Author Archive

  • Unbinding continued

    Unbinding continued

    February 13th, 2011 | Expressive Change | Warren Nilsson | 3 Comments

    Tana’s recent post on “unbinding” reminded me of some reflections I had made in a paper I wrote a few years ago. In a section that was actually called “The Unbinding,” I was thinking about how difficult it can be to recognize exactly what it is that binds us. For someone like Tana (disciplined, orderly, […]

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  • A simple practice that caught our attention

    A simple practice that caught our attention

    December 10th, 2010 | Expressive Change | Warren Nilsson | 9 Comments

    We are in Cape Town for a few weeks and just got back from a meeting with Nathan Heller at The Hub, a co-working space for social innovators. Although The Hub Cape Town only recently opened its doors, the model has been around for a while and there are over two dozen Hubs worldwide in […]

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  • Social identity and the paradox of oneness

    Social identity and the paradox of oneness

    October 31st, 2010 | Expressive Change | Warren Nilsson | 1 Comment

    In my last post, I talked about the enlivening effect of seeing every person as belonging to our social purpose organizations. I mentioned Social Identity Theory, which explains how difficult holding such a universal intention can be. Social Identity Theory offers a particularly dispiriting explanation of how crudely we construct our identities through the groups […]

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  • Oneness


    October 22nd, 2010 | Expressive Change | Warren Nilsson | 8 Comments

    I’m seeing it again. The tilt toward everything. Most people say it is impossible. That community is always closed. That we only know where we belong when we know whom and what we have barred. In a review of several books on community participation, Malcolm Payne argues that community identity is necessarily formed through a […]

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  • Fierce intentions, humble means

    Fierce intentions, humble means

    August 21st, 2010 | Expressive Change | Warren Nilsson | 1 Comment

    Cameron’s recent post made me think of my friend Jonathan Glencross. That’s his picture on the left. Jonathan is a student at McGill who is disarmingly gifted at sparking visible, large-scale change. Last year he was the catalyst for the creation of a  $2.5 million sustainability project fund, financed and governed by students and administrators […]

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  • In memory of Penny

    In memory of Penny

    August 5th, 2010 | Expressive Change | Warren Nilsson | 4 Comments

    Last Saturday, Tana and I went to the funeral of Penny Parkes. We had gotten to know Penny through our work with Santropol Roulant. She was a client, volunteer, and board member there and reflected the spirit of the place in a beautiful and charming way all her own. Penny struggled with a degenerative disease, […]

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  • A conversation with Turi

    A conversation with Turi

    July 20th, 2010 | Expressive Change | Warren Nilsson | No Comments

    The following is an edited transcript of a conversation that Tana and I had with my sister Turi Nilsson. She is the Director of Instruction and co-founder of Southwest Baltimore Charter School, a place of great inspiration and learning for us. We’ve written about it in previous posts. RENNIE: What would you say are the […]

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  • The promise of the mundane

    The promise of the mundane

    June 13th, 2010 | Expressive Change | Warren Nilsson | 2 Comments

    When I first began doing community development work, I was attracted to the ideas and experiences that were the most creative and radical in my eyes.  I dreamed of worker cooperatives and local currencies. I dreamed of green buildings and urban agriculture. I dreamed of free schools. I dreamed of boundary-shattering dialogues on poverty and […]

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  • Unknowing


    May 30th, 2010 | Expressive Change | Warren Nilsson | 1 Comment

    The theme of vulnerability that Tana introduced a few posts ago is an important one for me. Like Tana, I have noticed that one of the strongest threads running through expressive organizations I have spent time with is their willingness to face up to and explore their vulnerability. At a personal level, people share their […]

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  • Inverting your practice

    Inverting your practice

    May 9th, 2010 | Expressive Change | Warren Nilsson | No Comments

    One doorway into expressive change seems to be to turn your practice on yourself. What are your outwardly-aimed tools and approaches – the things you use to help your clients or further your mission? What would happen if you inverted these and used them to help your organization? Tana worked with a counseling organization in […]

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