About Ben Roberts
C (203) 733-2252
19 Farrell Road
Newtown, CT 06470
Ben Roberts is a systemic change agent and “process artist,” working in service to what Joanna Macy and others have called "The Great Turning." Inspired since 2010 by the internet’s largely untapped power to convene and support new modalities for participatory dialogue, he has been a pioneer in bringing large group conversational processes into the virtual realm via platforms such as Zoom and Slack, and in blending and creating synergies between virtual and in-person engagement.
Ben’s work focuses on:
- Weaving communities, networks, conferences, and movements
- Co-leading the core teams of collaborative projects and initiatives
- Creating open spaces for emergent dialogue
Ben is driven by a belief that we are being deeply challenged at this moment in history by the urgent need for systemic transformation, the continued dominance of "Business as Usual," and the yearning for constructive programs with the critical mass to fully demonstrate that new paradigms are possible. Ben sees dialogue as an ideal tool to address such complexity, uncertainty and emergence. He also recognizes that our dialogic processes must evolve just like everything else. +See this piece drilling down into the popular Butterfly Metamorphosis metaphor for a bit more on his views re our collective work as change agents at this time.
Sample of Work
- Thriving Resilient Communities Collaboratory (TRCC): steward and host, 2013-present
- Strategizing on collaborative possibilities for TRCC "Circle" members, including Transition US, Movement Generation, Post Carbon Institute, Bloom Network (formerly Evolver), New Economy Coalition, Daily Acts, Shareable, New Stories, New England Grassroots Environment Fund, Permaculture Action Network, Compassion Games, and more, as well as a group of independent change agents who serve "the movement of movements."
- Collaborated to develop the "Co-project Initiative"--a democratic grant-making process where prospective grantees take the lead in deciding how to allocate a pool of grant dollars ranging from $160-$290K per year since 2014
- Designing and hosting in-person and virtual gatherings, including the annual Movement Strategy Dialogue
- Supporting a process for selecting and funding "co-labs" involving circle members
- Led development and implementation of a "movement weaving" process combining appreciative interviews, group dialogue and online reporting
- Now What?! Global Gathering and Gift Economy, lead convener and host, 2019-present
- A series of six-week long gatherings on “the art of being fully human in a time of crisis,” that began in early 2019 and take place on a twice-yearly rhythm
- This “declaration of possibility” describes the core intentions of the gatherings to date
- See these websites for details on the 2019 and 2020 editions
- May-June 2019
- Oct-Nov 2019
- Mar-Apr and Oct-Nov 2020
- Apr-May and Oct-Nov 2021
- Conference Weaving: Founder and co-lead, 2017-19
- Amplify, integrate and ground the energy of conferences that have a systemic transformation agenda, by offering live virtual engagement opportunities before and after they take place
- Provide a way for conference participants and people in associated networks to engage with one another in dialogue, using a variety of processes including Open Space and Pro-action Cafe
- Connect and cross-pollinate across the networks of multiple conferences taking place around the same period of time, e.g. May-June 2019
- Conference partners include Commonbound, Bioneers, Imagine Convergence, Climate Change and Consciousness, the New Economy and Social Innovation (NESI) Forum, and Transform
- The Now What?! gatherings described above emerged out of this conference weaving work.
- Leading for Wellbeing: Core team member from 2016-17
- A global initiative founded by Hunter Lovins to develop and disseminate a new narrative for an economy in service to life, as a replacement for the narrative of neoliberalism
- Established a set of virtual communication tools, including Slack, Google docs, and Zoom, to support the work of a community of ~100 global thought leaders.
- Designed and hosted a two month process to allow over forty people to collaborate on the drafting of the "Meadows Memorandum," the central manifesto for the initiative