Catalysing collaboration

Our approach is all about collaborative relationship. Starter Culture was conceived through what we call a ‘Cups of Tea’ process: a relational approach initially involving more than 100 conversations exploring what it is like for those trying to include an inner dimension into social and ecological change work. It was these exploratory conversations that have then gone on to shape our areas of work and focus.

In 2019 we experimented with five Cups of Tea processes:
* Nationally across Scotland and England
* County-wide across Oxfordshire (south east England)
* Locally across south Devon (south west England)
* Internationally - with people working outside the UK, those working trans-locally and those working at an international level of scale.

A number of common and juicy threads and collaborative initiatives emerged from these conversations. What's more it was very apparent that simply mapping and connecting those interested in inner-led change was incredibly suportive and generative in and of itself.

The simple act of making space to talk about how it is to try and integrate an inner dimension into our work and groups enabled valuable connection and solidarity. This instantly felt transformative in and of itself. Simply connecting around this common theme resulted in us feeling much more confident to speak more boldly about the importance of inner-led change.

Our conversations also highlighted that whilst a collaborative approach is common within outer focused work, efforts around inner-led change still tend to happen quite disparately and in the margins. This seems to be significantly hindering the potential for deepening and scaling up this vital work.

New Cups of Tea processes

With all these juicy learnings in tow, we identified a number of place-based and thematic areas with a critical mass of people and organisations already engaged in some form of inner-led change. We are now collaborating with a growing number of oraginisations and practitioners to together identify what is needed to support inner-led change to really flourish across a range of communities - both place and practice-based.

In 2021 we are holding the following Cups of Tea processes:

* Radical leadership amongst people of colour in England
The coordinators of this process, Elizabeth Mpyisi and Calvin Niles, are hosting some 20 courageous conversations exploring challenges, needs, opportunities and emergent threads around supporting inner-led radical leadership amongst people of colour to flourish in service of deep cultural transformation.

The resulting report will:

- highlight key threads emerging on these topics,

- highlight areas of work that need resourcing so as to further enable radical leadership amongst people of colour,
- make recommendations on the Starter Culture themes of Resilience, Connection, Decolonising, and Collaboration.

* Cymru (Wales): seeking to explore the challenges, needs and opportunities being experienced in regard to inner-led change across Cymru/Wales.

* Bristol (south west England): in collaboration with Co-Resist we are seeking to explore the challenges, needs and opportunities being experienced in regard to inner-led change across Bristol.

* International Rites of Passage for young people: In collaboration with Israh Goodall, we are seeking to explore the challenges, needs and opportunities being experienced in regard to allowing Rites of Passage work to flourish in the world.

* International diversity and anti-oppression: Once we have recruited our new team members we will be seeking to explore the challenges, needs and opportunities being experienced around inner-led change amongst those working diversity and anti-oppression.

* International community responses to trauma: Once we have recruited our new team members we will be seeking to explore the challenges, needs and opportunities being experienced around inner-led change amongst those wanting to support community responses to trauma.

In the future we hope to also catalyse collaboration and leverage significant cultural shifts within the following themes and sectors and beyond: activism; education; frontline services; politics; judiciary system; and indigeneity.

We feel very enlivened by the transformatory potential for cross-pollination and collaboration across all these themes and sectors, both in-place, trans-locally and internationally.

Communities of Practice

These Cups of Tea processes are exploring, sowing the seeds for, and /or making connections with and between existing thematic and place-based communities of practice. Through these we hope to support the peer-peer collaboration, cross-pollination, reflection, learning, skill and resource-sharing and solidarity needed to deepen and scale up our efforts around inner-led cultural transformation in service of our whole earth community.

For more about our place-based Cups of Tea processes in Alba (Scotland), Cymru (Wales) and England go here:

For more about our international thematic Cups of Tea processes go here:

Join the conversation ...

We are seeking conversations with practitioners across the globe working around the following themes: politics, democracy and collective decision-making; activism; frontline health-care; education; legal system; radical diversity and anti-oppression; community responses to trauma; rites of passage; and indigeneity.

Do you have a good understanding of and strong networks and connections across any of these sectors and themes?

Are you are engaged and well connected within another theme or sector you sense is ripe for a Cup of Tea process?

If so, we would love to connect with you - please use the form at the end of the page.

Feedback and suggestions for collaborative conversations

Do you have a connection to the themes shared above, and / or is there a place or theme you feel is ripe and ready for a Cups of Tea process and/or collaboration more generally?
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