not belonging’, between us.
What do we mean by inner-led cultural transformation?
For us inner-led cultural transformation means placing the inner and relational dimensions of our experience at the centre of our efforts around social and ecological change, in sacred and reciprocal relationship with the whole earth community, human and other-wise.
We believe that the extent of cultural transformation demanded by our current crises requires the ‘centering’ of these dimensions at every level of human life, from the personal to the collective.
When we talk about inner-led change we are referring to change that comes from the inside-out, and which in sacred and reciprocal relationship with the whole earth community, catalyses deep and radical cultural transformation.
Our commitment is to allying with deep cultural transformation - which includes and goes beyond change within the human realm.
Key ingredients of inner-led change
For inner-led change to truly serve the depth and scale of cultural transformation demanded by these increasingly turbulent times, we believe it needs to include the following ingredients:
- Resilience: Finding resourcing and transformative ways to respond to burnout, conflict and other destructive power and group dynamics.
- Connection: Turning towards an embodied, deepening connection with ourselves, one another and the other-than-human world and the deep wellsprings of radically inclusive love this supports.
- Collaborating across difference: Unleashing our collective transformative potential by learning to collaborate across difference in solidarity with all that is marginalised in service of our whole earth community.
- Decolonising: Healing and transforming the intergenerational trauma from the historic and on-going colonisation that lies at the heart of our current crises.
The health of our groups, organisations and movements
Groups and movements dedicated to social and ecological change are key to catalysing this cultural transfomation. However, making space for our inner experience is mainly neglected within these efforts around social and ecological change. This neglect of the inner and relational dimensions is costing our movements greatly in terms of their health and effectiveness.
Escalating cultures of burnout, polarization, 'othering' and unhealthy group and power dynamics and conflict, personify the symptoms of our mental health crises - and associated consumer driven culture.
What's more our increasingly turbulent times of global pandemic, recurring lockdowns, climate chaos, ecological destruction and species extinction are escalating our existing mental health crises to unprecedented levels.
Midwifing cultural death and transformation
Inherent within any process of transformation is the death of that which no longer serves life. And it is this death that then makes possible the birth of something new and more life-affirming.
We believe our unprecedented social, ecological and resulting mental health crises are symptomatic of our destructive consumer-driven culture beginning to die. Now is the time to embrace this cultural death to make way for something new and life-affirming that places love, intimacy, compassion, creativity, beauty, pleasure and play at its heart - in reciprocity with our whole earth community.
Making support around inner-led change widely accessible - and especially to those most marginalised by mainstream culture, is a vital aspect of us becoming able to more gracefully navigate the emotional fallout of this cultural death and catalyse the transformation wanting to happen in its wake.
As Starter Culture we want to help assist this cultural death to be as transformative as possible so that whatever is birthed in its wake can best serve our love for the whole earth community.
We are playing our particular part in this by supporting collaboration around inner-led change between practitioners from a wide range of approaches to social and ecological change more generally.
We are starting to bring together people from all over the world, working at a variety of levels of scale, to explore the vital question: how can our groups and organisations help co-create the deep cultural transformation needed for the continuation of our species in loving relationship with our whole earth community?
Together we are finding ways to nurture healthier, more transformative and just relational cultures commited to love, intimacy, compassion, courage, creativity, beauty, pleasure and play.
To make this cultural shift possible within our groups, organisations and public institutions we need to explore what makes it possible for people to choose to do the work that enables change to come from the inside out.
For change to come from the inside-out we need to:
- Acknowledge that alongside much joy and liberation, turning towards our inner experience often opens us up to vulnerable feelings we have been doing our best to avoid.
- Compassionately respond to the fear and resistance many of us therefore feel in relation to inner work - and how this then shapes our group cultures.
- Raise awareness that change from the inside-out is essential to the deep and widespread cultural transformation demanded by these increasingly turbulent times.
- Politicize the vital role inner-led change plays in individual and collective liberation and justice.
- Find ways to make finance and other resources abundantly available so that support around inner-led change becomes widely available to all, and especially those most marginalised by our mainstream culture.
Who is Starter Culture for?
This is a place for individuals, organisations, networks and communities interested in inner-led culture change - whether you are here to find out about healthy groups, conflict transformation and collective decision-making or to deep dive into shadow work, myth and the underworld: Welcome!
If you want to explore decolonization and dismantling systemic oppression: Welcome! If you're searching for support around mental health, meditation, mindfulness or other contemplative practices: Welcome!
Longing to find support around nature-connection practices, deep ecology, embodied awakening or soulcrafting? Welcome!Deeply embedded in inner-work and wanting to find ways of integrating this into more tangible outer-focused change? Welcome! Passionate about chanting, trance dance, ritual or prayer? Welcome!
Want to integrate an inner-dimension into your food growing, wild fermentation or food sovereignty work? Welcome! Committed to finding ways to create more a sustainable livelihood, lifestyle and travel: Welcome! Fired up about sacred economics, the gift economy or re-economy? Welcome!
Determined to find a way of developing relational ways of making collective and political decisions? Welcome! Intent on radical judiciary and prison reform? Welcome! Passionate about stopping deportations and finding creative loving solutions to our hospitality crisis? Welcome!
If you are interested in inner-led change you have come to the right place. And whilst language and imagery can feel divisive we also want you to feel at home here whether thinking, feeling, sensing or imagining is your thing. Welcome!
Unleashing the transformative potential of inner-led change
The time is ripe for us to come together and reveal our hidden movement. Over the last couple of years we have had more than 100 conversations to explore what it is like to try and integrate an inner dimension into social and ecological change work. We call this our Cups of Tea approach.
We asked people to tell us about the challenges, needs and opportunities they experience in relation to supporting inner-led change. Each and every one of these conversations provided rich feedback about what is needed to support inner-led change to flourish - as well as confirming just how vital this is to the health and effectiveness of social and ecological change work more generally.
Check out our 'What we do' section to find out how we are drawing on these rich learnings to help unleash the transformative potential of inner-led change.