Informing the Campfire Community every day

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Pete Lawrence - 21 Oct 2017
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Here is a downloadable programme (see bottom of page) for our Union Chapel Campfire Convention 002.UK event November 4th. 

More information and tickets available via this link.

The staging of our second Campfire Convention event in London feels timely. Much is changing around us. Our idea of the Convention is not conventional in most senses, in that it is challenging and pushing new approaches. Change at all levels, from personal to community, from political to global. 

The ethos, values and principles of Campfire are based around a sense of hope, a sense of empowerment – both individually for each of our members and collectively for our community and a belief that we can make a difference and that the world can be a better place.

The world’s been in trouble lately and we’ve lost our way in many senses. There is an urgent need to come together to try and make sense of it all, to process the fundamental shifts taking place and to reimagine how we might shape our world. 

Our patron, Brian Eno admitted that the revolution has happened, but it didn’t come from the people most of us expected to create it. Now that it has happened and the course of history has been changed, the rules have been broken, we have a level playing field which means that social and political concepts considered off-piste as recently as two years ago are more readily acceptable, desirable even. We need to get sharing the inspirational ideas.

A sense of the end of neoliberalism is in the air, bringing about a shift in the way we live together, work together, interact and do business.  Post-capitalism needs new models and uniquely, we are in a position to seize the narrative, to come up with the concepts (most good ideas are arguably coming from outside the main political parties, though Corbyn has recently shown a new level of imagination is his speeches around new economic models).

We’re now looking towards sustainable communities as well as sustainable ecology, co-housing and energy consumption, online platforms that work for the good of all (the Campfire Kudos being a good example) which can work on input / output metrics, rewarding engagement. There is a growing realisation that by helping each other we help ourselves. Social glue as a beacon for community empowerment.

Campfire is a new community, inspired as much as anything by my previous project The Big Chill and how connections can create a movement that can change things. With Campfire the possibilities are even more exciting. It can be many things – an alternative journalistic voice, a means to portfolio our key interests and enthusiasms, a platform for connection and collaboration, a forum for chat and the shaping of a new agenda, as we build collective wisdom and templates of experience. We might start a new Project on the future of work and what it looks like, on sustainability, on new approaches to learning, on the politics of food production. Or start a Beacon. Or join one and go to a Malvern Hills or Manchester gathering.

As we gather, we work on and develop our values. “Values are the bedrock of effective politics” suggested George Monbiot. Political change is as much about personal change and awareness as it is about any tribal loyalties. It reflects a move from ‘extrinsic’ to ‘intrinsic’ values, less based around notions of fame, power, wealth and competition, more based around universal rights and equality, the natural world and independent thinking.  Good politics is about listening, about talking and seeking common ground.

Social networking too needs new approaches – it need not be about boosting pages, algorithmic targeted ads, posting what you had for breakfast or swinging a general election. It can have a heart and a soul, a purpose and a real life element. The Campfire circle is symbolic as a great leveller and, I believe, a good starting point for what is possible to reimagine our world. 

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