If you’ve been reading you know I’m on a tour, presenting at the Timebanking UK conference (coming up in a couple days), visiting MAN potential partners and pilot sites, participating in related gatherings, and playing a little music. Lovely! Here’s the first segment of my report-back:
My trip started off quite beautifully, first with a fun short visit with Leander in London, then the next afternoon off to Mallorca, Spain for the Sacred Valley Dialogues.
I had expected the Dialogues to be what they were originally billed as, which was a gathering of business leaders interested in taking their business in more sustainable directions.
However, the scope and topic of the event had changed without my realizing. In the end, it changed for the better – at least from my perspective. There were about 25 people engaging in open space dialogue about how to create sustainable local economies. Good people and good conversation (and very un-thorough reporting on it here because of everything else I need to do – sorry for that).
I was invited by Matthew Slater, the programmer of the Community Forge open source timebanking software that we use. Jem Bendell, professor of Sustainability Leadership at University of Cumbria was scheduled to be one of the speakers and I knew I wanted to see both him and Matthew. Then I learned Sybille Saint-Girons was coming – she’s with Valereux in France and was the person I did the Economistresses activities with in Paris last year. She’s been creating a new open source software package, Wezer, that does much of what we want for the Main MAN. So this was a great opportunity to explore a partnership!
Matthew, Sybille, Jem, and I shared a lovely house in the gorgeous Soller Valley with Stephen Hinton, founder of Transition Sweden and JAK Bank Board member, and Mitch, a wonderful guy (and great professional coffee roaster) from Germany who was helping to organize the event.
It looks like Sybille’s Wezer platform can/will be able to do everything we need for the Main MAN, and we’re exploring creating an instance called the Mutual Aid Platform (MAP – appropriate enough since it will map the people and projects engaging in the Main MAN). Sybille will also participate in a leadership role. Matthew agreed to become our Software Coordinator. Stephen helped to figure out some beautiful mechanisms for shifting resources (money, time credits, etc) around to where they’re needed via coop member rebates, and also he and Jem agreed to some kind of active role (these roles are yet to be spelled out).
The trip would have been worthwhile for the beautiful place and lovely people, so it’s amazing that we got to get some serious and exciting work done too.
October 28 I also had the pleasure of meeting with the staff of Spice UK, an organization that supports a form of timebanking focused on co-production, especially engaging with human service organizations. This was a discussion focused on Applied TimeBanking (our term for using timebanking to corral the resources needed to carry out community projects) and Mutual Aid Networks.
The staff had great ideas about how these approaches could apply to their work. Spice’s mission is broader than just timebanking, and they may at some point explore adding in additional tools to further their mission. If they do I hope they become a MAN pilot! And have invited them to do so, of course…
October 30 I had a similar meeting at a brown bag lunch gathering at the New Economics Foundation (NEF). Leander hosted and gave a great introduction so I really didn’t have anything else to add… But really, we explored the ins and outs of connecting these different types of systems, and NEF was a good place for an informed discussion since they deal with all kinds of cooperative economic systems and platforms.
That night I played a show at the Beatrice in Camden, which was a lot of fun. With great sound!
I’ll leave off here so this doesn’t get even more unbearably long… and will pick up again with my trip to Bristol.
Thanks for reading,