Writings

Writings

On the Renewal of Flourishing Places

We have been on something of a hiatus. From the Latin "hiare," hiatus meant "to gape" or "to yawn” and often referred to as a literal gap or opening in something. One takes breaks and looks for the gaps, waits for the openings. As I write these words, the scenes of...

On Crisis, Possibility, and Care

I have been thinking about crisis.  Here at Social Possibility Lab, we invited essay contributions related to crisis and possibility.  We received submissions from high school students, doctoral candidates, and college professors.  We received submissions from Canada...

Possibilities Are Birthed By Questions

How do we advance new possibilities? Lately, I count myself fortunate to be able to do the work I do.   I am enjoying most of all our evolving activities here at The Social Possibility Lab.   The Lab seeks and shares stories, serves as an idea commons, and celebrates...

On Hopelessness & Healing In The Natural World

The Peace of Wild things by Wendell Berry When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great...

On the Neighborly Community

“Help put away the chairs.” This was one of the first pieces of advice I remember on how to forge relationships as a newcomer to a community.  I have worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors, but most of my working life has been in higher education.   My...

On Clean Energy

Every community and region is rich in story, with so many narratives, only some of which become more widely known and shared. We join the ranks of storycatchers – helping to discover and share some of the less championed, crucially important stories of people and...

On Slowness and New Possibilities

One thing I have been thinking differently about in this time of difference is the nature of time itself.  Time is malleable -it stretches and shrivels. This worldwide pandemic crisis has disrupted schedules and routines and has, for some, slowed time.   Not all of us...

Why Possibility? Why This Project?

Great questions, these.   The Social Possibility Lab seeks to look around and learn about ways to see, to think, and to do – that advance the greater good.   This is critical work for all of us - it is not only the poets, prophets, and visionaries who...

The Commonplace #14

This summer, we solicited essay submissions related to the theme of crisis and possibility.  The...

The Commonplace #13

Finding new ways to think, see, and do for the greater good.  That has been a motivating...

The Commonplace #12

What does it mean to work for community healing or economic recovery in places still wounded and...

The Commonplace #11

Here at Virginia Tech, we are excited to be able to help our communities, even in small ways...

The Commonplace #10

As some of you know, The Commonplace is a collection of quick hits, links, and thoughts related in...

The Commonplace #9

Let us consider new stories of ourselves and this moment. Stories of coming together, of seeing...

The Commonplace #8

This continues to be a year of crisis, of challenge, and of change.   How do our crises suggest...

The Commonplace #7

I discovered a new podcast, Everything Happens. Especially relevant for days of difficulty, the...

The Commonplace #6

I find sympathy with calls for re-assessing the way we do policing in this country and in our...

The Commonplace #5

We sometimes doubt the value of our own work and works.  I include all of you readers who have...

Vantage Points: Rebecca Allen

Rebecca Allen is Program Manager with the Social Justice Fund Northwest. Can you tell me about...

Vantage Points: Keith Anderson

Keith Anderson is the Director of the Department of General Services for the District of Columbia....

Vantage Points: Caitlin Murphy

Caitlin Murphy is the Strategy and Operations Manager for Live6Alliance. Tell me about your...

Vantage Points: Agnieszka Bulacik

Agnieszka Bulacik is the co-founder and co-director of New Visions in Berlin, Germany. Q: Tell us...

Food, Justice, and Sustainability in West Virginia

April Koenig, the executive director of Sprouting Farms in Talcott, West Virginia, is not one for...

Zero Waste Event Productions

Ok.  So, no.  No, not really.   No, to be honest, I had not given much thought to the waste...

Revolt Energy

Today, I spoke with Zach Drennen, President of Revolt Energy in Nitro, West Virginia.  Revolt...

Information, Knowledge, and the Gordian Knot of American Life

By Matthew Walker, Ph. D. (This is the runner-up of our Summer 2020 Essay Contest.) Crises offer...

Persistence: A Minority’s Response to Adversity

By Tamia Bradham (This is the winner of our Summer 2020 Essay Contest.) I have learned the term...

Resources for an Inclusive and Equitable Economic Recovery

As we continue to feel the full effects from COVID-19 to people, places, and businesses, recovery...

Wonder What’s Next? This Is How We Invent The Future

Guest contribution from Jill Hufnagel Never before have we collectively been under the kinds of...

On Hopelessness & Healing In The Natural World

The Peace of Wild things by Wendell Berry When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the...

Taking on the Difficult, Part I

Creating new possibilities requires grappling with messy, imperfect, and difficult realities.  ...

Resources, Small Business, and Community Organizations

Smaller community development organizations, social entrepreneurs or sustainability-focused...

Call For Contributors

Our Summer Contest Theme:  Crisis and Possibility  Description:  We seek thoughtfully crafted...

Resources For A Difficult Time

In this time of great need and deep uncertainty in the US and globally, here is a quick primer on...

Most Recent Articles

Vantage Points: Caitlin Murphy

Caitlin Murphy is the Strategy and Operations Manager for Live6Alliance. Tell me about your current organization, and your role in it. Live6 Alliance is a community development nonprofit in northwest Detroit.   Our mission is to enhance quality of life and economic...

read more

Resources for an Inclusive and Equitable Economic Recovery

As we continue to feel the full effects from COVID-19 to people, places, and businesses, recovery will be a long journey.   We will continue to share resources and thoughts that may be of interest and value, and here are a few for this week:  Leading a just and...

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The Commonplace #11

Here at Virginia Tech, we are excited to be able to help our communities, even in small ways during this period of economic recovery.   Our recent award from the Economic Development Administration enables our faculty and graduate students in the Office of Economic...

read more

Wonder What’s Next? This Is How We Invent The Future

Guest contribution from Jill Hufnagel Never before have we collectively been under the kinds of pressure we’re experiencing globally in the moment that is COVID19. It’s as if we’ve all—at the same time—had the rug pulled out from under us. While the fall-out of that...

read more

The Commonplace #10

As some of you know, The Commonplace is a collection of quick hits, links, and thoughts related in some way to our aim, to thinking about social possibility and the work for greater good.  This week I swerve from policy to literature, contemplating resentment and...

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Vantage Points: Agnieszka Bulacik

Agnieszka Bulacik is the co-founder and co-director of New Visions in Berlin, Germany. Q: Tell us about your current organization, and your role in it. I am the co-founder of New Visions. New Visions works with leaders to transform existing narratives into more...

read more

The Commonplace #9

Let us consider new stories of ourselves and this moment. Stories of coming together, of seeing new ways to be and do. Even stories from the other side, of the people with which we disagree. We are all shaped by story, afloat in the waters of narrative. Stories have...

read more

On Hopelessness & Healing In The Natural World

The Peace of Wild things by Wendell Berry When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great...

read more

The Commonplace #8

This continues to be a year of crisis, of challenge, and of change.   How do our crises suggest new avenues for possibility for our world, and our communities?   One thought:  Our Overton Window may be widening.    The idea behind the Overton window is that on any...

read more

The Commonplace #7

I discovered a new podcast, Everything Happens. Especially relevant for days of difficulty, the episodes feature people who have learned from dark times. The host is Karen Bowler, a Duke professor of religion, a writer and mother who herself experienced the difficulty...

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