HI! WE ARE
THE SCHOOL FOR THE SOCIAL FUTURE
& Magenta Studios
HI! WE ARE
THE SCHOOL FOR THE SOCIAL FUTURE
& Magenta Studios
Introducing the School for the Social Future
The School for the Social Future is a new project by Magenta Studios.
For more than 20 years, Magenta has helped leaders and teams apply their creative potential to humanity's most intractable problems. Along the way, we discovered that effective change work requires extraordinary personal,
creative, leadership, and teamwork capabilities. We realized that one has to get to know the phenomena of transformation and creation firsthand before one can effectively lead the work of transforming existing systems and co-creating new solutions to today's most pressing challenges.
This is the key to quickly and efficiently helping others get unstuck and be creative when the stakes are high — and this know-how is what the School helps you develop.
That's why we started the school. We stand in the tradition and lineage of many great schools in the past — schools that arose to help lead and steer culture in tumultuous times.
The school is part online, part in-person, part community, and part coaching and mentoring. Its purpose is to train leaders in these crucial capabilities and help everyone committed to massive change MAKE IT REAL.
WE'VE BEEN SUPPORTING LEADERS LIKE YOU SINCE 1996
We worked around the world for many years on all kinds of projects in all kinds of issue areas, from peace to democracy, from climate to energy. This map shows some of our project locations and themes.
If you're wondering, it's a "dymaxion" map, designed to accurately represent the relative sizes of the continents.
The story of our work begins in 1996....
...when we began working with Miha Pogacnik, the Slovenian Ambassador of Culture. We volunteered for his organization IDRIART (the Institute for the Development of Intercultural Relations through the Arts), which continues to bridge cultural divides through art and dialogue. We helped establish Castle Borl, a thriving cultural center between 1995 and 2006 that hosted tens of thousands of leaders from around the world.
At the Castle, we learned firsthand how personal creativity and inner work support group, institutional, and systems change work. That experience eventually led us to co-found Reos Partners in 2007.
Today, Reos is a global social innovation consultancy whose work helped define multi-stakeholder collaboration methodologies to address large-scale systems change. We pioneered this work with some of the best practitioners in the field — with whom we continue to collaborate today.
In our years with Reos, we saw firsthand how leadership, creative know-how, and teamwork can make or break a systems change effort — and how a focus on creative know-how leads organically to the question, what are we trying to create?
Around 2010, we began researching into the "fractal" nature of systemic challenges and solutions — for example, how trauma plays out at all scales, from the personal to the systemic and social, and how creative work always involves uncertainty, whether it's at small scales (in the art studio) or across an entire society-changing effort.
Some of the most significant milestones on this path included work with indigenous and African-American communities, who knew firsthand how the "inner" experiences of personal trauma and family healing are interwoven with more "systemic" issues such as marginalization, disenfranchisement, and poverty.
We began to work with these observations, developing and field-testing approaches to healing and regeneration that stitch together inner and outer, small scales and large scales. We also continued to carry the question, what are we trying to create? — a question that led us to research and test little-known but very promising approaches to social renewal and regeneration.
Between 2013 and 2020, we had the opportunity to blend our consulting work with an emphasis on training. Our hypothesis was essentially formed around the observation that our clients could benefit from a mix of strategic consultation as well as leadership development and creativity training. With individual leaders, communities, small business, large corporations, peacebuilders, and coalitions of organizations, we found this to be true.
Step by step, our consulting practice became a training ground. We learned that the strategic aspects of supporting multi-stakeholder engagements and collaborations are much simpler and more straightforward than the mental, emotional, and creative competencies needed to successfully navigate uncertainty and generate real, lasting outcomes in complex social challenges at any scale.
And so, the School of the Social Future was born: an integrated approach to creating and co-creating the world being born that integrates inner, personal, creative, strategic, teamwork, institutional, and systemic or social scales of healing and regeneration.
What is the school for the social future?
and other FAQs
What is the School for the Social Future?
It is a project of Magenta Studios, where students can learn how to activate their creativity and apply it to the social challenges we all face and greatly increase their success and longevity of their projects. The School is part online, part in-person, part community, and part coaching and mentoring.
What's Magenta Studios?
Magenta Studios is the legal entity behind the School. We named ourselves Magenta because it's the color Newton left out of his famous spectrum — an omission that has confused color scientists ever since. Today's challenges can be effectively addressed only by the full spectrum of human superpowers — including those outside the dominant paradigms.
Is this an online course?
Part of the school is online. We know our students are crazy busy and that travel is increasingly difficult for many reasons. There's no substitute for in-person events, however, so we also get together in person. We're currently planning in-person events in both North America and Europe.
I'm not creative. How is this relevant to me?
We very respectfully disagree with you. Actually you ARE creative; you just haven't discovered and cultivated that part of you yet. In our experience, creativity comes with being human. If you don't believe us, then you should read our e-book The Creativist here — and do the exercise in it.
What do you mean by inner development?
Inner development is the heart and soul of everything we teach. Without this piece you can't be truly creative, and you simply won't be able to develop the diagnostic insight and creative "muscles" you need for social change work. And, frankly, this is what sets us apart from pretty much everyone else out there teaching about social change. There is lots of recognition it's important, but not much clarity about its fractal nature.
Is there a community?
Yes! We are very deliberately building a community to help our students practice what they learn — a social context, for example, in which to explore the communication, teamwork, and co-creation modules. It is also where you can find friends, collaborators, and accountability partners, and learn from others and their experiences. The community is an essential and thriving part of the School!
Is this a school with a campus and classrooms?
There's no campus, but we do get together in person for workshops, events, and visits. We continue the learning either formally, as in workshops and events, or more informally, around tea, in the art studio, or with a project, such as making a compost pile or stone wall. Otherwise, you can participate in our comprehensive online training program, our private community portal, and coaching and mentorship calls.
When did you start the School for the Social Future?
We actually began designing the school back in the 1990s, but worked as consultants and coaches for many years, field-testing everything around the world for two decades. We finally "formally" started the school in 2019.
What's your vision for the School?
From our business model to our curriculum to our events, everything in the school is a dialogue and a design process: it's co-creative. The School is a prototype of the kind of businesses and learning institutions that can meet the needs of the future. Our goal is to nurture a global and connected community of students, to do our most important work together, and to grow the School together in dialogue.
With your focus on inner development, are you therapists?
We are not therapists or medical practitioners of any kind. We draw from various schools of thought and ask questions about the nature of consciousness and creativity, always studying the phenomena and not restricted to any particular view of mental health. We do not diagnose, treat, or recommend anything — but we do provide a wealth of tools, protocols, and practices for you to use so you can build agency and empowerment on your healing and capability-building journey.
How do I participate? Can I help co-create it?
The school is being built around our students' needs, goals, projects, and input. While we are bringing a rigorous and tested curriculum based on our years of experience and expertise, we are listening very closely to our students and thereby the school is constantly improving. Your active participation in the community and your questions and needs will co-creatively grow the school.
What do you have in mind for the in-person part?
The coronavirus outbreak of early 2020 may force us to change our plans, but at the moment, we intend to hold a workshop in France and invite students on a caravan traveling through the Balkans, both this summer (of 2020). We're planning to hold in-person events in the USA and Europe, and as our student base grows, possibly elsewhere.
Who are Jeff and Louisa Barnum?
Built on 25 years of global experience
With over 20 years of international peacebuilding and executive experience supporting government, non-profit, small business, and Fortune 500 leaders, teams, and their projects, we bring you our distilled and essential building blocks for what actually works in the work of massive change in today's world.
We hired Magenta to help us more fully engage our workforce, leaders, and other stakeholders in our ongoing service to the greater Vancouver region. They helped us devise efficient, powerful ways of innovating, learning, and creating across our organization. We’re deploying them in all our work, big and small — with wonderful results.
Tanya Sather - Executive Co-Director, Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion
We partnered with Magenta to co-lead our development program for senior executives in one of Australia’s largest telecommunications companies. The Magenta team played a highly significant role in curriculum development and overall leadership of the program. Both our client and we as Reos were enormously pleased with the quality of Magenta’s contribution to the project. Magenta understands both the big picture as well as the nuts and bolts for successful inner leadership development. Highly recommended.
Robbie Macpherson - Director at Adaptable Leadership & Partner at Reos Partners Australia
Magenta provided a sensitive, personal and supportive approach to enhancing our strengths while inspiring us to go beyond our expectations. Their accessible methods equipped us with tools for implementing beyond their program.
Shalini Agrawal - Director at Center for Art and Public Life at California College of the Arts
I worked with Magenta over a number of months both as part of a senior leadership group exploring our personal leadership and also with one on one coaching. My experience was transformative. I was challenged to think extremely differently about the world, myself, others and my business. On a personal level I resolved many issues that had been holding me back. I have used the tools that I was given with my team subsequently and have received similarly amazing feedback from them.
Julian Clarke - Executive Director, Human Resources, Global Enterprise & Services and International & New Business, Telstra
I was part of a team serving a complex scenario building process. We had excellent collective calls with Magenta and also individual coaching sessions. I found those individual sessions to be extremely useful, helping me to connect to my source, improve my communications and co-working practices, and align my attention with my intention. Every minute of each conversation was so full of meaning!