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The top ten things inspiring the Catalyst team over the summer

We’re feeling the seasonal shift from Autumn to Winter. After an amazing year of deep reflection and strategic review with our Steering Group, Producers are now engaging our initiative lead delivery partners and funders with Catalyst’s refreshed vision and purpose. We’re harvesting and integrating their insights, challenges and builds to weave into a living strategy for Catalyst’s next phase. 

Across the network, partners are noticing the need to mark and celebrate what’s come before - the programmes and services, learnings, impact, and the personal and inter-personal journey we’ve all been on in experimenting with more collective forms of work and governance. At the same time, there is a quietly rewarding energy to be found in consolidating, composting and together clearing space for new things to emerge. 

Transitions require tending to endings, nurturing seedlings and above all, making space for our humanity to be explored and expressed as we feel into change and evolving relationships. Sometimes with the pace and noise of the world ramping up around us, we have to really intentionally protect that space.

Here are 10 things keeping us well-nourished this month:

  1. Jo loves the newsletter from Mansi Gupta and her org, Unconform. A recent issue themed on AI included several great insights like this article on building a feminist toolkit to question AI systems.

  2. I recently discovered Janelle Monáe’s 2018 sci-fi film, Dirty Computer, having loved their songs since my co-organiser Dama first played them as intro/mingling music for our London Tech for Good Meetup years ago. I adore the aesthetic of this film, and its exploration of human self-expression, identity, freedom and joy in an increasingly machine-driven world feels especially relevant given current AI debates.

  3. The Intersection of Things is a fab podcast recommendation we picked up at a recent Data Collective webinar on AI. It’s a look at how tech impacts our lives, from an intersectional feminist perspective.

  4. NCVO published their latest sector Civil Society Almanac - a great source of data on the sector and how it’s changing.

  5. Data for Action shared an interesting update on their work on timely, collaborative insight-gathering with Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Their priorities for testing data-sharing infrastructure include data standards, governance, human infrastructure and a question-centric approach.

  6. Megan is a big fan of Kate Weiler and Julia Slay, who’ve shared their learnings from 3 years of running a peer learning network for 130+ youth organisations - including, helpfully, what didn’t work and why.

  7. This webinar from Black Thrive on embedding lived experience in community grantmaking is well worth a watch for folks looking to shift power to communities and tackle inequity head-on. As is their report on How to fund systems change.

  8. Another experiment in funding systems change, this story-led review of the Cornerstone Fund collaboration of London funders is an accessible insight into the role infrastructure organisations can play in helping centre community needs.

  9. The scale and interconnection of systemic challenges can be hard to wrap your head around, but design can help cut through complexity. I really love this interactive flowchart that creatively visualises different climate emergency narratives.

  10. I’ve been reading Kae Tempest’s beautiful book, On Connection. One reviewer’s description that it is ‘soul work, deeply felt and beautifully wrought… medicine for these wounded times’ feels spot on.

If you have a resource of any kind that you think we should have on our radar, please share it with us! We would love for the wider community to influence our work and provide creative input. 

Drop us a line at hello@thecatalyst.org.uk Or tweet us @wethecatalysts.

Photo by Craig Bradford on Unsplash

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