If you would like to participate in our gifting/healing economy and experience our art and teachings in a mutual flow of inspiration, gratitude and care, below is the description of our working/living model for the gifting/healing economy.
Gift Giving at Studio M* Explained
Studio M* operates within the ancient relational model of gift economy or sacred economy in contrast to the interest-based money economy embedded within the dominant individualistic scarcity-based capitalist culture. Relational gifting is an experiment we are engaging based on study of the work of Charles Eisenstein, Jean Franc Noubel, Genevieve Vaughn and Indigenous teachings eg. Robin Kimmerer and our own varied experiences over many years of operating most congruently and healthily within the relational experience of a gifting/healing economy. Michael’s research and study situates the gifting/healing worldview with the ancient spiritual practice of the gift of fearlessness.
Gift economy is a recent growing movement connected to among other initiatives, community gardens, community kitchens, couchsurfing and open access internet sharing eg. Linux. It operates within numerous understandings, one is that those that have a gift to give share without expectation of a return for the gift given. To live in relationship to the gift giving economy calls for a radical trust that gifts will arrive to sustain the gifter in a relational circle, and by extension the community. For the gift economy model to function well, the gift received is shared forward into the community. It may be returned to the original giver in the form of money, material needs or skills offered reflecting honour to the gifter and gratitude for the value that the receiver received, or it may be shared with another eg. a non-profit and/or another person. Sharing the gift forward where it is needed. The gift economy is not about accumulation of wealth but about ecological sustainability of humans with the environment. The commitment is to ensuring the chain of care continues to grow.
As seasoned teachers we desire to offer our art, mentoring and teaching practices to the community at large without the limited access to materials, knowledge and experiences that a money economy creates. At the same time we primarily live in a money-based world and still require money to live eg. Studio M* rent and living expenses. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have a small financial base of support in our lives from our combined pensions but require more than this base to cover our monthly expenses and to continue with the Studio M* mission, our research, teaching and art practices.
We understand that this model is a big mind flip to undergo as we have gone through it and continue to go through it ourselves. The gift economy runs completely counter to the model our “normal” world operates in and can cause confusion and distress for those first trying to understand it or enter it. We see part of our role in shifting to the gift economy is to teach as we learn this relational ecological model. We are here to engage in conversations and to offer unconditional attention to others as needed to come to terms with this form of relational economy. We include conversations on the healing/gifting economy with participants in our classes and residencies. We plan to offer talks/discussions on the gift economy in the future based on our lived experience of it.
We find the Indigenous science and eco-philosophy tenants of The Honorable Harvest helpful to think about our relationship with the earth’s resources. We also find it helpful to apply these tenants to reciprocal human to human healing/gifting economies (eg. Studio M*) as they strive to live sustainably within the dominant scarcity-based money economy.
Never take the first one.
Listen for the answer.
Take only what you need.
Use everything you take.
Share what you have taken.
Reciprocate the gift.
Robin Kimmerer, 2019
If you would like to participate in our gifting/healing economy and to experience our art and teaching or have further questions please contact us. If you have received or would like to receive a gift from us in the form of a class, mentoring, talk or artist residency we will share our gifting Desire Lists upon request.
If you would like to gift and sustain the creative work of Studio M* in general please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about our emergent thinking regarding a gifting/healing economy see the links below and our resource page.
Parallel Recording Ten – 40 minute dialogue between Michael and Barbara on the gift economy and transformation
Living Inquiry into Gifting/Healing Economy – co-written blog with Barbara and Michael