From August 22-28 Mutual Aid Networks will be hosting people from around the world in Madison Wisconsin for a Skillshare summit. We will design the week to create opportunities for many people doing many amazing projects to share what they do in ways that are replicable.
Here is an invitation to the summit overall.
Here is an invitation to contribute skillshare ideas. We’ll be working through that process over time, this will provide the initial link to throw your hat in the ring.
I hope you can join us!!
I’m writing to fill you in on a lot of news.
First, I’m very happy to report that I’ll be in Brussels this Friday May 13 at the home of the wonderful Anne Snick, whose work on work we reference a lot in the MAN. We’ll do workshops beginning at 10am that day to orient participants to Mutual Aid Networks, then to explore the potential for the MAN structure to help meet local goals. Kate MacDonald, steward of the Hull UK MAN pilot site, will join me in presenting.
Then I play a house concert at 8pm! I’m very excited. Anne has arranged for me to have a nice (electric, I’m presuming) piano to play, and a trumpet, and I’ll bring my looper. I’ve been practicing a lot and have recently learned a Regina Spektor song I can’t stop playing. So I think it’ll be a fantastic evening. Anne will play a little guitar and who knows what else might happen? Do you or someone you know live in or near Brussels? Then email me and I’ll pass on the invitation.
From Brussels Kate and I will go to Paris to join in a CollabCamp hosted by Daniel Harris (whom I met at the Impact Economy Summit) and a couple cohorts, then Leander Bindewald and I are presenting at the OuiShare Fest in Paris. Huzzah!
From Paris I go to California – San Francisco then Monterey then back to San Fran – for an immersion training for my new BALLE Fellowship. Exciting! Raines Cohen of East Bay Co-Housing is helping to host a MAN workshop there on the evening of May 27 and possibly the day of May 28. Please let me know if you’d like to go, and also if you’d like to host some kind of concert there on May 28.
And here’s a brief overview of what else is on tap: Early June we’ll host an action-oriented Mapping Summit in Madison, geared toward identifying existing resources and needs (including something amounting to a Robust Basic Income for people in the area we choose to cover) and then showing how creative resource sharing and exchange could provide for much much more equitable distribution. Then using that information and the tools we’re developing to actually do it.
One of our Board members, Mike Giroux, is working on a west coast tour for June also, so stay tuned if you’re out that way.
July I’ll head east again for the Traveling MAN Interdependence Day Tour – to Detroit, Lansing, New York (including the CommonBound Conference), Pennsylvania, Providence, Massachusetts, New Jersey…We’ll be doing trainings, skillshares, leadership development among pilot stewards, and public events. Let me know if you want to help and if you want your city to be a stop. I think I’m staying on the northeast side of things for this one, and doing my best to build in a little more down time than I did last tour (or I’ll die :)).
August 9-14 is the World Social Forum in Montreal, where we aim to present during a thread on the Commons that we’ve been helping (a tiny bit) to plan.
Late August we’ll host the next MAN Up Summit – this one’s a skillshare. We’ll have people show how they do their amazing projects, in a way that makes it easy for others to replicate. Everyone will learn how to use and help shape our Mutual Aid Platform (MAP) software to manage and share projects and to access and share resources.
September I’m planning to spend in the UK, doing leadership development work and helping host a MAN Up UK Summit in Hull, and also traveling to other potential pilot sites in Manchester, Totnes, and beyond.
…and there’s more but this is a solid start and I need to finish writing and get on with my weekend…
All in all it’s shaping up to be a really cool year. Hope to see you somewhere along the way.
Thanks for paying attention
p.s. If you want to see what we’ve been up to over the last year (in a more condensed form than just going back and reading all these blog posts, which could be your most in-depth orientation) check out the activity report I just did for one of our funders. I know there’s still stuff missing from it but it’s nice to see how far we’ve come!
From Providence I drove to see my parents in Ohio and on the way received the first big clue that my car was about to shuffle off this mortal coil…
But that’s a different story. Next MAN stop was Detroit.
I got to Kim Hodge’s house the evening of April 1. Kim is a dynamo organizer, founder of the Lathrup Village TimeBank and the Michigan Alliance of TimeBanks (MATB), and coordinator of the Pontiac SUN TimeBank. It was great to see her! And as usual she had organized several timebank events, which I was very happy to be in town for.
First was the April 2 MATB coordinators roundtable. We focused on organizational partnerships and I shared how my experience has played out at DCTB, and heard about the experience of the Michigan organizers. We have a lot in common in our approaches. I think the most useful thing I seemed to share was the notion that you don’t need to spend a bunch of time trying to recruit a partner who isn’t enthusiastic because it isn’t worth it. Sometimes it’s nice for us just to help each other take some pressure off ourselves…
The next day I caught up on writing and other work and checked out some cool things around Detroit.
Then April 4 Kim took me to lunch with the wonderful Jennie Dennison-Budak, Tony Budak’s (Mahoning Valley TimeBank founder and lovely guy in his own right) wife whom I’d somehow never met before. I learned a ton from her! She’s been involved in really related work for a long time.
The evening of April 4 MATB hosted a big potluck dinner with special guest speaker Philippe Granger from Rushey Green (London UK) TimeBanks. It was great to see Philippe as usual. the potluck was really well attended by people who were excited to learn from Philippe’s presentation, about how his timebank builds natural health and wellness supports.
April 5-7 I spent in Lansing, in a variety of activities in support of their fledgling MAN pilot site with MAN pilot steward and board member extraordinaire, Scott Murto. And the always-wonderful Edge Brussel, who also happened to come rescue me when my car gasped its final breath, conveniently just a couple blocks from my Lansing destination.
First was the MidMichigan TimeBank’s potluck. This was a lovely gathering of folks, really geared toward how to get more participation in their timebank events. We had a little discussion about how to find activities that would be fun for different audiences, and rotate through them so we reach lots of different kinds of people in our outreach. I also shared with the group the basic overview of MANs.
During the days I was there we also held a strategy discussion and a mapping exercise, which yielded this (one of my typical messy whiteboard pix, but contains some helpful notes) –
And hosted a timebank orientation for the staff at Clean Water Action, where a number of people have become inspired to participate in the timebank and MAN development having been inspired by Scott.
I left my car with a sweet mechanic in Lansing who had pronounced it dead on arrival after it stopped completely (only 2 blocks from my destination, at the end of the tour when I had other people to ride with, so there’s that..)
April 8 Scott and I headed to Detroit for the NASSE Forum. It was incredible.
First, this was by far the most diverse – age, race, background – group I’ve seen at an economic conference. And the programming was excellent.
The first panel included Laura Flanders and Gar Alperovitz, two heroes of mine. I accosted Gar at the end to ask him to serve on the MAN Advisory Board. I feel his message dovetails completely with what we’re doing. We’ll keep you posted when we get an answer. Either way, his work is awesome and I encourage you to listen to him whenever you have a chance.
Julia Ho (our St. Louis pilot site steward) brought a crew of 30 people(!) from St. Louis. Including from HOSCO food coop, Roots housing coop, Citizen Carpentry coop, and much more. I attended HOSCO’s workshop which was extremely inspiring. I look forward to their coming to Madison to share their skills with us.
I also went to a workshop on savings pools hosted by a group that creates them, Philanthropiece, one on building networks and coalitions, building investment through selling non-voting cooperative shares (presented by Equal Exchange), and especially exciting was a workshop on New Culture, New Work by Frithjof Bergmann. I’ve wanted to connect with him for a long time! Very inspiring.
After that last workshop of the day, Blair Evans gave a tour of the Fab Lab on site, called Incite Focus. It’s amazing. And I was excited to learn that Blair really likes the police-referred timebank-supported youth court model, at least as much as he was able to learn about it from the brief time we had together. He works a lot with court-referred youth now. We hope to connect in the future around creating more opportunities and less detention for young people.
And I gave a workshop on Mutual Aid Networks. It was great! Well-attended, a very engaged audience. I made some connections that are very special to me, and which I expect to be quite fruitful.
The last night of the Forum Reggie Flowers hosted a wonderful party in this super cool house that he’s refurbishing, called Alt Space. Really incredible – him, the space, the people there.
And between my workshop and mingling during the Forum and meeting people at the party, we have now developed exactly the lovely connections with wonderful people with a variety of talents and focal points in order to develop a MAN pilot site there, and – near and dear to me – explore a partnership with Madison and St. Louis on community justice issues. Like the one laid out here, perhaps.
We’ll be kicking off the July Interdependence Day Tour with a retreat/workshops/house concert at Alt Space on July 4 or 5. But that will be in my next post, about the exciting events upcoming…
For now, I conclude the final report on MAN UP 2016 Tour #1. As usual I came home feeling the world is bursting with possibility. Now it’s time to get down to brass tacks and make it all work. Stay tuned for how we move forward with that.
And thanks for paying attention!
I’m pleased to report that there’s a big article on Mutual Aid Networks, timebanking, and the super cool projects working in both, on the front page of today’s St. Louis Post Dispatch. Hooray!
Featuring the Cowry Collective, Solidarity Economy Network, Missourians Organized for Reform and Empowerment, Grace Hill Settlement House, Dane County TimeBank and DCTB Youth Courts, and much much more. Check it out!!
My visit to St. Louis has been jam-packed with great stuff.
First, right as I arrived I met up with Julia Ho (MORE organizer extraordinaire), Freeman Word (mentor and creative force in the St. Louis County Family Court system), and Barbara McKinney (DCTB’s Restorative Justice Coordinator, traveling with me from Madison). We met up and then went over to meet with a St. Louis County Family Court staffer to talk about possibilities for replicating pieces of DCTB’s TimeBank Youth Court model here in St. Louis.
We learned a lot about how the courts currently work, how MO state statutes may apply (or present barriers) to the model, and more. It was very encouraging in that the more we understand potential obstacles the more we can find ways around them. Our friend in the County Court system then recommended other people to meet with in the system, which happens later in this visit.
And I’m very pleased to see that Julia is handing out copies of our paper (presented last July at the Leading Wellbeing Research Festival in Cumbria UK), The Creative Destruction of the US Prison Industrial Complex: We Can Do It!
After that we went to the wonderful ROOTS Coop for a delicious potluck meal.
From their website – The ROOTS Coop is a collective of Black and Brown activists who have purchased a lovely 6-bedroom home on the North Side of St. Louis, and are transforming it into a housing cooperative—common ownership—that will be the springboard for implementing community based programs and initiatives—community collaboration—to empower the surrounding community to manifest Black and Brown self-determination.
The next day was very full, with an 11-4 event at the Thomas Dunn Learning Center. There I presented about Mutual Aid Networks and then a circle conversation about how timebank-supported youth courts could move forward in St. Louis. With a cooking demo and delicious meal provided by HOSCO, yet another incredible cooperative effort here. Followed by a seed swap. Super inspiring!
Sunday started with brunch at Julia’s house, with two other participants in a Community Arts Training project here. We talked about how they might approach a timebank youth court pilot as their project. Cool!
Also cool is Julia’s mom, and the fact that she was here visiting from Lubbock Texas and brought all her energy, wisdom and enthusiasm with her.
I wandered around Cherokee Street for the afternoon, checking out Dead Wax records and the Mud House coffeehouse. And lots of antique shops that line the street. Saw that Foam, where I played last time I was here, is right in the neighborhood.
Then went back to Julia’s to meet with several folks about timebanking tips (and I forgot to take pictures this time!). After this visit Barbara headed back to Madison to run the week’s youth courts.
On Monday I joined Julia and Freeman for a meeting with Catherine of the St. Louis City Court. She was really helpful and receptive about TimeBank Youth Courts and gave us some very practical ideas of where and how we could help get them going. It’s really exciting that this could become real here.
And Monday night I played a show at the lovely Blank Space, with Britt Baker doing a fantastic opening set along with Amber and Emily on percussion. Freeman opened with a super powerful poem by Amiri Buraka. It was a really cool night!
The rest of the St. Louis visit is just a visit, a really nice one at that. Spending time with Renee Marver who helped start and run the first modern US Timebank here in St. Louis, the Member Organized Resource Exchange (also called MORE) at Grace Hill Settlement House, begun in 1981. I ordered their manual back in 2004 when I wanted to start our timebank! Renee is a legend and really fun to hang out with to boot.
Today I’ll join Chinyere, founder of the Cowry Collective, at a salt room for some special relaxation, then tomorrow head to Bloomington IN for the the Up & Coming Food Coop Conference.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the rest of the tour reports, plus exciting news developing on the MAN front…
Our crowdfunding campaign starts Tuesday December 1 at 7am CST at generosity.com. Please be ready to help as soon as it starts! We need our friends to help plant seeds.
I’ll send another reminder with details, in time for you to take action.
I’m excited to share our new video with you! I’ve been working hard on it, with my friend Marina Kelly who’s earned a lot of timebank hours the last couple weeks… You’ll likely recognize some faces and voices, stay tuned…
And you’re welcome to start stocking up on MAN swag right away too, at http://www.cafepress.com/mutualaidnetworks – we’ll be adding more designs soon too!
Thanks for all your support. Things are getting exciting!
Things continue to move at lightning pace here in MANland. That’s a good thing!
We just embarked on a web summit, an online learning journey to help us all get grounded in what Mutual Aid Networks are and what they can do for us and our various and intersecting communities.
Please join us! Every Wednesday into August and likely beyond. Yesterday (July 1) was the premier session, an overview of Mutual Aid Networks, a summary of how we expect the series to go, and a preview of how we’ll lead into our MAN Up Summit August 20-28. Which will culminate in the ‘grand opening’ public launch of the Main MAN and some of our initial pilot sites.
Stay tuned for more info on the summit, but you can make plans to come to Madison Wisconsin that week. If you live in Madison you’re welcome to offer your home to our out-of-town guests. We’ll experiment with MAN-style sharing and reciprocity (i.e. you could ask for timebank hours, other resources to recognize your generosity) to support the people traveling here to share their skills and ideas. We’re expecting Julien Dussart, a Wezer programmer and complementary currency leader coming from France, James Priest, a Sociocracy leader and trainer coming from the UK, Stephen Hinton, Founder of Transition Sweden and board member of the JAK cooperative bank, plus MAN partners and community leaders from Detroit, St. Louis, Pennsylvania, Chicago and more. And if we’re lucky Nigeria by way of India – our newest Advisory Board member Bayo Akomolafe. Very exciting! We’ll learn a lot and get a lot of work done. Deep trainings, deep collaborative explorations, our first Main MAN general membership meeting, a MAN Up simulation game, and celebrations! You’re probably wondering how you can help out, besides coming and offering up housing. Well, you can help us pay for people’s travel and other related expenses. Like space, food, all the other supplies that go into making a great party and getting serious work done.
In other news, on Sunday Lorrie Hurckes (Dane County TimeBank Co-Director and Youth Court Coordinator, plus my Ladyscissors bandmate) and I embark on a trip to the UK. This will be a trip for work, fun and music. We’ll do some timebanking, restorative justice, and MAN events, plus a few shows. The impetus for the trip initially was (is) the Leading Wellbeing International Research Festival, where I’ll be doing a little session on DCTB and how we can apply and expand on our models globally via MANs – with Leander Bindewald (Time For the World collaborator circa 2011)! Plus playing some music, with Lorrie joining on a few songs. Plus Lorrie and I will be presenting a paper titled: The Creative Destruction of the US Prison Industrial Complex: We Can Do It! I’m very excited about this paper, and then about going ahead and doing it once we have it written up properly. :)
This festival has a lot of focus on leadership development which is great timing, especially as Lorrie takes on more leadership in DCTB (where she’s already a major force, and picking up more of my slack all the time) as I shift my work focus from there to a full-time focus on MANs and music. Generally applying MAN practices to do exactly what I want to with my life. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to do that soon too, and we can learn how together – that’s the point of the whole thing.
I digress. Before the festival we’ll hit London, Milton Keynes, Bath, Totnes, and Bristol, connecting with timebankers/co-opers/MAN-curious/restorative justicers. After the festival in the Lake District (and hiking and kayaking and those kinds of things) we go to Hull, another MAN pilot site. I’m very excited to see all the things they have going on there, which include a timebank and a city-sponsored cryptocurrency, Hull Coin, designed to support residents in poverty. And I/we have a show at the Adelphi on July 22!
And then come back to some Ladyscissors shows, including our set at my (and our host’s) birthday party, the Rock for Restorative Justice benefit for DCTB’s RJ projects. August 8.
Followed by the MAN Up summit later in August!!!
More on that as it develops. Meanwhile, don’t forget to give till it hurts :)
Thanks for reading,
p.s. a little bonus present for getting all the way to the end