We support youth leaders, communities, and world-changing organisations in Scotland, the UK, and Europe to develop the cultural skills they need to release old patterns; to connect, create, and collaborate; and to fully embody their life-sustaining values as a foundation for their work in the world. All of our programs are “community engaged,” meaning that they support participants’ learning both “in the classroom,” as well as in their home cultures and communities.
We chose the name "The Culture Garden" to describe the practice of creating a supportive environment for groups in which a diversity of healthy cultural forms can grow.
We believe that a healthy group culture is the ground from which successful projects and thriving communities spring. Formed in the subtle interplay of its attitudes, expectations, and behaviours, and interweaving with its systems of communication, governance, and decision-making, a group’s culture is its life blood, nourishing, inspiring, and empowering its actions throughout its lifespan.
Connection is like an invisible root system, which links each individuals’ inner journey of self-actualization with the interactions and activities of the whole. Practicing connection ensures that a group’s outer activities and initiatives support its members’ inner wellbeing – and vice versa – which invokes the powerful synergy of mutual benefit. We’ve seen the ways that this synergy is an invaluable source of energy, inspiration, and guidance for any group.
Creativity is the process of giving shape, energy, and intention to the vast field of possibility that exists within and around us. By attending to how it nourishes, receives and directs its creative energies, a group ensures that what it creates is well-formed, rooted in its deepest intentions, and responsive to the ever-evolving needs of the world. It can also include its partners, community, and the other-than-human realm in its creative process, unleashing the joy and generativity of a co-creative flow.
Collaboration is about sharing intelligence, effort, and leadership. This doesn’t mean that every decision or action must be taken collectively; rather, it means we believe that every member of a group has valuable input which can be engaged in different ways in different contexts. We believe that groups are more alive and make better decisions when they use flexible, collaborative systems which draw from the intelligence of the whole.
The Mother Tree
We use the metaphor of the “Mother Tree” to describe how our programs work. A Mother Tree is a large, often very ancient tree which acts as a central hub in a vast underground forest network. Through their extensive root systems, Mother Trees supply the other trees around them with extra nutrients when they are sick, send messages about environmental changes or threats, and enculturate seedlings with the fungal cultures they will need to thrive in their particular soil.
Similarly, The Culture Garden is a hub and distribution point for cultural nutrients. We make information available on many levels at once, so that what arises in the held space of our programs can be shaped and applied by the groups we work with in a multitude of ways.