2017 Call for Proposals

2017 Call for Proposals

2017 CMM Fellows Program

Presented by the CMM Institute for Personal and Social Evolution (CMMI) in Partnership with Fielding Graduate University, Columbia University, and the Institute of Family Therapy (IFT), London, UK


On the topic of
“Minding the Gap” - Creating New Space for Coherence


The CMM Institute is committed to promoting scholarship and practice in ways that help new – and better – social worlds to emerge. For the 2017 Fellows program, we are seeking proposals that speak to ways to create something new in the “gaps” that are apparent everywhere in our social worlds. 

Given the recent trend toward “bi-modal” positions in our public discourse, we are interested in ideas about changing this troublesome pattern of communication in ways that create conditions that foster the desire, capability and capacity to meet in the middle… What Martin Buber described as “holding the perspective of the other” with a resultant enlarged capacity for systems intelligence.

We particularly encourage proposals which draw upon the concepts of “Moral Conflict” (Pearce & Littlejohn, 1997) and “Cosmopolitan Communication” (Pearce, 1989) to consider ways of creating new connections in and among families, communities, institutions, and our increasingly interconnected (yet fragile) global communication networks.

If your proposal is accepted, you will receive a cash award of $500.00 plus an allowance for travel expenses up to $1,000 (domestic) and $2,000 (international) to attend and present your work at the 2017 CMM Learning Exchange - held this year in partnership with the Institute of Family Therapy (IFT) in London, UK http://www.ift.org.uk/, October 23-24, 2017. The four partnering institutions may feature your projects and papers on their respective websites and/or publications. Additionally, Fellows may be invited to participate in periodic online or phone “peer coaching” conversations with CMM Institute Board Members, past and current CMMI Fellows, and collaborative connections with others in the extended CMM “family” with related interests.

Application Process: 
Applications can be downloaded using the “Letter of Intent” (LOI) form on the CMM Institute website, www.cmminstitute.net. Complete the form, attach supporting documents, and email the completed application package to Bart Buechner bartonbuechner@gmail.com and Ilene Wasserman iwasserman@icwconsulting.com not later than March 15th, 2017. Representatives from the sponsoring institutions will conduct a blind review of applications received and make recommendations. The CMM Institute Board will make the final selection of the 2017 Fellows.

Important Dates:

  • Applications are due by March 15, 2017 by 2400 (midnight) Eastern Standard Time
  • The CMMI Board will convene to consider recommendations of the nominating committee in April, 2017, and applicants will be notified of the outcome the week of April 24, 2017
  • Fellows will be expected to make a presentation of their work at the 2017 CMM Learning Exchange in London, UK, October 23-24, 2017.

Context, Definitions and References:

The Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) offers a body of practical theory and a palette of conceptual models and tools that allow us to see how our social worlds and identities are made in patterns of communication, and visualize other possibilities for constructing better social worlds.

Minding the Gap – As the Fellows theme suggests, we are interested in considering ways that being more mindful of the “gaps” in our social worlds can lead to the emergence of growth, renewal, and stronger relationships, instead of more polarization, conflict, and frustration. These social gaps may be expressed in micro, meso, and macro contexts, such as interpersonal communication and identities, family relationships, community dialogue, media narratives, education systems, and cultural intersections.

The “Communication Perspective” offers a conceptual framework and specific heuristic tools to help understanding these gaps, and imagine better possibilities. Looking at the forms of communication in which our social worlds are constructed leads us to ask deeper questions about what we are making together in our patterns of communication.  This awareness may help us to consider and imagine better ways of being, and of being together. Two concepts from CMM that are particularly applicable to this process are:

“Moral Conflict,” or the notion of looking at underlying (and possibly unexamined) moral codes for sources of conflict and then co-constructing moral common ground. (Pearce, W. Barnett, and Stephen Littlejohn. Moral Conflict: When Social Worlds Collide. 1st ed. Sage Publications, Inc., 1997.)

 “Cosmopolitan Communication,” a concept of communication that helps to identify and transcend ethnocentric or oppositional cultural beliefs by considering patterns of communication used for coordination and those used for creating coherence and restructuring communication in new ways to allow for the emergence of “Mystery” (Pearce, W. Barnett. Communication and the Human Condition. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1989.)

Interdisciplinary Integration

As a “practical theory,” CMM pairs well with other methods, approaches and academic research methods. In the spirit of “CMM and….,” we encourage you to bring in other communities of practice and theoretical conversations partners that inform your project. Some that we could suggest in this area include:

Identity: Gurevitch, Z. D. (1989). The power of not understanding: The meeting of conflicting identities. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 25(2).

Restorative Justice: http://www.restorativejustice.org/university-classroom/01introduction/ tutorial-introduction-to-restorative- justice/processes/circles

Emergence: Scharmer, C. O. (2009). Theory U: Learning from the future as it emerges. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

Inquiry: Schein, E. (2013). Humble inquiry: The gentle art of asking instead of telling. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

Moral Injury, psychic wounding, and the collective experience of trauma: 
Malabou, Catherine. The New Wounded: From Neurosis to Brain Damage. Translated by Steven Miller. 1 edition. New York: Fordham University Press, 2012.

More learning resources:
The CMM Institute offers a range of learning resources to engage with CMM and a community of scholars and practitioners who use it. Learn more about CMM theory and resources at: http://www.cmminstitute.net/about/about-cmm. For more information about the CMM Institute, contact Kim Pearce at kimpearce@aol.com

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