Adaptive Space is a program for the support and development of people engaged in the difficult work of social change. If your work at its highest level contributes to greater equity and sustainability, we hope you find a home here.
Our focus challenge for 2020-21 is this:
How can we nurture the Pittsburgh ecosystem to support children thriving?
“…in order to create a world that works for more people, for more life, we have to collaborate on the process of dreaming and visioning and implementing that world. …The more people who co-create the future, the more people whose concerns will be addressed from the foundational level in this world.”
adrienne maree brown
A community of practice free to join, rooted in equity, mindfulness, and the work of shifting systemic patterns. We'll enjoy monthly events, activities, and supportive inquiry and conversation. This larger Adaptive Space network will be hosted under the auspice of Pitt u.lab hub.
Spring 2021 offerings will be shaped by the needs and experience of our Fall participants. We have outlined a program of...
A profound new learning group conducted as a “space of mutual development,” emphasizing time to bring possibilities into practice through activities and conversation with people doing similar work and facing similar challenges. See the learning group site for details.
A course on mindfulness Awaken Pittsburgh's popular and powerful Mindful Connections course, guided by Stephanie Romero, adapted and conducted especially for Adaptive Space participants
Support for your experiments and prototypes for people whose experience in the Fall sparked ideas they want to explore and develop in their own organization or community, a series of labs and access to funding.
January 2021: A remarkable experience in community for learning and strategic conversation: support, retreat and grappling with difficult questions and challenges together.
The people who gather for this course will have something in common: their work involves the complexity of relationships with and among community, difficult engagement with change-resistant social patterns, and the personal challenge of long-horizon intentions combined with often-invisible impact.
How can we better think about the impact of our programs and the relationship between our work and the communities we serve? When the change we seek — social justice, life-sustaining environmental policy, communities that engender belonging for all, the conditions of thriving for our children and young people — when those changes are so deeply human and relational, and so fundamentally complex and uncertain, what are our strategies? How do we lead? How do we work?
An explicit goal of this course is to give us all an experience of creating a place of belonging and support — a culture with care and reciprocity at the center, which is different from the culture of dominance and performance many of us may come from. This gives us a base from which we can explore new and sometimes uncomfortable ideas and practices. We aim for a group culture that supports each person in finding their balance of rest and retreat or challenge and stretch. We’ll set aside two full sessions for this work of community co-creation (an activity we hope may inspire similar efforts in your own context of work).
We'll provide the building blocks, and invite you to configure your participation to suit your schedule.
- A curated “mix tape” of rich material to view and listen to on your own schedule, including a pre-recorded short (15–20 minute) lecture by the course guides.
- A live session in which we work with the week’s key ideas and their application, through conversation and experiential learning (we’ll bring in reflection, we’ll bring in the body, intuition, and soul).
- A weekly practice or challenge, optional but strongly encouraged, that invites you to apply the week’s ideas to your own life and work.
You can find information on the topics and themes, schedule, the tiered cost structure and equity scholarships, learn about the hosts and the wonderful lineup of guest experts, storytellers and conversation hosts, apply to participate and reach out with your questions.
The application process helps us convene well, and make sure that the experience will be valuable to everyone who commits their money and time. Fill out the form, and we'll get back to you right away!
In its highest intention, Adaptive Space is for children and youth. We are gathering people who work in many parts of the ecosystem that yields the conditions in which children thrive, or do not.
Adaptive Space is for any professional who has the intention and aspiration to contribute to the ecosystem for children thriving in Pittsburgh. This may include healthcare professionals, educators, researchers, social workers, community organizers, government employees, and more. We seek diverse representation from different part of the ecosystem.
While there is no prerequisite or educational requirement to join, please know that the course and the community explicitly embrace antiracist frames and seek participants’ partnership in holding the conditions for open, honest dialogue. We invite you into active participation in learning rather than passive receiving of information. We don’t promise comfort, but we do promise our care.
It is our hope and belief that Adaptive Space will provide a setting for leaders to find rest and support, for relationships to form and strengthen, for collaborations to begin, and for useful approaches to begin their journey into fruitful application.
For more details and answers to frequently-asked questions, please see our FAQ article on medium.com
"[The] future is not just about firefighting and tinkering with the surface of structural change. It’s not just about replacing one mindset that no longer serves us with another. It’s a future that requires us to tap into a deeper level of our humanity, of who we really are and who we want to be as a society. ...This inner shift, from fighting the old to sensing and presencing an emerging future possibility, is at the core of all deep leadership work today."
We value process – how we work together is where we practice embodying the world we work towards.
We value complexity and emergence – we practice not knowing, not solving, being with what is and working with what emerges.
We value the innate wisdom and possibility in each person – we practice honoring each person’s history, agency, strength, gifts and stand in service of who they are becoming.
We value honesty and discomfort – we practice making space robust enough so that things like oppression, trauma and dissent can surface and be worked with.
We work towards a world where everyone can succeed – we practice creating equity at every choice point and co-create outcomes with those affected by choices.
We value self-awareness and accountability – we practice mindfulness, seeing where we enact harmful patterns and shift it in ourselves as we work to shift it in the world.
We value liberation – we practice seeing and naming oppression of people and exploitation of the earth and work to shift these patterns.
We value diversity and unity – We see both our common humanity and individual experience, and make space for both.