I am seeking stories about community – their successes, their breakdowns,
and how your experiences with community have shaped your life.
I believe we are having a crisis of disconnection from one another and the planet we inhabit. Belonging is commonly accepted as a basic human need (Maslow’s Hierarchy), and we are learning how loneliness is making us sick and killing us, and yet we are not talking about belonging’s impact on our lives the same way we talk about the other needs. In our cultural conversation there is a significant lack of attention to something that researchers have been telling us matters to our health in every possible way – intimate connection with others and our physical environment.
We live in a culture of individualism, exclusion, and isolation. We form social groups that are based on a shared quality or interest that we have and others don’t. We find reasons to exclude far more than we look for reasons to include – money and class, illness and disability, appearance and skin color. No matter the group we belong to we seek those who are most like us. We actively other and exclude those we consider too different – too awkward for easy connection, too poor to dress like us, too limited by disability to participate in our activities.
Within the exclusive communities we build, we inevitably run into conflict. If that conflict isn’t handled well – and it rarely is – then the entire community can be impacted and fractured. People may be deeply hurt and harmed by community breakdown and then isolate in order to protect themselves from further vulnerability and pain. I believe this is one of many reasons behind our current crisis of disconnection.
I want to figure out how we can build and nurture long lasting community connection that meets everyone’s needs, that accepts all of who we are, and that works together to repair hurt and harm when it inevitably happens.
After recognizing that the need for belonging and community is at the foundation of my lifelong search for love, as well as how nurturing cultures of belonging is at the root of all of my past projects, I now understand that building community is my life’s work. I am in the process of writing a book about community, as well as exploring potential interactive community art projects that could foster connection and belonging both online and in the places we live.
I am collecting stories and conducting interview style conversations as part of my qualitative research (there is no selling or attempt to hook you into my other work). I seek to deepen my understanding of how community experiences impact our lives and how we can create long lasting cultures of belonging in our schools, workplaces, and community spaces.
You can participate by scheduling a 1 hour video or phone conversation with me by contacting me through the form below.
Thank you for your consideration.