How does human connection evolve? How does a community develop? Which shared stories, experiences and actions lead us to becoming a community? What does it mean for an individual to be a part of a community? And what is the role of location in community building? For the Wellbeing Project++Wellbeing ProjectThe Wellbeing Project is co-created with Ashoka, Impact Hub, Porticus, Esalen, Skoll Foundation and Synergos and focuses on a culture of inner wellbeing for changemakers globally., Kennisland develops a listening exercise to unravel the stories of community in Bilbao, and from there helps to translate local insights into global community practices.
Building a community around wellbeing
The Wellbeing Project aims to catalyse a culture of inner wellbeing for changemakers. Passion and devotion keeps many social changemakers going in the face of complicated challenges. They can, however, also turn into a double edged sword. Changemakers can become so devoted they forget to look after themselves, emphasise ‘being on top of the game’ and disregard personal wellbeing, or prioritise financial or organisational development over personal and organisational wellbeing. This dynamic can lead to depression, burnout, anger, social isolation and/or physical illness. But how can one work on today’s greatest challenges whilst personally being in a place of scarcity? Co-created with Ashoka, Impact Hub, Porticus, Esalen Institute, Skoll Foundation and Synergos, the Wellbeing Project cultivates a social change culture that is more human centered and at the same time unlocks the kind of extraordinary collaboration and innovation we need to address our great social and environmental challenges.The Wellbeing Project cultivates a social change culture that is more human centered and at the same time unlocks the kind of extraordinary collaboration and innovation we need to address our great social and environmental challenges. They do so through working on Inner Development Programmes for individual leaders in social change, Organisational Exploratory Programmes, research and the development of an enabling and awareness-raising community.
++StorytellingKL has used storytelling and action research methods for social challenges in projects on community arts, growing old, vulnerable youths and a variety of other topics. is a crucial part of the culture shift and community around wellbeing that the Wellbeing Project is aiming to catalyse. To support this process, Kennisland will develop a listening exercise focused on stories around community in Bilbao. From October 2019 until May 2020, Kennisland will work together with the Wellbeing Project, Mondragon University++Mondragon UniversityMondragon University is part of the Basque Mondragon Cooperative Corporation, the world’s largest cooperative. Mondragon combines the goals of international business with the use of democratic methods in its organisation. It currently employs over 80,000 people in more than 250 organisations, like the university, a bank and supermarkets. Read more about Mondragon here. and other local partners on collecting the stories of Bilbao citizens. At different moments during the process, we will collectively analyse those stories with citizens and local professionals. At the end of the process, we will translate the collective insights about wellbeing and local community into both global community practices for the Wellbeing Project, and support for the shift to a City of Values in Bilbao.
Bilbao, City of Values
After the 1983 flooding of Bilbao, a historically industrial city in the Basque Autonomous Community (Northern Spain), the City Council of Bilbao chose to redevelop the city landscape together with its inhabitants. Bilbao became not only an industrially successful city, but also turned into a magnet for tourists. The transformation supposedly evoked mixed feelings amongst the citizens of Bilbao. Will it lose the identity of the port city that it held for centuries, now that people crowd around the river in Michelin-star restaurants instead of shipyards? Will Bilbao lose the identity of the port city that it held for centuries, now that people crowd around the river in Michelin-star restaurants instead of shipyards?
To improve the quality of life and wellbeing for its citizens and the future development of the city, the city council of Bilbao has set up an ambitious initiative called the ‘Charter of Values’. Together with over 1,400 residents, the city created a set of individual and collective values and accompanying actions, that will be set in motion by the city council, other agents and a collaborative effort between citizens, institutions, companies and entities.
A listening exercise informing future actions
Kennisland’s listening exercise will aim to understand the issues beneath the surface of the city of Bilbao through listening to the stories of its citizens.Kennisland’s listening exercise will aim to understand the issues beneath the surface of the city of Bilbao through listening to the stories of its citizens. What are their longings, dreams, known and unknown histories? How do they relate to each other? How do their inner stories animate the outer life and reality of the city?
Through bringing together the stories of citizens on city life and inner wellbeing, and organising moments for collective reflection, our aim is to fuel meaningful actions from the citizens, organisations and city council of Bilbao in their shift towards becoming a City of Values. For global changemakers, this listening exercise will be a building block in the community building process leading up to the 2021 Wellbeing Festival, where changemakers will use the insights from the stories to form global connections and community(ies) around wellbeing.