Sense-making in a post-truth world

10:00 - 17:00
Oct 7th 2022

Join us to explore the practice of truth-seeking in a culture whose information landscape is awash with distortion. This is for you if you are a facilitator, peace maker, or community organiser who is seeking to navigate cultural conflicts in the spaces you host. Also for anyone whose inner life orients them to long for the truth. (in-person event)

For more information contact us.
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Join us for a participatory day where we’ll dive into thorny questions about truth and misinformation, what drives division, and what practical tools we can use to regenerate sense-making for the sake of inner life and social repair.


Misinformation, conflict and inner life:

Many traditions name the spiritual path as a journey to discover Truth. For many people who don’t identify as spiritual, there’s a powerful impulse towards truth that can be expressed in different ways – even as a principled commitment to agnosticism.

Meanwhile, many of the conflicts that are super-charging polarisation in our societies today are underpinned by fundamentally opposing truth-claims about the nature of our world and the problems that we face. Not only that, such conflicts can be driven by very different concepts about how people should decide on what’s true or false. In other words, even as we’re disagreeing with one another, we’re also disagreeing about how to resolve disagreements.

Our approach in this workshop:

This workshop is a chance to step back and take a look at the broader landscape in which competing truth claims are arising, and ask, not so much, what’s true and what isn’t, but rather, how do we navigate this terrain? What does it look like to safeguard inner life in the midst of all of this? How might we conduct ourselves differently if we understood more clearly the nature of the toxic misinformation soup we are all swimming in? What are the underlying factors, baked into social media, news media that are driving all of this? And what can we gain by meeting this crisis of meaning at a deeper level, as a call for inner and outer renewal?

This will be a participatory session with plenty of opportunities to engage in facilitated exercises, breakouts and whole-group discussions.

What this day will include:

  • A presentation giving an overview and background to distortions in our information landscape, why they matter and what we can do about them
  • A series of facilitated exercises and breakouts for you to take the enquiry deeper
  • some ideas for how to work with groups that have polarising dynamics at play
  • Access to the shared intelligence of the group itself, and a chance to meet others who are engaging with these questions
  • Ideas about the disciplines, values and qualities that are useful at this time
  • Reflections on the deeper sources of the breakdown in our ability to hold to shared meanings

This event is for you if:

  • you are interested in the question of how to protect inner life in an age of outer distortions
  • you are looking for inspiration and ideas for how to navigate cultural conflicts
    You want to learn more about distortions in our information landscape
  • You are interested in how the lens of peacemaking can be brought to the frontline of sense-making in an increasingly angry and fractured public space
  • You want to find ways of transcending echo-chambers in your work or your community
  • You are tired of public conversations that seem to be dominated by perspectives that are binary and over-simplified, and are curious to dive into ambiguity, nuance, and complexity

This is a new strand of work we are developing at St Ethelburga’s. This event is a part of our own ongoing exploration of these themes, and will take an experimental, emergent approach.

Please note: we have some bursary places available for this event, please get in touch if you are interested in one of these, or if you have any other questions do email clare@stethelburgas.org.

About the facilitators:

Clare Martin is Co-Director of St Ethelburga’s. Previously Development Director, Clare created and led on the Radical Resilience programme and went on to be the strategic lead on our viewpoint diversity work, before stepping up to co-lead the centre alongside Tarot Couzyn. She brings more than 20 years’ experience facilitating groups for the sake of inner enquiry and outer change, and is interested in how contemplative practices can play a role in cultural repair. She has has worked on numerous interfaith projects, most notably for Nisa Nashim, the Jewish Muslim Women’s Network. Prior to this, Clare worked as a communications consultant in the corporate and charitable sector. Currently she runs a community garden on her Hackney housing estate, where she lives with her husband and 9-year old daughter.

You can read her thoughts on the role of visionary imagination in resilience building here, and here is a short piece about contemplation as an antidote to conflict.

Tarot Couzyn is Co-Director of St Ethelburga’s. Previously COO, she played a key role in developing our deep adaptation, sacred activist, and refugee camp volunteering programmes.   She is currently developing an exciting new strand bringing communities together to create nature corridors across large tracts of farmland.  At this time of ecological unravelling, she is interested in the meeting point of large-scale collective action with individual values and transformation. She loves working with diverse groups, bringing people together in shared passion and service.

Previously Tarot used collaborative art-making as a tool for change in the fields of LGBT+ rights and migration, leading projects in Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Ireland. She also was involved in establishing, and still maintains close ties with the Bushman Heritage Museum, working with indigenous artists in South Africa.  She loves night walks, sleeping outdoors, spending time on her boat on the Kennet and Avon Canal, and walking in Epping Forest near where she lives. She is passionate about living a closer relationship with the Earth. She thrives in challenging environments, and learned many of her practical skills while building her own house!

Mishal Baig is Communications and Research Coordinator at St Ethelburga’s. She helps with designing social media content, and language and imagery for other communications put out by the Centre. She is interested in Spiritual Ecology research and allows that to influence the creative approach toward her work. Mishal is also a student of Journalism at the University of Westminster.


Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

Photo by SIMON LEE on Unsplash