NEWS FROM ELSEWHERE is where Readers and Friends can add the passion of their own concerns 




  • Rituals for social change – reminder of importance and shows how relevant our TIA themes can be ! 
  • Hebron International Resources Network ( HIRN) – by Friends of HIRN
  • Values and Vision – Georgeanne Lamont and Sally Burns’ new inspirational resource for teachers 
  • Climate Change Imperatives – Jennifer Leach commentary 
  • Stars Project – new WHO digital resources for young peoples’ mental health – Jen Hall and Ken Carswell 
  • Frank Bowling @ Tate Britain  – wonderful exhibition of the 85 year old painter’s lifetime of large scale artsworks 


Why does ritual matter for social change ?




Ref: Open Democracy – Transformation publishes great writing at the intersection of the personal and political, believing that deep change is possible where love meets social justice  HERE




Hebron International Resources Network (HIRN) – by Friends of HIRN

In the autumn of 2014, Tim and Mayonne decided to extend their study tour of Palestine by checking out the destruction of a dairy in the outskirts of Hebron.   The profits from this dairy apparently supported a number of orphanages throughout the occupied West Bank.  The Israelis alleged that Hamas was involved in this venture.

We wanted to know just what Hamas was, what they stood for, and how this was connected to the Israeli occupation.

And so we met Hamed, at the suggestion of the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron.  Together with two young Israeli women, he took us around the villages of the South Hebron Hills.  We sat with villagers in their community centre – a tent following the destruction of the original building.  We drove up to the remains of the dairy, and later, in Hebron itself saw two education centres it had supported.  Later we met with Nora and her two daughters in the tent provided by the Red Crescent after her family house had been destroyed by the Israeli Army.

These experiences drew us into an international network of concerned friends of Palestine, HIRN, who join together in channelling funds through the organiser in Hebron:

  • for education, training, healthcare and infrastructure projects
  • to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-supporting
  • to advance the education of young and old, by providing buildings, facilities and equipment, and bursaries for individuals
  • to develop the skills of these villagers so that they can participate more fully in society.

The UK Friends of HIRN give examples of this work on their website.  In this first blog,  Palestinian students describe how HIRN has helped them access higher education

The second blog  puts HIRN’s work in the context of the life and hopes of one village in the south Hebron hills.

Every week now, Hamed e-mails us details of progress on a great list of projects he is managing, with the help of Israeli and international NGOs.  His belief is that providing educational facilities locally, and new income-producing projects, as well as support through set-backs, he will sustain their spirit of ‘summud’ (resilience) making it less easy for the Israelis to continued their policies of dispossession. By introducing us to people we would otherwise never have met, Hamed has given us the chance to listen, to understand and then to act meaningfully in support of peaceful change.



VALUES & VISIONS – Georgeanne Lamont and Sally Burns

Children protesting on the streets. Children shouting to be heard by adults who rule…set the rules. Adults clustering in concern about youth mental ill- health. OFSTED stating that forthcoming inspections will de-intensify individual performance data in assessing school performance…aspects of childhood ‘education’.

“We live in extraordinary and exciting times where change is happening at a speed faster than ever before. So how do we as educators respond to this and equip young people to navigate safely and wisely through these rapids?”..asks VALUES & VISIONS authors Georgeanne Lamont & Sally Burns.

Transformative Strategies are offered in this bounteous work- book, to ENGAGE STUDENTS & REFRESH TEACHERS.

Georgeanne writes:-

“My vision is for there to be countless young people who understand how to live, love and learn from their core values: who are equipped with a clear sense of meaning and purpose and who have the tools of reflection to deepen their understanding of themselves and others.”

I see this book as a gift of timely INSPIRATION . It is rock solid because grounded in life -time commitments to transformation .. commitment to CHILDREN.. by Georgeanne, Sally and copy editor Andy. The integrity of precious, long time friend Georgeanne SHINES through this really phenomenal teaching resource.

For more info visit the website We would love to hear from you.

To purchase a book or eBook you can contact us directly through;  or order from Amazon or your independent bookseller.

You can request a copy from your local library Values and Visions  – Engaging students, refreshing teachers by Burns and Lamont ISBN 978-1-9996909-0-8

Cost £9.99 for eBook and £37.00 for book



Climate Change imperatives – Jennifer Leach, Outrider Anthems 

Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Greta Thunberg have brought Climate Crisis to the UK table. Teresa May is toying with the unpalatable dish. The message is indigestible – how is a human ‘being’ to BE within the unfolding drama ?

XR’s commitment is not to ‘blame or shame’. They are calling for: the truth, and the declaration of a Climate Emergency, a halt to biodiversity loss and carbon emissions, and a Citizens’ Assembly to lead the Government action on climate and ecological justice.

The shift needs to occur from within, requires a reawakening of the careful creative impulse that we, as a species, has subdued. We can hope. And we must pray ‘to whatever gods may be’.



STARS: developing a new WHO psychological digital intervention for adolescents – Jen Hall, Ken Carswell

Mental health support for adolescents worldwide is a priority: depression is a leading cause of illness and disability among adolescents, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds and half of all mental disorders start before 14 years old. Barriers to accessing psychological interventions include a lack of services, difficulties accessing existing services and stigma.

One step in addressing barriers to psychological interventions is through the development of digital self-help, accessed through smartphones and computers. Digital interventions have the advantage that they can be accessed discreetly, and the user can choose where and when to use them. Smartphone and social media use is rising in low- and middle-income countries with adolescents regularly using these. Hence, digital psychological interventions offer a unique opportunity to reach distressed adolescents.

STARS Project

The aim of STARS project, which began in March 2018, is to create a digital psychological intervention for adolescents aged between 15-18 years old experiencing high levels of psychological distress that impairs daily functioning, for example ability to study, or carry out their duties. However, it is expected that the intervention will be useful to adolescents experiencing lower levels of distress too. A key aim of the project is to develop an intervention that is highly usable and engaging for adolescents. To achieve this, human-centered design approaches have been applied, which put the user at the centre of the design process. Adolescents and community members, many of whom reported high levels of psychological distress and had experienced substantial adversity from five settings (Jamaica, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa and West Bank and Gaza Strip) have been heavily involved in the design process.

The project is currently in the development phase. The initial stages of development explored the needs and situational context of adolescents by reviewing existing literature and conducting interviews with the adolescents and community members described above. We found that adolescents have regular access to a smartphone (though this access is sometimes shared), they frequently use technology to communicate with others (e.g. WhatsApp, social media), play games and watch videos. For example, adolescents reported watching videos to learn any new skill (whether putting on make-up or learning about engineering). This highlights the potential use of videos to teach psychological skills to distressed adolescents.

Adolescents reported experiencing distress from diverse situations (for example, school, family relationships and adverse experiences, such as bullying). Most adolescents were interested to learn how to manage strong negative emotions. Community members emphasised the stigma associated with mental health. We completed literature reviews and consultations with experts to understand which evidence-based psychological interventions could potentially be used. We also explored  what techniques are likely to encourage adolescents to use the intervention. Ideas for maintaining continued use amongst adolescents included provision of badges following completion of a module or task, providing a digital character to guide the adolescent through the intervention and allowing the adolescent to create or choose a pathway in a a narrative story. To co-develop ideas for the intervention content and design, we held workshops with adolescents.

Development of prototypes

Informed by these findings, we developed prototypes for the intervention modelled on evidence-based psychological techniques. The first prototypes were very simple. For example, we displayed different psycho-educational stories on PowerPoint slides. Adolescents chose which story they preferred and why. We then revised the stories to make them more relevant and thus more engaging for adolescents.

Inspired by the high reported use of messaging applications (e.g. WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger), we explored the use of ‘chatbots’ (a pre-programmed messaging agent which gives the ‘sense’ of speaking to a person). A chatbot design allows for the use of videos, stories and other activities within the intervention.  Chatbots in general are popular with adolescents and allow for adaptation of the intervention to the user’s needs, which is known to be essential for engagement. Indeed, many of the interviewed adolescents recommended use of chatbots.

Our STARS intervention will use a ‘chatbot’ base, with the inclusion of videos to communicate information. So far, we have created and gained feedback on over 30 prototypes, exploring different ways to present information and engage adolescents.

Adolescents can experience distress in various ways. They may be anxious, angry or deeply sad. To make the intervention relevant for many adolescents, we are considering adapting the information provided depending on their reported problems or distress presentation. For example, if an adolescent tends to feel anxious, they may be provided with an emotional regulation technique (such as deep breathing) with content explaining how this can help reduce anxiety. An adolescent with a different problem may get different information.  If and how this will be done, will be explored through further prototyping.

The chatbot-based intervention will be developed using iterative cycles where prototypes will be created, tested with adolescents and refined to learn how best to engage adolescents, and to establish the content of the intervention.

“It’s like I’m having a one on one conversation with something…I can express myself… it helps me a lot”.  

– Adolescent in Jamaica while using a “chatbot” prototype

Current questions we are trying to answer include how to best identify different presentations of stress and tailor content accordingly, what level of human guidance is required, and how to use the chatbot to help adolescents learn skills. Through this process, we hope to develop an intervention that is so engaging that adolescents will not only benefit from it, but that they will enjoy using it and come back to it in times of need.

We are aiming for a version of the STARS intervention to be ready for testing in state-of-the art randomised controlled trials by March 2020. If these research trials find that the intervention has a positive impact on adolescent emotional wellbeing, STARS will be made available as a free of charge global public good for helping adolescents around the world.

WHO acknowledges the generous support of Fondation Botnar for this project.


Frank Bowling @ Tate Britain ( until 26 August)

This exhibition offers a chance to experience the entirety of Bowling’s 60-year career. It showcases his sensual use of colour and bold experimentation.

Over the past 60 years, Frank Bowling (born 1934) has relentlessly explored the properties and possibilities of paint. He has experimented with staining, pouring and layering, adopting a variety of materials and objects. Throughout his career, Bowling has investigated the tension between geometry and fluidity. His large, ambitious paintings are known for their distinctive textured surfaces and colourful, luminous quality.

At 85 years of age, Bowling still paints every day. His work relies on technical skill while embracing chance and the unpredictable. Bowling’s paintings embody his ongoing pursuit of change, transformation and renewal.