Our 13 staging posts in Learning and Development – Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of 3 exploring Nurture Development’s learning over the past 21 years. We describe these 13 pillars in Learning and Development as staging posts; places we frequently return to on our learning journey and places we often meet fellow travellers. To learn of staging posts 1# through to #4, check out part 1 here. We hope you enjoy reading these as much as we enjoyed learning with friends, colleagues, practitioners and those we admire from across the globe. With no further ado, staging posts #5 to #9.

#5. The fifth staging post relates to our very strong conviction at Nurture Development that a fifth principle of ABCD needs to be included and explicitly stated. It is essential, that as well as lifting up the four core principles of asset based community development; citizen led, relationship oriented, asset-based, and place-based, that we make a commitment to a fifth principle of inclusion. Further to this, the fifth principle should be considered as foundational. With the rise of neoliberalism, we see it as critical that we are crystal clear that our work is not about saving systems money, but about saving people from institutionalisation in preference for interdependent lives. We have written explicitly about this in The Welfare State is an extension of us, not a replacement for us, and in Community and the State: a question of proportionality.

#6. The sixth staging post revolves around the strategic shifts needed in organisational culture and structure, which in turn create space for citizen led community work to proliferate. As we have come to a better understanding of how these shifts occur, we have developed a spectrum of change. This spectrum is designed to further enable practitioners and organisational leaders who wish to transition from direct service delivery or advocacy towards community animation and community building. We have written about the spectrum of change here.

#7.  The seventh staging post is arguably where we have lingered longest. Seven years ago we started a process of support for local citizens and practitioners in the UK (and written about here) to make sense of ABCD in their own way and on their own terms. We emphasised that ABCD is not a model to be replicated or scaled, nor is it something that one rigidly has to stick to or have fidelity to. Rather ABCD is, as Jody Kreztmann suggests, about keeping your eyes open and paying attention to who and what is around you. That in mind, we are very committed to supporting the development of local and diverse expressions of asset-based community driven efforts across the UK and beyond. The idea of Learning Sites has captured the imagination of citizens, practitioners and organisational leaders in other countries too, and currently we are partnering with Bank of IDEAS in Australia to support the convening of Learning Sites across Australia.

#8. The eight staging post relates to our learning about eight of the more common and impactful practices which we have observed across each of the Learning Sites. These include the recognition of the importance of local resident connectors, the role of community animators, the value of sharable moments and the immense importance of celebrating achievements and impact, among many other practices of immense value. One of our significant learning points relates to the title that we were using to describe practitioners: Community Builders. We have come to understand that the danger in referring to practitioners as community builders is that residents may come to assume that practitioners are the ones that do the community building, when in fact they are not, it is the people who live, sleep and work there who build the community. Hence we suggest we shift from the term/time of Community Builder to Community Animator, as a more appropriate designation. We will write more about the term of animator but also the practices of a Community Animator.

#9. The ninth staging post marks a decision we made to actively and publicly cheer on complementary approaches to Community Animation (formerly known as Community Building). The details are for a later blog but in short order we believe that Time Banking, Community Circles, Community Organising, Appreciative Inquiry, Transition Towns, Incredible Edible, Place Making, The Good Life conversation, and Strengths Based Approaches share the five common principles outlined in staging post five (part 1 of blog).

Stay tuned for the final part of the blog, concluding the staging posts in our learning journey and unpacking the next steps for Nurture Development. As always we encourage and welcome the thoughts , opinions and developments of those who take the time to read and follow our blog.

January Blog 2

3 Part Series

Part 1 found here

Part 2 found here

Part 3 found here

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