2020: Year of the Phoenix

January Update

Happy New Year!

It might have been a while since you heard from us. But we’re Will and Jules!

We created The Phoenix Project where we are exploring the radical transformation of human life on earth required to avert climate, ecological and social collapse, and to build a free and beautiful society in the process. The Phoenix is our metaphor for this transformation.

We’ve been a bit lax on sending out monthly newsletters to keep you up to date but we have big plans for The Phoenix Project in 2020 so we will be sending lots more things your way shortly. These involve forming a collective, running retreats, deep group workshops, and hopefully even a co-created festival in the summer.

So: what are we up to?

We are both working full time for Extinction Rebellion in London.

Will is XR’s Democracy Man, working on bringing the tools of direct, deliberative and participatory democracy to communities around the country. If you want to hear more, check out the XR Future Democracy Hub.

Julyan is working in the XR Transformative Justice and Conflict Systems Team which works to create restorative processes to solve conflicts in XR. You can read a presentation about this here. He also works in the Self-Organising System team on building the structure of how XR operates. If you’re interested you can explore the structure of the XR organism in this interactive map. (click on the circles on the right)

What have we been writing?

It’s been a long while since our last newsletter. So we have a lot of our writing to share with you all. The starred ones are our favourites.

What have we been exploring?

Where to even begin on our explorations of the past few months - let’s just dive in!

One of the most inspiring explorations for me (Julyan) in the last few months was reading Chav Solidarity by D Hunter. I was reading it whilst sitting on the streets during the last rebellion back in October and it truly rocked my world. It’s a series of essays about Hunter’s life experiences as a child sex worker, teenage crack addict, violent thug and community activist that can help us examine the ways in which our classed experiences shape how we think and do our politics. If you want to open your eyes. Read THIS BOOK!

Will’s been diving deep into the second installment of Hanzi Freinacht’s book on metamodernism, Nordic Ideology, and thinking about a practical strategy to bring about the “6 forms of Metamodern Politics” by marrying them up to the New Municipalism movement of reclaiming local politics. Article coming soon on Metamodern Municipalism.

We’re going to try and suggest one podcast every month that we think is a must listen. This month we’re going for the Being Unlimited Podcast with Jonathan Gustin. He runs an organisation called Purpose Guides which helps people discover their purpose in life. Or as he calls it their ‘mythopoetic identity’, that he describes as the way humans comes to consciously understand their soul, namely through metaphor. This might sound a bit wacky.. haven’t we outgrown souls in the 21st century? But check out the podcast and we think you’ll be surprised.

That’s all for now - See you next month,

Jules and Will

P.S. We’d recommend coming to the Totnes Convergence on 4th-7th of June. The lineup includes lots of our favourite people.. we’re hoping to run something there too!

August Update

We're back!

Hey!

It might have been a while since you heard from us. But we’re Will and Jules!

We created The Phoenix Project where we are exploring the radical transformation of human life on earth required to avert climate, ecological and social collapse, and to build a free and beautiful society in the process.

From now we’ll be sending out a monthly newsletter to keep you up to date on what we’re up to, as well as sharing links, resources, books and ideas.

But first: what are we up to?

We both got back to London in August after running our Reclaiming Utopia workshop with groups around Europe. We’re jumping back into working for Extinction Rebellion in the run up to the October Rebellion. If you’re not signed up to participate and live in the UK: sign up here!

During the rebellion we will be running a co-created transformational space with daily experiences aimed at breaking people out of society’s dominant narratives and into inspiring new ones… watch this space!

What have we been exploring this month?

Where to even begin on our explorations of the past few months - let’s just dive in!

We spent a good while discussing the Social Ecology of Murray Bookchin as a framing for the transformation we need. His big idea is that you can’t separate the social structures of society (i.e. hierarchies / oppression) from how human society interacts with nature. If we oppress each other, most likely we will also oppress the natural world. Here’s a great video on the topic. And here’s a link to our social ecology notes.

Jules spent a while exploring community and co-operation as core features of a new narrative to replace neoliberalism. George Monbiot’s book Out of the Wreckage was a great introduction to this. Here are my notes.

We both have also been exploring how best to emotionally and intellectually respond to the possibility of the collapse of our civilization. This was something we explored in our workshop but has continued to pre-occupy us. Jules read Active Hope by Joanna Macy which suggests that we should respond with optimism based on action. If all we do is sit at home it’s so easy to get depressed by the state of the world. The answer: get active! Here are Jules’ notes on the book.

In running Reclaiming Utopia workshops, we have found that utopian narratives to be an incredible tool for visioning and attempting to build a better world. Will has also been exploring how our responses to collapse are closely related to our relationship with our own mortality. He has a blog post on that coming soon - stay tuned!

We’re going to try and suggest one podcast every month that we think is a must listen. This month we’re going for Daniel Thorson’s interview with Dr Douglas Tataryn. This is a very practical episode on emotional processing. We believe that an important part of becoming agents of social change in the transformation that we call The Phoenix (more info here), is connecting to our present-moment emotions and embodied experience as guides for how we should act in the world. But most of us (particularly men) have spent large parts of their life repressing their emotions. Dr. Tataryn provides a nice model and practice for releasing them.

That’s all for now - See you next month,

Jules and Will

P.S. Check out some of the poetry created at our workshop here.

Welcome to The Phoenix Project

Our explorations of a new world.

Hi,

Welcome to The Phoenix Project.

You’re receiving this email because you’ve signed up to either Julyan Davey or Will Frank’s email list. This is our shared project!

Confronting the climate and ecological collapse faced by our civilisation, we have realised that nothing less than a radical transformation of life on our planet will allow humanity to survive.

Our metaphor for this radical transformation is The Phoenix.

The Phoenix Project is our personal exploration of this transformation.

During our travels and explorations we have discovered glimmers of hope that the seeds of this transformation are already out there. Just waiting to blossom.

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” ― Arundhati Roy

We want to document these seeds, as well as our discoveries and investigations in this newsletter.

Reclaiming Utopia

One of our current projects is Reclaiming Utopia. We’ve created this workshop to help people reclaim their ability to imagine a better world. It’s about reconnecting with imagination and vision as core driving forces of social change.

The workshop came about from following the question:

How can we give people an experience in a few hours that will open the doorway to a new way of living and being?

We currently plan to be in the following places running the workshop:

Brussels (12th-16th June)

Maastricht (17th-18th June)

Ende Gelande Climate Camp (19th-24th June)

Vienna (25th - 1st July)

Barcelona (2nd - 8th July)

Nowhere Festival (9th - 14th July)

To find out more please visit our website.

Let us know if you are in any of these places or have ideas of where we should take the workshop.

Peace and Love,

Jules and Will

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