Warm data lab - reflections

What is coming up for you around our warm data lab sessions?
This could be comments about the process, or about the interactions. Anything you find worth mentioning and reflecting on together!

When I was part of the National Coalition Building Institute (NVCI), we would do individual public speakout from multiple positions in front of the whole group. So we might hear from a Black woman about racism, a white man about classism, a Gay Man about homophobia, a white woman about sexism, a young person about ageism, and so on. Some of these speakouts were naturally multi-issue. When we were done there was a feeling of sorrow and anger and a sense of connection and solidarity and commitment to action. One thing I am hoping for from these warm data sessions is the witnessing of our interdependencies - how our unique stories also tell the systemic story of our disconnection and connection so the “we” is strengthened. Our slogan in NCBI was “All for one and one for all.”

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The warm, fuzzy feeling from the warm data session part 1 stayed with me all day.
It’s so comforting when to put more pieces together. It’s like what Nora Bateson & team talked about what then hearing in the breakout sessions is an antidote to the fragmentation and purposelessness I experience out in the world.
I liked the discussion on hope at the end. It’s so daunting to sit with so much complexity. But that’s only true when doing it alone. And yet, doing it together is so… maybe comfort-inducing is the right word?

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I have some reflections and some concrete questions/thoughts. First the practicalities, then the rest:

I’d love to know who of the folks attending were SoFA people - i know quite a few but not all.

I really loved the opportunity to talk anything from random to very specific talks about change, hope, transformation, relationship and interconnectedness with all of us who have chosen sociocracy as one specific strategy of change. I’d love more chances to do semi-formal or informal talking with SoFA folks - is there a space for it or could there be one?

a thing that has followed me through life is Gedankenübertragung, the idea that we can read each others thoughts. and i don’t mean that literally but when realising that things i think about suddenly come up in all kinds of discussion with friends and people around me. it may be just a matter of attention but i also believe it’s about the conversation that happen at a certain time, between people, what we carry from one conversation to the next and so on. I find that thrilling and love it as a way to keep thinking a thought during a longer period, develp perspective and find a new sort of truth influenced by others. I could see that happening here, talking during the warm data events, i then saw similar subjects coming up all around me and could connect back and forth and come to new understandings

I am really appreciating the approach around ‘trans-contexualism’ and the way in which the relationships are the part that matter, and working with the relationships.

It seems concept of intersectionality is steeped in trans-contexuality, and also within it exist many of the so called ‘double binds’ menionted in the Warm Data sessions.

These are great things to integrate. The value of vulnerable and warm data-rich stories as relational experiences which do significant trans-contexual heavy lifting.

I did also feel often like I was doing a lot of philosophising. I think getting to the juicy vulnerable parts is always a bit tough in relational practices like this, but it’s very valuable when we get there together.

I also yearn for non-verbal, physical and action based elements which don’t come out in a primarily relational practice. But perhaps there is a time and place for everything.

It was a lot to set aside these four two hour chunks in two weeks. I would enjoy doing it with other SoFA Members on a regular but less intensive basis.

I have participated in several Warm Data Labs and am intrigued by the process. For me, my interest only amps up when the Lab is populated by SoFA members. That’s because everyone I’ve ever met with SoFA is dedicated to having everyone’s voice in the room. In this recent experience, it’s a curated space because of the joining of SoFA values with a fascinating way to get beyond knee jerk solutions (the Labs). For me it seems to engender solidarity in terms of both personal support and eventual action. I would love to see this forum continued.

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@hanna.fischer I know exactly what you mean (I think, haha, given that I can’t know for sure what you mean)
In my best phases of life, I’m exploring things, and sometimes it happens that every conversation I have is a continuation of my other conversations, even if it’s with a changing set of people. The image that always came to me around that is like a plasma state of matter. Somehow the people and topics you have conversations with/about and even the time line turns into something fluid, hyper-connected. I really, really enjoy those moments. I think that’s why I was so drawn to warm data labs when I encountered them 2 years ago. I recognised something in them that I had already experienced “out in the wild”.

Reminds me of a movie I rewatched with my teens yesterday and that I very very much recommend, not only because the person who saves the day is a linguist (like I am), haha! The Arrival. The plot sounds boring but it’s wild.


I appreciated getting to know about WD. It is always super enriching and encouraging to have a chance to speak with “strangers” in a deep and vulnerable way. It felt like we are creating more of the mycelium between people, across countries and races and backgrounds that is the structure through which nourishment flows and our shared humanity is strengthened. It feels like another one of the many ways in which we are reaching beyond being separate individuals, able to hold more complexity and layers. The contexts we were given were hardly spoken about in the break out groups I was in, or held very lightly. Having missed Nora’s intro (was that recorded?) I wasn’t sure what to make of that. In general, I had expected more “intellectualizing” and abstraction than there ended up being, especially being started by stories and loved the stretch to try and understand a new language and approach.

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Totally understand the urge and need for physical and action based connections CJ! How could that happen on zoom? I have been to a dance parties on zoom - it was sub-optimal but sweet… and I’d also be interested in doing this (kind of) work every once in a while - getting to know each other in a different way.

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Brining movement into zoom is extra tough, but the experience isn’t limited to zoom, i have the same experience with primarily conversation/talk based modalities in person (specifically practices like circling).
Also, i don’t only mean bringing movement in only, i mean connecting the talk with action - which could be movement expression, but could also be many other things :slight_smile:

Entering the Warm Data sphere felt like being in a parallel universe: everyone is a close friend, boundaries blur, feelings have priority over thoughts, time stopped, total safety and acceptance. Loved everything about it!


Aw, that’s a sweet summary.

yes, I’d like a less intensive version for on-going connecting within SoFA. Maybe 90 minutes once a month. from my perspective, Sociocracy is truly focused on AIMS. Whereas warm labs are about deepening relationships, uncovering hidden dynamics and inter-dependencies, among people with an aligned world view. For me, I’m a lifelong student of dialogue which is focused on creating shared meaning - from which people determine their own actions based on new insights. It’s quite a different orientation. Am curious to hear how others see similarities and differences between sociocracy and warm labs. kind thoughts come.


I loved these. Part of me really struggled with “what am I supposed to do”? That’s such a tough script to break from. But WD reminds me very much of one of the groups I “grew up in” as an activist–Heartwood. It’s a network of forest and environmental protection people from across the eastern hardwood region in the USA. The focus on being and connection allowed for so much more to happen over the last 36 years. Those relationships are cherished. But that was primarily one context following a particular set of stories. (Though it’s never so very clear.)

Generally, I find this reinforcing and clarifying some of the ways I’ve been navigating the boundaries of activism and academia; and it fits with the intuitive, conversational way I’ve taught permaculture. I’ll be chewing on this for a while. I’d absolutely love to participate in any sessions SoFA members are involved in.