About Eileen Conn
a biog is on page one of this discussion paper:
- 1998, May, Southwark Civic Awards: Joint Citizen of the Year.
- 2008, March, Southwark Star Awards: Active Citizen of the Year.
- 2008, March, Southwark Star Awards: Keib Thomas award for community activism.
- 2008, May, Southwark Civic Awards: Woman of the Year.
- 2009, New Year Honours: MBE for services to the community.
Community Engagement in the Social Eco-Systems Dance
This page shows some links to writings and videos on how Eileen Conn's social eco-systems dance model illuminates some aspects of the relationships between citizens and authorities and other institutions. This is a temporary collection to make them more easily accessible.
The paper sets out the social eco-system dance model. It is published on the TSRC (Third Sector Research Centre) website: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/tsrc/research/below-the-radar/community-engagement-and-the-social-ecosystem-dance.aspx The paper outlines the idea that the human world of authority and organisations is in perpetual interaction with the world of human life in community. The two are distinct and different relational systems within a shared social eco-system. Their organisational dynamics are dissimilar; they dance to very different tunes. This is largely unrecognised and invisible. The theory and model of 'the Social Eco-System Dance' offers a new lens to understand this, and some of the solutions to the negative effects it has. For further explanations of the model and how the dynamics it encapsulates, play out in practise, visit:
- Short Youtube interview - http://www.socialreporters.net/?p=455
- Short blog comment on the model - http://goo.gl/sVUWIw OR <https://sustainingcommunity.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/vertical-and-horizontal-community-engagement>
- The published paper - http://goo.gl/kpbBro OR http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/generic/tsrc/research/below-the-radar/community-engagement-and-the-social-ecosystem-dance.aspx
Other relevant references
A new conception of life essential to understanding sustainability has emerged in the last 30 years since the 1980s. Here are some introductory explanations.
- introduction to the theory of Living Systems by Fritjof Capra - 10 mins youtube
- The Systems View of Life by Fritjof Capra - 40 mins youtube
References to the two systems model
- 2011. “Eileen Conn’s talk presented a novel model which clearly illustrated the complex dynamics of community engagement between Government and ‘The People’ “. – from Page 25 in the book ‘Complexity Demystified: A Guide for Practitioners’ by Patrick Beautement & Christine Broenner
- 2013. “Things are changing all the time” – “If you have a macro intervention change will happen, but it’s not necessarily the change you’re expecting. One thing that we’re missing in our way of thinking is that the systems we’re trying to affect are living, organic, dynamic systems, which are unpredictable, non-linear and unable to be manipulated perfectly. We run everything like a machine, which is why it’s not effective and why it has perverse results. We’re trying to devise all these policies and interventions without understanding the distinction between the systems.” An interview with Eileen Conn in the book ‘Codesigning Space: Tilt’ by Dermot Egan and Oliver Marlow Page 35, pages 36, 37, page 38.
- 2011 Submission pp 270 to 273 written evidence to the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee inquiry into the Big Society policy.
- 2012 Submission to the London Assembly Inquiry into neighbourhood planning - report: 'Beyond consultation The role of neighbourhood plans in supporting local involvement in planning'
- 2017 Submission to the Commission on the future of the 2011 Localism Act - report.
- 2019 Written statements to the EiP (Examination in Public) of the London Plan which took place January to May 2019 at City Hall by Tower Bridge:
- on the role and nature of the community in Planning, in the examination of Chapter 1 on ‘Good Growth’, session on 16th January at 2pm.
- on the need for close community involvement from the earliest stages in regeneration planning, This gives the case story of Central Rye Lane as an example of what is wrong with current planning process and how it should be, for the examination of Chapter 2 on Strategic and local regeneration, session on 23rd January at 2pm.
- on the role of local community organisations and processes in the living nature of 'social infrastructure', without which the Plan will not be able to 'create a healthy city and building strong and inclusive communities' as it aims to do. This will be the subject of the examination of Chapter 5 on Social Infrastructure, in the session on Friday 3rd May 2019 at 9.30am - 1pm.
Previous EC publications
- October 1991 The Ecological Organisation: a New Perspective in Management Education and Development (AMED)
- 1995 Visions of Creation by Eileen Conn (Editor), James Stewart (Editor), Matthew Fox (Foreword)
- 2011 EC explanation of why communities are like energy waves. 4 mins.
- 2012 EC explanation of applying the model to community organising & digital social media. 4 mins.
- 2015 EC at Just Space Conference on The London Plan and Building other ways of thinking about London's economy. 13 mins.
Museum of Walking - January 2018 “Amazing walk in spite of the weather” - So wrote Rachel Gomme, live art performer, ecological walking artist and Peckham resident to boot, but her comments were echoed by the 25 diehards who joined Museum Co-creator Paul Wood for an Exploration of the Urban Forest in Peckham last Sunday. Oh did it rain and never stopped. This didn’t deter the group, and although I was a tad confused as Paul deviated off our carefully planned route, we managed a circular walk full of intriguing trees, local myths, and a lovely meeting with a local hero. Eileen Conn has been a community activist for more than 40 years. Indeed it is the 40th anniversary since she won over Southwark council to plant an avenue of birch trees in Nutbrook Road – selected by Paul as one London’s best street tree avenues. It was terrific to meet her and hear her talk with such enthusiasm about Peckham and how she has galvanised the community and the authorities to invest in civic buildings and public space.
Time Out January 2018 - 9 best London street trees Peckham birches: Peckham is home to some fine birch tree avenues, which can look at their glistening best in winter when they show off their white bark. The birch species with the whitest bark of all is the Himalayan birch – now the most frequently planted in London too, even more so than the familiar silver birch. Where to find them: Nutbrook Street, SE15 January 2018.
The nature of community
Underlying the work of Peckham Vision is the understanding that the strength of a community lies in the connections between people who live, work and run businesses there. Peckham Vision is dedicated to nurturing those connections, and exploring ways to link into the energy and enthusiasm of our neighbourhood. This work is influenced by the two systems approach developed by Eileen Conn, long time resident of Peckham, co-ordinator and founder of Peckham Vision and associate research fellow of the TSRC (Third Sector Research Centre). Further information about the two systems ‘social eco-systems dance’ model can be found here.
about Eileen Conn's work and the work of Peckham Vision:
- July 2019 Defending her area against the soulless and the expensive - Peckham Vision's Eileen Conn is a hero of localism
- February 2019 front cover story interview with Eileen Conn in local paper Peckham Peculiar pp10-11
- September 2018 My London Story article in 'Time Out'
- August 2018 Eileen Conn's contribution to South London Gallery’s archive project Peckham places