We enjoy connecting and collaborating with other people working with purpose across a plurality of spaces and take great pleasure and learning from working on both a local and an international basis but over the last year we've found ourselves increasingly drawn to the Greater Manchester eco-system. There is an infectious energy for doing things differently across the city region, that combined with the devolution agenda and our personal connections to people and place feels irresistible! M4 has been one important space for cultivating the sense of potential we, and others, are currently feeling in Greater Manchester.
#OurGM? Can we grow a 'Wholeself City Region'...?
M4 started as a small independent collective of people with shared values around inclusion and citizenship and a wish to facilitate spaces for human growth. This week M4 grew branches! A Community Learning Festival at Manchester Metropolitan University provided a welcome space for us to explore our vision of a 'Whole-self GM' with others.
Our session started with a grounding exercise, providing space for us to all check-in with ourselves and be present. We each then shared something that felt light and something that felt heavy. Common themes included an optimism around people-powered change set against a weight of responsibility to drive and a backdrop of inequality and social injustice.
A ball of green wool then provided a tactile and playful prop to explore and nurture our connection and interdependence, taking it in turn to share personal goals/needs and provide offers of help/reciprocity. We were left with a messy and beautiful green web! This was followed by each of us adding examples of projects, initiatives, spaces we are part of or aware of in Greater Manchester (GM) that we feel are aligned with vision for a whole-self GM. The array of good stuff that came out of a relatively small group was incredible and sparked mutual interest to learn more, to amplify and to support at scale.
Our session ended ended with us each pledging #4things4GM. 1. For self 2. For others 3. For a GM project 4. For GM movement.
What's next? There was energy to stay connected; to meet again; to facilitate a visioning day around #OurGM; to co-design a mapping tool to help signpost and amplify the good stuff in GM; and to help demonstrate social value of all the projects, spaces and initiatives that are going on. And we'd love you to share your #4things4GM. To be continued....