AR+ WorldEthicForum – a culture of care and kinship

Action Research Plus Foundation/AR+ is helping transformation happen in working with The WorldEthicForum (WEFo) in what we may think of as an exciting “rockbox” (not sandbox 🙂 project.  

What is The WorldEthicForum?

WEFo calls us to foster healthy relationships of respect and inclusion of more voices and lifeform as we create a lifegiving culture of care and kinship. 

The ecocentric worldview of WEFo is also a call for restoring and rewiring our social and relational fabrics within a culture of kinship for a living planet.

As a multilateral ART experiment, within AR+, WEFo represents a shared inquiry on how we as human being might bring a learning orientation to relating and interacting both with one another and with ‘the beyond human realms.’ This means we realize we don’t know yet exactly how to bring about this new culture even as we know life demands that we try, with one another.

Seven strands of culture of kinship

The following seven cultural elements are viewed as pivotal for those who wish to manifest a culture of kindship together:

  1. Ethical Ground Work: exploring, excavating, and critically reflecting different ethical questions and possible perspectives of a world ethic — including required competencies — that enables radically shared aliveness and adapting and translating it to diverse contexts and scales.
  2. Decolonisation – Equity – Diversity – Inclusion: gesturing toward a future that transcends colonial patterns and integrates the awareness for an inclusive, equitable, and diverse society, including the sharpening of the definition of what our common understanding of these terms are and practices that embody that.
  3. Healing – Restoration – Reconciliation: establishing new, equal, and trusting relationships. It may include learning about the past and present, acknowledging and remedying harms that have taken place in the past, and taking action to build a just and equitable future for all.
  4. Stewardship of Bioregions – Agriculture and Food: taking into account that political, cultural, and economic systems are more sustainable and just if they are organized around naturally defined areas (i.e., flora, fauna, landforms, climate, and watersheds) and working towards a world in which borders are set according to ecological and cultural “permeable boundaries”.
  5. Youth, Children, Elders, Parents – Intergenerational Dialogue: bringing together the voices and wisdom of different generations and sitting with the big(ger) questions of our times. Leaning into regenerative attitudes and steps together while learning through passing knowledge *up and down* the different age groups.
  6. Kinship – Relating to all Living Beings: engaging in a world filled with relationships and rooting ourselves in cosmovision where all forms of beings – including watersheds, forests, mountains, animals, air, and so many other expressions of life – are acknowledged and respected equally. Hence adapt our actions and ways of beings accordingly.
  7. Responsible Economy – New forms of Economy: working towards new and responsible forms of economy through exploring their required structures, ingredients, and contextual implementation on a micro and macro level.

Helping new culture happen: The Firekeepers Circle

Ongoing prototyping of practice toward this (re)-new(ed) world ethic is already happening within the 60+ members WEFo Firekeeper Circle. The Circle  – a network of thought leaders, CEOs, artists, activists, practitioners, citizens, organizations, and institutions – convenes in-person once a year in the mountains of Switzerland. Additionally, the circle meets online all year-around with working sub-circles developing experiments in support of the seven cultural themes above. There are also public webinars, and a podcast.

Rockbox (not sandbox)

Normally we refer to members’ projects as “sandbox” projects in that AR+ members may, from time to time, step in with peer consultation etc. One of our current sandbox projects is with our colleagues at Orkestra/Duesto University.  However rocks are prominent in the landscape of the Swiss mountains when WEFo meet. Somehow “rockbox” seems more appropriate!  

WEFo a PAR circle within AR+

With WEFo as a participatory action research project inside AR+, Luea Ritter also of AR+, will work together with her team of WEFo colleagues [Marco Gyger, Linard Bardill, Dr. Anaïs Sägesser). Together we’ll undertake systematic inquiry and practice – also involving the wider circle of AR+ members through coLABs etc – in reviewing and reflecting on actions taken.

Action Research for Transformations within the WorldEthicForum

In 2024 AR+ and the PAR circle intend to:

  • Prepare a learning chronicle on kinship culture by inviting narratives and images from the Firekeepers to anchor and deepen their living inquiry about key practices that best propel their new culture work now and into the future.
  • Offer an accessible collective chronicle along with mapping – in multimedia format – to simultaneously describe compelling waypoints along the path of the Firekeeper Circle process.

The role of the PAR circle:

  • Work as the in-betweens who, enzyme-like, are the glue for transformative movement in individuals and collectives;
  • Articulate a WEFo appropriate ‘worldview language’ that is ‘ecocentric’ and communicative to a general audience;
  • Be the change, each of us engaged in developing transformative “mindset” in service of the intentions working with agility and flexibility to become good instigators, supporters and emissaries of this work;
  • Track their own shifts in culture worldviews, paradigms, and narratives;
  • Notice/select the most suitable/adaptive structures;

Intended contribution

From a scholarly perspective our work will inform Leadership, Ethic(s), Ecocentrism, Transdisciplinarity, and Transformative Learning. From a praxis perspective our work ought to enrich the multiple similar efforts that are emerging globally.

Leverage point: Awareness of sensemaking for action taking

The PAR circle will work with its own mindset assessment in support of the Firekeepers’ Circle. AR+ thus becomes a coach to the PAR circle as they work to:

Clarify: the best narrative about te purpose and role of WEFo;

Operationalize: core practices in support of Firekeepers in bringing World Ethic Culture alive through experiments;

Mobilize, using participative methods, in gathering stories, images and reflections on the pathways chosen – which practices are underway and how do they support new culture?

By 2025 we have clarified:

  • What WorldEthicForum Culture is for Firekeepers and what it offers for the world;
  • How requisite cultural practices can proliferate;
  • The role of the so called subtle / invisible aspects of relational culture of kinship