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Our Principles

Principles as a Movement for the Conference.Lab

Multiple Intelligences
Our understanding is based on Gardner’s approach of multiple intelligences. Particular emotional, kinesthetic, intra- and interpersonal intelligence are often overlooked or under represented in academic settings. We are convinced that a purely cognitive based assumption of intelligence has led to fragmentation and silo building within the academic world. Therefore, we foster and invite the use of intelligences such as emotional intelligence, kinesthetic intelligence as well as intra- and interpersonal intelligence to embody, research and experience Global Social Witnessing.

Common Sense
We belief that most people are intrinsically able, if encouraged and supported, to cooperate and trust each other. Basic assumption how to achieve peaceful, productive gatherings and hospitality can be traced back in time and space cross-culturally. We value common sense as a basis of humanness and trust more in the many things that unite as than the one’s that separate us as human beings.

Relational Mindfulness
Based on social cognition and mindfulness research we encourage to be and to become more mindful how we relate with each other. We are not merely self-interested individuals, maximizing our own profit. We have the potential to become aware of the space and social field between us. Cultivating this relational space is crucial for us and for the Conference.Lab to be a success and to walk the talk of Global Social Witnessing.

Despite cultural, biological and social influence we are not just a product and victim of these circumstances. We also have the agency for response ability. So it is often much more the question of “how to respond” rather than who is right or wrong. We deeply encourage you to take “self response ability” when it comes to your personal needs and boundaries to be able to respond appropriately.

Generative Dialogue Culture
Based on Theory U, Presencing and coordinated management of meaning (Scharmer 2007, Pearce 2011) we aim to shift our dialogue practice from downloading information and discussing facts towards sensing and feeling the whole and the potentiality of an issue. Moreover, we have a deep interest in the the generative possibility, hidden beyond right or wrong, that awaits us in each moment as our future highest possibility.

University as a place to hold divergent views
In our understanding universities are places where knowledge is generated, the never ending search for truth is encouraged and divergent views can be hold and discussed even if they generate discomfort and challenge individual beliefs or emotions. Therefore, we advocate the gift of free speech and mutual respect or the other equally.

Moving beyond PC
We are aware that political correctness is e very important to a certain degree. Nevertheless, we aim at not stopping at “should’s” and should not’s” once they limit and necessary confrontation and discourses form happening out of fear or uncomfort. Where PC becomes a power practice in itself hiding or suppressing collective and individual shadows and blind spots (Zizek, 2015) deeper levels of listening and relating become necessary for us and we invite everybody to take this (sometimes difficult) step.

Power Awareness
We understand power as something that is often much more subtle and hidden between people, institutions, contexts and spaces. We understand that “power is everywhere” (Foucault, 1991). We aim at becoming more and more aware of where we are and how we use and are used by power in the most conscious way. Power in our view is shaped by truths, discourses, accepted forms of knowledge and scientific understanding. To be aware of power means to be aware how it is diffused, generated, constituted (and constituting) in academic discourses and our daily life a like. 

Safe Space as a state of consciousness
Based on research with experienced meditation practitioners (Singer, Klimecki 2014) and inspired by individuals like Ghandi or Martin Luther King we are convinced that safety can sometimes be found in cultivating it as a state of consciousness. While this is not the only possibility to generate safe spaces, we advocate and want to highlight the importance of being able to hold a space internally for oneself and others through compassion. At the Conference.Lab this understanding helps us to deepen and embody the concept of Global Social Witnessing.

Towards a metamodern rather than postmodern understanding
We welcome the emerging trend of Metamodernism in academia and art. In accordance with the Dutch School of Metamodernism (Vermeulen, van den Akker, 2017) we understand metamodernism more as a  “structure of feeling“ rather than an ideology. Opposed to the extreme relativism, irony and in it’s darker shades, nihilistic perspective of postmodernism, we want to highlight the pragmatic idealism metamodernism has to offer. In addition, we see Global Social Witnessing as a phenomena, originating form secular spirituality (Hübel, 2016) and therefore connected to a metamodern episteme, in accordance with Linda C. Ceriello research (Ceriello, 2013).  With Global Social Witnessing we want to contribute to move toward  an awareness-based activism rooted in post-ideological engagement, affect, and storytelling.

Growth/Care hierarchies vs. domination hierarchies
We are deeply aware that our global system and culture is currently dominated by hierarchies enabling injustice, ecological destruction and social suffering on a wide scale. Through Global Social Witnessing we oppose such domination hierarchies. In addition, we value growth/care hierarchies as  discovered and researched by developmental psychology (Erikson 1968, Graves 1970, Kegan 1994, Commons 2001),  as an important field of science for the emergence of Global Social Witnessing.

Exploring generative social fields
Global Social Witnessing is a practice informed and shaped by the new emerging science of generative social fields (Senge, Scharmer, Boell 2018). A social field is seen as the interiority of a social system (Scharmer, 2015), if participants of such a social field are connected individually and collectively it to a deep source of creativity, it turns generative. Global Social Witnessing aims at supporting and bringing to life such generative social fields.  

3rd Space Awareness
Based on the concept of the third space () we acknowledge the ambiguity of culture and history as homogenous entities. For us acknowledging the tired space means to welcome contradictions and to include various lines of thoughts and experiences when researching and practicing Global Social Witnessing.

Overcoming Othering
We understand Othering as a process of separating form the fundamental humanness and interconnectivity between us. Overcoming othering means for us to be aware and to challenge any racially motivated attempt of separation. We understand the “Other” in the tradition of Levinas and Buber as constituting human dignity and fundamentally as sacred. Only through the “Other” do I become who I am. Therefore, Global Social Witnessing takes into account the importance of the other as intrinsically interwoven with who I am. 

Holding the tension between polarities and contradiction

The collective unconscious and traumata