Welcome to the Civil Society Forum

See http://www.civilsocietyforum.net for the active website.

[This is an old site that was damaged by malware and is now awaiting removal. Once this is done the main site will then be moved to this address ie www.civilsocietyforum.com]


Creating the space for conversations that matter

Stimulating and supporting creative action and productive collaboration

Building a world where all can flourish

The Civil Society Forum (CSF) is an open forum for people to engage with the challenges of building a world where all can flourish;

  • Bringing together diverse interests, individuals and groups
  • Stimulating and supporting strategic thinking and learning
  • Catalysing collaborative and systemic action, within and between groups and across sectors
  • Supporting each other to enhance our contribution in the arenas in which we operate; releasing our best potential and thriving in the process
  • Experimenting with and promoting ways of working (organisational practices) that release our full resourcefulness and better serve the collective interests and wellbeing

And so, the Forum aims to address the challenges and opportunities we face in a systemic and life-enhancing way and build our collective capabilities in ways of doing this.

The intention of the Forum is to support the processes of building a stronger civil society. This is based on a broad inclusive view of civil society as the arena where people come together to make a positive difference to their own lives and the lives of others.

Through doing this the Forum aims to build personal, organisational and societal vitality, effectiveness and resilience.


The Challenge

We are faced with the consequences of economic uncertainty, high unemployment, disenfranchisement and disconnectedness, environmental damage and threat to sustainability on a range of levels. Worryingly there is also a growing disconnection between wealth and wellbeing. This is a concern in itself and it increases the suffering resulting from the above issues.

Linked to this –some would say, driving this – has been a massive shift towards individualism and related increase in self-interest at the expense of others. Current approaches reflect this individualistic thinking that focuses on the parts but does not take into consideration the interconnectedness and how things work as a whole. Even with the best intentions.

This has created a greater need to invest in ways of working that better reveal and address blind spots and better serve the collective interests and wellbeing.

The forum has been established as a space enabling people to address this on many levels. It exists so that people can come together and experiment with what this means, address issues, collaborate, share what works, and be open to what emerges.

Read more short perspectives on what the forum is about:

Colin Grant’s perspective.

Esther Ridsdale’s perspective.

Angus Jenkinson’s perspective.

Read more about the scope of the Civil Society Forum – here.

Please get in touch

We would be pleased to hear from anyone interested in knowing more about the Civil Society Forum. If you are interested in becoming involved, becoming a partner, etc. please contact us

Convenors of the Forum

  • Esther Ridsdale
  • Colin Grant
  • Dr Frederick Holscher
  • Wilja Witcombe

Advisory Board

  • Lucian Hudson – Director of Communications, The Open University, prev head of communications in 3 government departments (founding member)
  • Steve Johnson – Chief Executive of Advice UK (founding member)
  • Nick Parker – SW Chair of RSA, background in community safety and criminal justice
  • George Por – Director of the School of Commoning
  • James Miller – prev Chair and Chief Exec of Abermed Ltd, Chair of The Unreasonable Learners (Scotland)
  • Jennie McShannon – Chief Executive of Irish in Britain, prev trainer in systems thinking on top government development programme
  • John Varney – NED, adviser & coach, OffComm advisory board member, Trustee of V&A, prev CTO of BBC and Director of Technology at Granada
  • Tom Levitt – Expert on cross sector collaboration, author of ‘Partners for Good’

Directors of the Forum

  • Colin Grant
  • Dr Frederick Holscher
  • Esther Ridsdale
  • Wilja Witcombe