“Two years ago my then 14 year old son said something that struck me right in the heart. ‘Mum, I hate adults. They have made a mess of everything. What does my generation have to look forward to?’
I suppose it was the first time that the seriousness of the ecological crisis, or the deepening inequalities and social divisions across the globe, had hit home. He told me he thought adults were cruel and ruthless. ‘Kids would never treat each other the ways adults do. All the killing and cheating that you do. It’s horrible.’
Strong words. Unfortunately I found it hard to argue with his observations. I could see that from where he was standing it looked like all adults were making decisions about his generation’s future that put profit before human and planetary wellbeing.
‘What if, as well as acknowledging the crazy stuff you point out, we also start reminding each other of all the beauty in the world?’ I suggested. ‘What if there was a way for young people to connect with adults who do have their backs and who are working hard to protect their future?’
That’s when the seed was planted for Crazy Beautiful World, a project dedicated to helping young people shape their futures with wisdom and compassion.
My son and I formed a social enterprise last summer and are now embarking on a journey to connect the hopes and dreams of teenagers with the knowledge and capacity of the older generations. To create spaces, online and in person, where we can become human signposts for the beautiful.
Inez Aponte – Co-Founder and Director
Watch our video: Crazy Beautiful World – Growing up in the 21st century
In 2021 we launched our Crazy Beautiful Conversations programme with support from Emergence Foundation and in collaboration with ThoughtBox Education. We connected teens and adults through a process called Compassionate Co-Inquiry to explore topics ranging from Inequality and Gender Politics to Climate Change and Brexit.
We became part of a global network of changemakers and incorporated as a Community Interest Company with a passionate, kind and skilled team.
To offer spaces where young people’s voices can be heard and taken seriously, and offer opportunities for them to influence the design and direction of society.
To offer ways for young people to encounter the work of honest, compassionate and caring adults who are dedicated to building a more beautiful world.
To create spaces and processes that help us grow the intergenerational wisdom required to address the material and spiritual crises facing humanity.
Awen has 16 years’ experience mentoring Inez, offering her unique insights into child development. He is highly creative with a love of language and had his poetry published in a youth anthology when he was 12. His Crazy Beautiful World poem is the starting point for the video on our home page. He is responsible for ensuring that CBW continues to genuinely listen to and involve young people.
Inez has 25 years’ experience in creative facilitation, performance storytelling, participatory design and event management. Focusing on the interplay between language, storytelling and behaviour change, she seeks to cultivate our ‘radical collective imagination’.
Her work with young people in communities and education, and her role as a mother, have offered her unique insights into the life world of young people. Her approach is both sensitive and joyful, allowing her to connect to many different individuals and groups.
Hover over the images to find out more.
Ollie Bream McIntosh is Director of Social Systems Labs (SSL), where he co-directs the creation of CoDo, a decentralised social network for changemakers.
Alongside this role, Ollie is a steward of the Collaborative Technology Alliance and of the Open Co-Op, working on protocols for inter-network synergies, as well as a Teaching Associate at the University of Nottingham, where he leads a participatory course in Futures Studies. He has previously co-founded a UK-based social enterprise in alternative secondary education (TftFuture) and co-directed an international social arts enterprise (POTS CIC).
Laurie is a creative comms consultant, copyeditor and copywriter with over a decade’s success crafting compelling communications for the social purpose, public, and private sectors. He empowers education pioneers to scale impact, influence & income using strategic marketing and comms for web, email, social media & offline.
Clare has exceptional organizational and people skills and a background in communication and relationship-building gained through social work, counselling and community engagement. She has long term experience of seeing projects through from beginning to end and of managing groups of people, campaigns and events
John is a strategic consultant in corporate, brand, communications and marketing strategy, primarily in the not-for-profit sector. He is the former Deputy CEO of RSPCA. Prior to the RSPCA he was at the NSPCC, as Director of Communications and latterly Director of a child protection consultancy. Past roles include: responsibility for comms at Barnardo’s; five years at The Body Shop as international PR manager ; and a PR and campaigning role alongside Bruce Kent at the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
Bjarke Calvin is CEO and Founder of the Insight Media app Duckling and a fellow at MIT Open Doclab. In 2001 he published one of the worlds first interactive documentaries, The Enemy Within. After this he worked as Executive Editor at Magnum Photos where he co-founded Magnum In Motion. Bjarke is also frequent lecturer and adviser at schools and events like MIT, Harvard, SXSW and TEDx
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