We are Hiring!

Perspectiva is a charity registered in England and Wales as: Perspectives on Systems, Souls and Society (#1170492). Our stated aims are: “To advance the education of the public in general (particularly social innovators and intellectual leaders in the public realm) on the subject of the relationships between complex global challenges and the inner lives of human beings, and how these relationships play out in society; and to promote research, activities and discourse for the public benefit in these subjects and to publish useful results.” We were founded by Scottish Philosopher and chess Grandmaster Dr Jonathan Rowson and Swedish Social Theorist and Entrepreneur Tomas Bjorkman in December 2016. We are based in London and part of a broader European and global network with similar values and aims.

Position: Deputy Director

(Job titles are funny things. We need a senior and experienced person to help us build the organisation, but could adapt the job title to better suit the candidate if desired.)

Context: Since its inception in 2016 Perspectiva has built intellectual foundations, clarified its strategic purposes, raised funds from a small and growing portfolio of trusts and foundations, and experimented with a handful of pilot projects and events. We are now at an exciting phase of development, seeking an exceptional person to help build, lead, consolidate, promote and manage the organisation.

Our next phase of development will include the creation of a book publishing arm, the development of a distinctive Perspectiva participatory process for social inquiry, public events, the management of existing projects and the creation of new ones. Our organisational form is also likely to become more complex, with several strategic partnerships in Europe and the USA emerging. This new role will involve dynamically handling that growing complexity with sound operations, warm and honest relationships and entrepreneurial flair.

The right candidate will help to ensure that Perspective grows at the right pace, taking advantage of the increasing number of opportunities that are arising for us, but without overreaching. We joke that Perspectiva is an urgent one hundred year project, and it would help if the person we recruit ‘gets’ the joke.

Person: In addition to proven leadership, operational, and strategic skills, the ideal candidate would also have a strong affinity for Perspectiva’s work, including a keen intellect, excellent written and spoken communication qualities, comfort with complexity and ambiguity, networking judgment, and good entrepreneurial instincts.

Indicative Capacities and Responsibilities (E=essential ie evidence of experience required. D=desirable ie evidence of aptitude required):

Demonstrated capacity to work with Director, Trustees, Researchers, Associates and Advisors to:

  • Understand, develop and communicate Perspectiva’s vision and purpose. (E)
  • Proven capacity to help manage existing Perspectiva projects and relationships and develop new ones. (E)
  • Build a physical and networked presence that makes sense of Perspectiva’s current initiatives, which might entail finding suitable premises in London. (E)
  • Play a leading role in the overall organising fundraising effort, helping team members to turn insights into good funding proposals, including one’s own. (E)
  • Oversee and manage Perspectiva’s operational and financial commitments, including charity commission compliance. (E)
  • Develop operational processes aligned with a small and growing organisation. (E)
  • Capacity to listen deeply, and excellent spoken and written communication. (E)
  • Cultivate/strengthen relationships with strategic partners in the US and Europe including occasional travel. (E)
  • Innovative ideas to diversify the funding model and build financial resilience. (D)
  • Oversee the improvement of online communications, including the redesign and updating of our website, existing social media strategies and discerning use of our mailing list. (D)
  • Investigate how we might model a good internship programme. (D)
  • Seek out funding and partnership opportunities and show entrepreneurial flair in taking them. (D)
  • Develop their own creative projects aligned with our current strategic purposes. (D)

Location: For the last two years we have had office space in Shoreditch, central London, but unfortunately the co-working facility will soon no longer be available and we are currently in the process of finding a new home. We are very flexible with working arrangements in general, but we would welcome somebody to develop our on-the-ground presence.

Contract and Salary: We will offer competitive remuneration for the right candidate, depending on experience. The anticipated range for this role is between £45-55,000 pro-rata, but we are eager to hear from anybody interested in the role, even if they consider themselves ‘too junior’ or ‘too senior’ to apply. We are still a relatively small organisation, so while the role specification is an accurate reflection of our current needs and aspirations, we are ready to be surprised by a different interpretation of what we need most and why.

Job Type and Duration: Initially this is a one year contract at 0.6 or 0.8 FTE. We would like this to be a longer term or permanent role, and there are good funding opportunities arising  that would allow this to happen. We would like the candidate to start as soon as possible and ideally not later than early May 2019, but if an otherwise excellent candidate can only start later we will seriously consider the possibility.

Application: Please take a look at the materials on our website (bearing in mind it needs updating) and the two-page description of Perspectiva below which is a better reflection of our current thinking and plans. To apply, in the first instance, please send a CV and covering letter to jonathan@perspectiva-institute.co.uk copying in perspectivateam@gmail.com We will try to reply to everybody, and hope to arrange to meet the candidates who seem most promising. Our deadline is Monday 4th March at 9am and we anticipate interviews will take place within three weeks of that time.


Brief Overview of Perspectiva:

Why? (Critique and vision)

This is an age of dissonance, in which we struggle to make sense of the world. Our challenges are complex and interconnected, but our understanding is often simplistic and fragmented. The most fundamental source of our dissonance lies in knowing that we have made extraordinary progress, and that there is much to be grateful for, and yet sensing that everything has to change.

Many are enjoying the fruits of economic and technological progress, but the ecological and spiritual foundations of our shared life are neglected, and cannot replenish themselves without our discerning attention and imagination. There has been no adequate planetary response to the preeminent challenge of our time – climate collapse – and perhaps cannot be, unless there is a change in consciousness at scale; an epistemic and existential reorientation in our shared sense of meaning, purpose and value. Liberalism as an ideology is no longer hegemonic and appears to be exhausted, hollowed out and rudderless, but no compelling alternative has emerged. Democracy may be dying; it is acutely vulnerable to the misuse of technology and the erosion of civic space. Financial capitalism is driving socially corrosive inequality. Culture is increasingly a matter of private entertainment to be bought rather than character formation for shared societal ends. And yet, we still use the language of ‘left and right’, ‘public opinion’, ‘economic growth’, ‘consumer choice’ as if these reflected unassailable realities rather than desiccated remains of a worldview in its twilight years.

Our crisis is a meta crisis lying within, between and beyond the materialist perspectives from which we view our current challenges; we construct problems in ways that confound our capacity to address their root causes. Our task is to enrich and expand worldviews through better ways of perceiving and knowing reality. The collective challenge of our time is therefore spiritual renewal, but clarifying what that means and what follows for society requires sustained intellectual leadership, evolving participatory processes, and enduring network nodes; which is why we gave Perspectiva institutional form.

What? (Intellectual foundations)

Our response to dissonance is to value and cultivate spiritual sensibility – a disposition towards reality characterised by awareness of the fullness of life and experienced through simultaneous intimations of aliveness, goodness, understanding and meaning. Those glimpses of wholeness and integration have a texture that is at once emotional, ethical, epistemic and existential – the feeling of being alive, the conviction that something matters, the intuition that the world makes sense, and the experience that life is meaningful respectively. This perspective is grounded in three related philosophical ideas:

  1. A map of reality as an evolving process, humans as bio-psycho-social-spiritual beings and societies as collective acts of the imagination (systems, souls and society).
  2. A commitment to socially embedded spiritual and epistemic development (Bildung).
  3. An understanding of how we might address systemic challenges like climate collapse and democratic breakdown from their widest, deepest and fullest perspective (social imaginaries). 

How? (Developing an applied philosophy of education)

Our work involves developing an applied philosophy of education that describes and illustrates how we can develop our inner lives to help us respond discerningly to the growing complexity of the world:

  1. Publishing platform. Perspectiva Press will focus on short books (10-40,000 words) about developing expert generalists for 21st century challenges.
  2. Innovative facilitation. Perspectiva Process will work with rooms of people with shared concern but diverse perspectives; e.g. through metaphor design, constellations inquiry and improvisation.
  3. Cultural inquiry. Perspectiva Projects will initiate public conversations through written and audio-visual outputs, and events

Who? (Twelve tribes of transformation)

Clusters of networks are seeking to develop new ways of living and working at scale. Each cluster focusses on a particular active ingredient that is important for societal transformation. We seek to reach, involve, influence, learn from, and support organisations operating within and between these domains (the single line descriptions here are distillations of a larger body of work).

  1. Attention Finders (attention)

Many recognise that the quality and direction our attention is a cultural and political battleground.

  1. Wounded Activists (will)

We have never had greater need of effective activism, but we need to transform the practice.

  1. Technology Heretics (technology)

Many who look to the future don’t particularly like what they see.

  1. Wise Businesses (purpose)

Many profit-making organisations seek to do work that helps to reorient the world.

  1. Media Ecologists (truth)

We need financially sound media forms that improve online and offline conversations.

  1. Reflexive Investors (finance)

In commerce and philanthropy, money signals the direction of travel and thereby creates it.

  1. Renegade Scholars (epistemology)

Untethering Intellectuals. “The world has problems, universities have departments” – Garry Brewer.

  1. Political Revisionists (ideology)

Many seek to revive virtue development across traditions to create a politics of the common good.

  1. Cultural Democrats (civic virtue)

Many are refashioning qualities of citizenship, passionate disinterest and constructive disagreement.

  1. Integral Facilitators (process)

Many seek to unlock the emergent properties of groups through experimental forms of inquiry.

  1. Metamodern Pioneers (integration)

Many are imagining the future by integrating pre-modern, modern and post-modern perspectives.

  1. The Spiritually Capacious (love)

Many know that we can build a more loving world, but only through a fuller understanding of power.

Where and When?

London-Europe-World. This is an urgent 100 year project. We aim to evolve into a hybrid form of academic research institute, spiritual retreat centre and campaigning organisation; combining the best of, for instance, Harvard University, Schumacher College, Esalen Institute and Amnesty International.

Early funders:

Fetzer Institute, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, SFCT, Friends Provident Foundation.

Key texts:

Spiritualise: Cultivating Spiritual Sensibility to Address 21st Century Challenges, by Jonathan Rowson.

The Market Myth, by Tomas Bjorkman.

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