Social Field Research Summer School

Presencing Institute

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Presencing Institute


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About the course

How do we make visible the deep structure of the social field in order to transform it?


The Social Field Research Summer School emerges in response to the crisis of our times, where existing approaches to solving the challenges we face have hit a wall. Our current moment is one of profound disruption that calls for deep civilization renewal and that, in turn, requires transformation at the deepest level of the social field. To achieve this transformation, we need to make the deep structures of the social field visible, yet we lack the frames, methods and tools to do this at scale. It is here that the Social Field Research Summer School aspires to make a significant contribution to the transformation of society, science and self.

Our foundational assumptions underlying this work can be summarized in three sentences:

You cannot understand a system unless you change it (Kurt Lewin). You cannot change a system unless you transform consciousness. You cannot transform consciousness unless the system senses and sees itself.

The intention of the Social Field Research Summer School is to co-convene a global network of researchers who, over the next decade, will advance awareness-based systems change and social field research. Our aim is to co-develop the methodologies and approaches that make visible the deep structures of social systems – that is, the source conditions that give rise to patterns of thinking, conversing and organizing. Our explicit emphasis is on research that has immediate, practical application for those working to effect social change.


The summer school invites you to:

Ø join us in experimenting boldly with emerging methodologies that help us to see, articulate and shift the deep structures of the social field.

Ø share projects, methodological innovations and areas of expertise in order to evolve and amplify our individual and collective capacity for awareness-based systems change research.

Ø forge connections and sow seeds for projects and collaborations that extend beyond the summer school itself.

Anticipated learning

At the summer school, we explore the questions:

Ø What are the properties, processes and dynamics of the social field?

Ø What are the conditions and practices that shift the structure of social fields?

Ø What is the impact of shifts in the social field on individuals, collectives and systems?

To address these and related questions, we inquire into the phenomenon of the social field across a research landscape that is both broad and deep, that includes 1st, 2nd and 3rd person perspectives as well as a focus on multiple levels of attention. The levels of attention include: descriptive research (the ‘what’), process research (the ‘how’) and research that helps us lean into the emerging future by surfacing knowledge as it comes into being (the ‘source’). We welcome applications from researchers and reflexive practitioners working across the research landscape described here.


Researchers leading and co-shaping significant projects in awareness-based systems change. We encourage graduate and post-doctoral students with such projects to apply.

  • reflective practitioners currently engaged in awareness-based systems change.
  • individuals who bring unique methodologies to the study of social field change.


Otto Scharmer

He is founding chair of the Presencing Institute, and chairs the MIT IDEAS program. Scharmer helps groups of diverse stakeholders from business, government and civil society to innovate at the level of the whole system. He co-founded the Global Wellbeing and Gross National Happiness (GNH) Lab, w...

Kelvy Bird

Kelvy Bird has been working in the field of human development within organizational contexts since 1995, with a focus on collaboration, innovation, leadership, and collective intelligence. Her joy is in harnessing group creativity for projects that cultivate learning and connectivity. She’s been ...

Arawana Hayashi

Arawana’s pioneering work as a choreographer, performer and educator is deeply sourced in collaborative improvisation. She currently heads the creation of Social Presencing Theater (SPT) for the Presencing Institute. Working with Otto Scharmer and colleagues at the Presencing Institute, she bring...

Megan Seneque

Megan’s career as an academic and as a social process and development professional began in South Africa at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal where she was involved in long-term work on curriculum transformation in the transition to post-Apartheid South Africa. Megan was lead designer and Founding...

Ricardo Dutra Goncalves

Ricardo is a social systems designer and action researcher working in diverse global contexts, including Brazil, Australia, India, Mexico and the United States. In his work at the Presencing Institute, he leads the SPT research initiative, developing action research protocols and tools, to invest...

Ursula Versteegen

Ursula Versteegen is a co-founder of the Institute of Mindful Agriculture, Presencing Institute and the Society for Organizational Learning. She is an action researcher and social activist with an aspiration to bringing forth profound societal change that allows all of us to re-connect to ourselv...

Julie Arts

Julie is an economist, change facilitator, and innovator in activating systemic transformation. As a PI core faculty member and senior consultant she works internationally, designing and hosting multi-stakeholder transition processes and leadership programs. Key initiatives include Ubuntu.Lab (Af...

Angela Baldini

Angela currently manages several programs hosted by the Presencing Institute, including the Social Presencing Theater, Foundations, and Advanced Foundations programs in Europe. She is also a core member of the U.Lab team, offering assistance to the extended global community. Angela is also a tra...

Eva Pomeroy

Eva Pomeroy is the Social Innovator in Residence at Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. Her present work builds on over two decades experience in experiential learning, in both formal and adjunct educational settings. In its essence, this work is about co-creating contexts for transformationa...

Olaf Baldini

Olaf studied graphic design in Vienna, Austria and moved to Berlin, Germany right after, where he started to work as a junior graphic designer, first in an online-startup and later in a design studio with focus on print design. In 2003 he became self employed. He works for artists as well as for...

Social Field Research Summer School at Presencing Institute

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