Freedom, Equality, Altruism

2014 Credere Grant Recipients

Tom Atlee: 2014 Empathic Individualism Award Recipient 

Tom Atlee, Director of the Co-Intelligence Institute

Tom Atlee, Director of the Co-Intelligence Institute

Our first annual Empathic Individualism Award recipient is Tom Atlee, Director of the Co-Intelligence Institute in Eugene, Oregon. This award is given to individuals who make an outstanding contribution to the understanding and application of empathy in social life with an emphasis of balancing individuality and active caring for others.

Tom Atlee is co-director and research director of the Co-Intelligence Institute, and the author of three books – The Tao of Democracy, Empowering Public Wisdom, and Reflections on Evolutionary Activism – as well as many articles in journals. His popular website and his blog include hundreds of his essays and references on dozens of subjects, among them the nature of empathy; the power of truly speaking, listening, and taking all our needs into account; and the necessity for our compassion to be guided by long-term systemic understandings of what generates suffering, sustainability, and authentic quality of life.

Tom Atlee's approach to building an empathy-based politics.

Tom Atlee’s approach to building an empathy-based politics.

His theory of “co-intelligence” explores intelligence that arises from the wholeness of life.  It has collaborative and collective dimensions, and the kind of healthy interconnectedness we find in wholesome forms of politics, governance and economics. Co-intelligence theory also highlights the many facets of intelligence (like head and heart), wisdom, and the higher forms of intelligence (natural and sacred) that move through and beyond us.  Due to his concerns over the inability of our social systems to effectively address emerging crisis and his sense of our current evolutionary potential, Atlee has for the last 12 years focused on democratic and economic institutions capable of generating wise public policies and collective behaviors.

Kathleen Bowen: Meeting Yourself In The World—Looking At Your Life Story through Artistic Expression To Discover Empathy

Kathleen received a Credere grant to support her initiative to offer two free workshops at the Turners Falls Women’s Resource Center in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, titled “Meeting Yourself in the World” for women who have experienced abuse and trauma.​

A "Recognizing Connections" postcard and clay modeling exercise.

A “Recognizing Connections” postcard and clay modeling exercise.

Kathleen Bowen (left) with Christine Diani, Turners Falls Women's Resource Center Program Coordinator

Kathleen Bowen (left) with Christine Diani, Turners Falls Women’s Resource Center Program Coordinator

There were eight participants in each course. The March series consisted of four, two-hour sessions and the May series consisted of two, four-hour sessions. The success of the workshops has led to an invitation to host a similar but longer series next ​year.

In Kathleen’s words: “Though human beings all have some capacity for empathy, empathy​ needs to explored, nurtured and practiced for it to flourish. Experiences of ​abuse and trauma create low self-esteem: a feeling of being undervalued and undeserving. By creating an environment of safety and trust and inviting women to share their stories through pastel drawings, clay modeling and writing, everyone was encouraged to listen and be listened to with empathy. Throughout the sessions, participants experienced a deeper sense self-worth and the ability to perceive others with compassion. In both workshops this led to a powerful sense of self and community.”

​Kathleen Bowen graduated in 2009 from the Certificate Program at The Center for Biography and Social Art, interned there for three years and is now a faculty member for the sixth Biography and Social Art cycle. Since 2009, she has created successful biography sessions for conferences, faculty meetings, and retreats as a self-development vehicle, incorporating artistic exercises with biography work to help people strengthen connections to themselves, and to others.

Michael Howard: Developing Empathic Individualism through Art

Michael Howard: sculptor, painter, and social artist

Michael Howard: sculptor, painter, and social artist

A Credere grant was awarded to Michael Howard to support his artistic research
and exploration of empathic individualism.

The project will include the three aspects:

  1. The creation of triptych sculptural relief sequence making visible in form the gestural qualities of Antipathy/ Empathy/ Sympathy and associated drawings related to research process of creating the triptych.
  2. Documenting how artistically presented interplay of colored lights and music and fosters empathy in both the performer and the audience.
  3. Writing an essay for publication in which Michael will bring together the various insights and experiences of other researchers with his own insights and experiences that shed light on the nature and development of empathy in general, as well as through engaging in the arts.
A group rice sculpting exercise developed by Michael

A group rice sculpting exercise developed by Michael

Michael began sculpting at the age of fifteen. He studied sculpture at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto and received a BFA from Eastern Michigan University, and a MA in Fine Arts from Columbia Pacific University in California. Although mostly known as a sculptor, he also paints and draws. His recent creative efforts have led him to explore the possibility of creating visual speech and visual music. He has also been developing the medium of rice drawing as a way to school the capacities for social sculpture. In addition to writing articles and essays, he edited and introduced a collection of lectures on art by Rudolf Steiner entitled, Art as Spiritual Activity: Rudolf Steiner’s Contribution to the Visual Arts, as well as a book on the role of art in education titled Educating the Will.

He is currently working on another book with the working title, In Metamorphosis: Art and Our Evolving Humanity, in which empathy will be a significant theme.

Faith Gilbert: Collaboration for Mutual Aid: Fostering Cooperation Among Farmers in the Hudson Valley

Faith's new handbook on cooperative farming provided background for this project.

Faith’s new handbook on cooperative farming provided background for this project.

Faith Gilbert: farmer and researcher

Faith Gilbert: farmer and researcher

Faith received a Credere grant to host and facilitate a gathering of young and experienced farmers in Columbia and Dutchess Counties in the Hudson Valley of New York. The goals of the gathering were to provide a listening and sharing forum for multigenerational farmers to learn about each other’s individual and mutual challenges, to explore shared goals for the local farm communities, and to explore collaborative solutions.

A facilitated 3.5-hour forum took place on February 25th. The event was open any member of the farm community curious about working with other farmers to ease challenges, improve financial viability, access resources, or enhance quality of life. The Hudson Valley Young Farmers Coalition and the Farmer’s Research Circle co-sponsored and helped promote the event. The event had 65 participants from both new and established farms in Columbia and Dutchess counties. Interest in attending exceeded what could be functionally supported, with about 80 individuals seeking to attend. This is a confirmation that gatherings focusing on mutual aid are important to the new generation of farmers.

The event consisted of a series of small discussion groups focusing on needs and interests determined prior to the event. Data on perspectives and interests were collected, and top areas of potential mutual collaboration were identified.

A follow up organizing meeting took place with 13 people who attended the previous forum to review its results. Four specific projects were identified along with a carrying group to facilitate further steps and to report back to the local farmer network.

Faith Gilbert is a young farmer, researcher, and organizer located in New York’s Hudson Valley.  She is the author of Cooperative Farming, a handbook on collaborative business models for small and beginning farmers, and co-founder of Letterbox Farm Collective, a cooperative farm business in Hudson, NY.  Faith is also a team member at Northeast Farm Access, a land access & farm affordability organization.

Mark Ross: Circle Training Workshop for an Ontario Farm Community

Mark Ross from Fourfold Farm in Ontario Canada was awarded a Credere grant to support a three-day Circle Training workshop for farmers and consumers to build social capacities and group facilitation skills as a basis for enhancing greater collaboration and innovation economically and culturally amongst farm communities.

Human Knot Circle

Human knot circle

Taking time to record comments

Taking time to record comments

Mark Ross: Biodynamic farmer and editor of Stir

Mark Ross: Biodynamic Farmer and Editor of Stir

The Circle process is rooted in the tradition of Talking Circles that indigenous peoples in North America have used for millennia. It is a structured, spacious form of conversation in which everyone is deemed equal, has voice, and may contribute to the collective wisdom.

The function of Circles is to help build organizations, businesses & communities, nurturing the development of capacities to provide support, generate mutual understanding, strengthen relationships and create spaces for healing and transformation through shared stories and experiences.

The workshop, facilitated by Jennifer Ball, took place in January 2014 with 16 people participating.

Mark Ross is a biodynamic farmer in Ontario, Canada, and the editor of the farm journal, Stir.

Emmanuel Vukovitch and Sea-Ann Vasilas: Performance Collaboration of Mozart’s Adagio and Fugue in C minor K. 546 and the Bach Sonata no 2 for Solo Violin, Andante

Emmanuel Vukovich

Emmanuel Vukovich

This project is a performance collaboration of members from:

The Parcival Project: An international chamber music collective founded in 2011 in Montreal.

A Far Cry: A self-conducted classical music orchestra based in Boston.

Eurythmy Spring Valley Ensemble: A performing arts group that strives to make visible the invisible aspects of music and speech through human gesture and movement located in Spring Valley, New York.

Eurythmy Spring Valley Ensemble

Eurythmy Spring Valley Ensemble

A Far Cry

A Far Cry

The Parcival Project

The Parcival Project

A Credere grant was provided to this initiative involving young innovative artists to support the collaboration performance of Mozart’s Adagio and Fuge in C minor K. 546 and the Bach Sonata no 2 for Solo Violin, Andante. Each of the participating groups work from a highly empathic approach to performing, both between the performers but also between the performers and the audience. This grant will help with the practical arrangements and the development of behind-the-scenes organization and administration that is consistent with the collaborative on-stage strivings of the performing artists.

Performances are scheduled for 2015 beginning in eastern United States and Canada.

Emmanuel Vukovich has played for audiences around the globe with artists such as Ida Haendel, Anton Kuerti, and Matt Haimowitz. He is the recipient of McGill University’s first Schulich Golden Violin Award, The Canada Council for the Arts Orford String Quartet Scholarship, and winner of the Fischoff International Chamber Music Competition as first violinist of the Lloyd Carr­‐Harris String Quartet. Having begun the violin with Danuta Ciring in Calgary, and furthered his studies with Dorothy Delay and Masao Kawasaki at the Juilliard School in New York City, he completed his training with Denise Lupien and André Roy at McGill University in Montreal where he now teaches violin and chamber music. In 2011, Emmanuel founded an international chamber music collective.

American eurythmist Sea-Anna Vasilas is a member of the Eurythmy Spring Valley Performing Ensemble in Chestnut Ridge, New York, where she also serves on the faculty of the School of Eurythmy and carries the responsibility of Tour Coordinator for the Ensemble. Through her experiences with myriad movement art forms, meditative paths, education, and farming, Sea-Anna found her way to eurythmy and has made it her life’s passion and work.

Nathaniel Williams and Free Columbia: Puppet Theater Performance of the Peacemaker’s Journey: The Story of a Young Man Who United the First Peoples of the New York Area Under One Great Law of Peace

Nathaniel Williams

Nathaniel Williams

Nathaniel Williams and Free Columbia Art Course received a Credere grant to support the creation and 14-performance tour of the Peacemaker’s Journey that occurred over 600 years ago. The performances recreated scenes of the Peacemaker as he travelled along the Mohawk Valley convincing the five indigenous nations—Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca— to give up their warring ways and accept the principles of the Great Law of Peace (the Tuscarora nation joined later). The Great Law is the guiding Constitution for the Haudenosanunee (Iroquois) to this day and inspired a number of the founders of the U.S. Constitution. The Great Law promoted the principles of cooperation, democratic forms of governance, and the capacities of empathic speaking and listening in decision-making. Larger than life puppets, recitation, shadow theater, music, singing, and dance were featured in the performances.

The Peacemaker and Ayowotah speak to the wizard Tadadaho, offering him a place of honor in the Longhouse if he will embrace The Great Law of Peace.

The Peacemaker and Ayowotah speak to the wizard Tadadaho, offering him a place of honor in the Longhouse if he will embrace The Great Law of Peace.

The Peacemaker speaks of The Great Law to Jigonsaseh, Ayowotah, a Mohawk chief, and a Seneca chief.

The Peacemaker speaks of The Great Law to Jigonsaseh, Ayowotah, a Mohawk chief, and a Seneca chief.

In addition to open air public performances, The Peacemaker’s Journey was performed at a public school, a home for the elderly, a community for youth with special needs, and a prison.

Nathaniel Williams is from Tennessee.  He studied visual art and worked in marionette-theater in Switzerland. He is active as an artist, performer and teacher and helped found Free Columbia in Columbia County, New York where he currently lives.

Free Columbia offers intensive explorations into art. Painting, puppetry, introductions to the philosophy of aesthetics, art and anthroposophy, social questions in relation to art and economics and many other subjects are explored.  Free Columbia is based on an understanding of the importance of creating independent and accessible educational and artistic opportunities. There are no set tuitions. Suggested donation amounts based on what it costs to run courses are provided.