Through this journal, we are inviting you into a new way of thinking and doing, one which begins with questioning everything we take for granted. In particular, how we contribute – or think we contribute – to a better world. We will not have all the answers, but we want to ask better questions.

The questions we ask are not about the answers, nor are they about new ideas. There are enough ideas out there to reinvent the world several times over. As Audre Lorde said “there are no new ideas still waiting in the wings to save us… There are only old and forgotten ones, new combinations, extrapolations and recognitions from within ourselves – along with the renewed courage to try them out.”

The Art of Doing Less

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu

The Artist as Visionary

In this final piece in our series on the role of the artist – and our final piece for this year – we travel forwards. Our earlier pieces explored the artist’s role in helping us shape complex emotions, reveal truths, and contribute to democracy. In this piece, we explore the artist’s role in relation to the future – this is the artist as visionary.

The Artist as Critic

“From around the age of six, I had the habit of sketching from life… but nothing I did before the age of 70 was worthy of attention. At 73, I began to grasp the structures of birds and beasts, insects and fish, and of the way plants grow. If I go on trying, I will surely understand them still better by the time I am 86…”

The Artist as Historian

“Only the story can continue beyond the war and the warrior … It is the story, not the others, that saves our progeny from blundering like blind beggars into the spikes of the cactus fence. The story is our escort; without it, we are blind.”
– Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah

The Artist as Translator

“Finally, at twelve-and-a-half, I went under the house and tried to speak poetry. I found out I did, indeed, have a voice. It was so important to me that it gave me a sense, always, of what it was to be an artist. As a young person, I knew then that to be an artist meant taking responsibility for the time one takes up and the space one occupies.”

The Role of the Artist

“Without the person of outspoken opinion … without the critic, without the visionary, without the nonconformist, any society of whatever degree of perfection must fall into decay. Its habits will inevitably become entrenched, tyrannical; its controls will become inaccessible to the ordinary citizen.” — Ben Shahn

Working With Emergence

“Think of a formation of migrating birds that knows the way across oceans and continents to its far-away destination, and the pathfinding capacity of which resides not in the individual birds but somewhere in the connection between them.” 

– Anna Katharina Schaffner

Time to Adapt?

The weather events of the past months have placed climate change at the centre of many conversations. While this is not new for millions of people in the global south, more of us in the global north are realising that our lives will also be directly affected…