14 Day Challenge – a practical idea from Journey to Hopeful Futures: A Handbook
Are you interested in taking part in a 14 day challenge? Can you, every day, for 14 days, pay attention to what is happening in the news? Can you see which story (ies) interest you most? Can you think whether they have an economic base, a social base, an environmental base or a mixture of all three? Can you draw or write down your observations in a note book or in your laptop or on your mobile device continuously for two weeks? If you can start to do this faithfully, every day, you will start – which Helena refers to as ‘bearing witness’ – paying detailed attention to what is going on in the world. You may find that the news is less alarming, as you begin to find patterns which are repeated every day or every few days.
Creating your own art work from collecting cuttings from the news
In Journey to Hopeful Futures: A Handbook, in chapter 1, there are photographs of two art works created by artist Phil Barton to express the ideas of Gaia’s Graveyards. In you are interested in creating your own Timeline or Ark, or another artwork inspired by Gaia’s Graveyards, please have a go. You might like to have a go drawing your response to the stories you read every day.
The origins of Gaia’s Graveyards
Celebrating the turning of the 2nd Millennium, Helena collected cuttings about animals from newspapers with our two younger, primary age children and we noticed that they were all in trouble in some way. After 2000 Helena continued to collect, broadening from biodiversity loss into cuttings around climate change, social justice and astronomy, filling the drawers in the sitting room, the floor space in the study and our hearts.
The cuttings became a central part of Helena’s research studies. Through her PhD Helena realised that this was an inquiry in its own right and set out to explore, accepting it was only possible to work with nine cuttings, not the hundreds and now thousands collected. The practice of Gaia’s Graveyards – bearing witness as first person inquiry is explored within the Action Research Journal and is available here: https://journals-sagepub-com.mmu.idm.oclc.org/doi/full/10.1177/1476750318818881
Or the article can be accessed through Research Gate:
Helena continues to collect these cuttings as her own daily practice of bearing witness.
Six cycles of action and reflection
First – telling the story of the creation of Gaia’s Graveyards
Second – an invitation to explore Gaia’s Graveyards: six cuttings
Third – exploring the Graveyards as bearing witness and mourning the death of species
Fourth – locating the Graveyards within the wider cosmos
Fifth – Gaia’s maternity wards
Sixth – outwards into the world