Not long ago, with a skill or profession with established employers, we could develop our careers and take on personal and financial responsibilities. We seem to be heading to a time where a combination of corporate power and intelligent technologies places us all in a gig economy with few personal or professional certainties. We are in liminal space - a time of uncertainty when what we have been used to is dissolving, but what is emerging is not yet clear.

Whilst this level of uncertainty may be new to us, it is not new. Liminal spaces have always existed whenever our societies have moved between eras - from agricultural to industrial, industrial to technology, imperial to independence. In these times, artisans have been important.

Artisans work for themselves. They are committed to a craft that enables them to express themselves and be recognised through the quality and originality of their work. They are often at the leading edge of bringing what is emerging into being. They played key roles during the Enlightenment, the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions, and the development of Silicon Valley.

The question is, what do they look like today as we wrestle with challenges ranging from capitalism to climate change, from social networks to blockchain and our mental and physical health? Our relationships with work and society are changing and offering us all manner of opportunities that are very different from what we have been brought up to expect. There are no experts and no “best practice”. it is a path we can only make by walking.

This is the space we are exploring.

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Reflections

New Artisans came into being from conversations on my Reflections Blog. it might interest you,.

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Richard Merrick
Weaving an ecology of conversations