Relationships Collective

Creating the infrastructure for a thriving field of relationship-centred practice 

Lots of people in lots of different spaces are doing amazing work around building better relationships, but the connections between these nodes are often weak or non-existent. We’re teaming up with Iona Lawrence, Grapevine Coventry and WarwickshireThe Jo Cox Foundation and Connection CoalitionThe Roots Programme and a growing list of others to experiment with approaches to join up the dots and create more than the sum of our parts. 

Our shared and uniting goal is to build a world that is designed for and around relationships: a world where relationships are the first mile, not the extra one.

Iona Lawrence

Through Thick and Thin

How an infrastructure for relationships could unlock the collective action we need to accelerate progress towards a world designed for and around relationships 

Drawing on conversations with over 100 people, Iona Lawrence advocates for a more joined-up approach to building – and championing – relationships. She explores the beliefs that we share, the concerns we all hold, and the potential that could be unlocked if we were to deepen our collaborations. 

Building a Relationship Collective: Our Proposal

We have submitted an expression of interest to the Bringing People Together Fund at the National Lottery Community Fund to bring to life the idea of an infrastructure for relationships. Drawing inspiration from Joe Mills and friends in the democracy centre, we’ve decided to publish the proposal in the open so everyone can see what we’re hoping to do and more easily explore ways to collaborate. 

In short, the expression of interest we’ve submitted is for a two year project to design, test and build the necessary infrastructure to support shared learning and collaboration in the field of relationships and relationship-centred practice in the coming decades. 

Three experiments

To get the ball rolling, we’re working in partnership to host three sets of experiments for deepening collaboration and building shared infrastructure 

Surfacing inspiring ideas

Open, welcoming events in which we can come together to discuss big ideas and a vision for a world built around relationships

Gathering around shared challenges 

Discussion and practical action around shared challenges including measurement and power 

Widening, deepening and strengthening

Mapping who’s doing what and weaving together existing networks to help us all find potential collaborators and kindred spirits

Get involved

To get involved in any of these experiments or to learn more about this work, get in touch with Iona at iona@ionaconsultancy.com

This is a truly open invitation. Only with collective energy and many hands will we be able to create a world that puts relationships front and centre. 

Related blogs

A Relationships Field?

In brief In this blog, Iona Lawrence and Immy Robinson ask whether taking a field-building approach could be valuable to the ‘field of relationships’ and ask for your ideas and partnership as we set out on this inquiry.  If you're someone who puts relationships at the...

Relationships: An idea to organise around?

In brief In this - our second blog exploring the field of relationships - Iona Lawrence and Immy Robinson ask for your help in finding something we can all gather around. You can read the first blog, which lays out what we're up to, here. A few weeks ago we wrote...

The Relationships Field: 6 initial reflections and 5 questions

In brief 6 weeks ago, we (Iona Lawrence and Immy Robinson) set out to explore whether a ‘field of relationships’ could, should, or does already exist. We’re still at the early stages of this exploration but have been lucky enough to pick the brains of some very...

Making relationships the first mile

After a year of research into simple, ordinary, human relationships, Iona Lawrence shared her initial findings in Through Thick And Thin. In this report, she illuminated a set of shared concerns, identified through hundreds of conversations around the state of our...

The Relationship Collective: A proposal

Before now... In the summer of 2020 I set out on an open-ended research journey exploring why relationships matter and whether people who put relationships at the heart of their work feel connected to others doing the same. I was lucky to collaborate with The...