Welcome to Metafari Fraser Island August 2008

What can at the same time be a market place, a factory, an oasis and a temple? According to the Swedish Professor Svante Beckman, these are four metaphors for an academic university. In a debate about how the university should work together with the rest of society, these different perceptions lead to very different reasoning about why such collaboration would be of interest, who it should involve, how it should be conducted and so on. For the researcher viewing the university as a peaceful oasis where he or she can fulfil his or her life project, the idea of inviting people in from other organisations might not be so attractive. However, for those who view the university as an arena for education and career, the notion of boundless collaboration is perfectly natural.

Metaphors are extremely powerful tools for communication. The American cognitive activist George Lakoff has even made a conceptual metaphor database. He is especially interested in educating the progressives in the US in how to use storytelling and metaphors in order to get messages through and create a picture of the future. With books such as “Whose Freedom?”, “Don’t Talk About an Elephant – Know Your Values, Frame the Debate” and “Metaphors We Live By” he has provided a lot of food for thought that are very useful in these times of elections.

Last November we organised a Metaphor Safari – Metafari to Tanga in Tanzania. Liz Mellish in Australia became very interested in the concept, why we decided to expand it to include a trip to Fraser Island in August 2008. If you want to learn more about metaphors, storytelling, Appreciative Inquiry, digital photography and sustainable development while at the same time exploring the world’s largest sand island which is also on the UNESCO world heritage list, then this interactive "course" is a great opportunity. Read more about it in our tentative brochure.

Interested? Or know someone who might be interested? Please spread the word and let this become another international networking opportunity!

Do you know of any other places suitable for a Metafari? Write a comment and let us know!

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