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Cabal is my word for a way of working together. It is an wholistic space for collaboration with each other and the life streams we are part of. The Cabal ethos rests in the subtle arts of relatedness. For over 20 years, this philosophy has guided my approach to art, design and construction, within very diverse project teams, contexts and mediums.

This ‘deep collaboration’ is an art form of communication and interdependency as we sculpt, weave, design and construct processes for restorative built environments. I treat each creative project is an opportunity to explore with others, finding simple practical tools and processes that we can put into action to help realise our ideals for transformation and regeneration in our communities. Cabal

asks, “what is needed here?” “What are the optimum conditions for wholistic


Cabal is a call to the nourishment of love, life and the restoring of beauty.

creative ecology

human creativity and whole living systems thinking

CABAL is helping navigate new ways of working together, activating ancient wisdom and whole living systems thinking. The Creative Ecology framework is one example of co-creative research process that we contribute to:


Creative Ecology - a new model for resilience in creative communities
Living Research, version 1, March 2014
Creative Coalition
by Elise Sterback
with contributions from Caroline Robinson, Lise Vaneveld, Candy Elsmore, Peter Shand
Graphic by Caroline Robinson of Cabal

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Abstract: Increasing complexities brought about by global crises are calling for us to actively disrupt and challenge the conceptual frameworks currently dominating cultural policy and theory. Creative ecology offers a new paradigm that recognises the multifaceted nature of creative communities and reveals the interdependencies that exist within them. Findings from an extensive enquiry into the creative ecology in Auckland, New Zealand, revealed that such a shift in thinking offers the best hope for improving resilience and encouraging growth. The creative ecology model moves away from industrial, discipline-centric understandings of artistic practice and instead places focus on the system of relationships present in the community and beyond. Ecological thinking is currently being applied in many sectors, from psychology to finance, as part of the search for more effective ways of analysing and responding to a context of rapid change and disruption. The creative ecology model provides an important new language and method, as well as a practical way forward that supports creative people, organisations and cities to survive and thrive.

creative ecology framework: what we created!
excerpt from the report:
Our framework:
+ Introduces a universal understanding of creativity as an intersector - bridging former genre-based divides and commercial/non-commercial binaries, and replacing them with role-based identifiers.

+ Provides a new framework for the evaluation of creative processes - placing them in context and taking a multi-layered approach that connects the individual to the global.

+ Updates the language of creativity and cultural policy - shifting the focus away from linear and economic descriptions to cyclical patterns in relationships and resource flows.

+ Embraces disruption and failure as an essential part of the creative process - including people and events which have previously been excluded from explanations of the creative process.


Photos from the Creative Ecology Living Research launch at The Edge, Auckland, NZ, in March 2014
With Elise Sterback, Lise Vaneveld, Caroline Robinson, Creative Coalition Trustees, Maree Mills (Auckland Council Arts And Culture Strategic Plan) and many others.


nestedness of human creativity