Mindful Researchers

The “Mindful Researchers” initiative emerged in August 2020, by a collaboration of participants in the ESRI 2020 hosted by Mind & Life Europe. We are an independent grassroots community based on a shared intention –

to explore how our professional and research life can be integrated with our contemplative life, in all its possible meanings.

Being aware that this is a difficult path to follow within traditional academia, we aim to offer support to each other, to hold this inquiry as a living question and to put it into practice together. 

We aim to cultivate a space of collective inquiry, a ‘living lab’ supporting the emergence of a new generation of researchers who pursue innovative and rigorous scientific/academic work rooted in genuine embodied, situated, contemplative practice.

In this way, we also intend to support and foster a beneficial transformation towards a more compassionate, generous, kind, collaborative, ethical academic culture.

Who are we?

The “Mindful Researchers” are mostly young or early-stage professionals, largely but not exclusively academics, who wish to live and work in an environment that welcomes their passionate interests and supports their preference for contemplative / phenomenological, participatory and exploratory approaches.

We envision collaborative ways of science which emphasise co-created projects, including the process of discovering what (research) questions we consider as most important to address.

How you can participate

We invite you to …

  1. sign up for our newsletter – to stay informed about our activities and related events;
  2. join our private space for conversation on the online discussion forumOn Science & Academia” (please contact us upon your forum registration, so we can give you access to our space!);
  3. participate in our online community meetings and practice sessions, including our monthly Listening Circles.

You are always welcome to raise questions and bring ideas for new initiatives, e.g. via our contact form and in the discussion forum.

Upcoming dates

Contact us for Zoom details (which are the same for all meetings).

  • Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, from 20:30-22:00 CET
    Mindful Co-creation
  • Thursday, 9th December 2021, from 16:30-18:00 CET
    Listening Circle
  • Tuesday, 21st December 2021, from 20:30-22:00 CET
  • Thursday, 13th January 2022, from 16:30-18:00 CET
  • Tuesday, 25th January 2022, from 20:30-22:00 CET

We also highly recommend the Mindful Writing Group sessions that are being co-hosted by our member Dara.

Current “gardeners” team

The “gardeners” are a more active sub-group of our community that meets on a weekly basis in order to practice together, listen to the community’s emerging needs and ideas, co-create formats, and develop the Mindful Researchers community further.

The “gardeners” team is currently composed of:

  • Annika Lübbert
  • Dara James
  • Enrico Fucci
  • Francesco Noera
  • Mary Rees
  • Nikola Winter
  • Willeke Rietdijk
  • Wolfgang Lukas

Our doors are open – please let us know if you’d like to join and co-create with us!

Our formats

In our practice sessions, we cultivate our skills as co-facilitators and practitioners of formats co-created by our community. These include contemplative, scientific, embodied, co-creative, and participatory practices.

Listening Circles

In our Listening Circles, we practice diving deeper into the themes of our shared inquiry. The circle is an intentional space that we set together, based on mindful presence, sharing stories from personal experience, deep listening, witnessing, and confidentiality.

Mindful Presentations

In our new Mindful Presentations format, 1-3 researchers each give a short presentation, followed by an open conversation (in the spirit of Listening Circles). Instead of “ordinary presentations” that we usually give to academic peers, these short talks invite our deeper reflections on why and how we care about our research, as well as our non-academic ventures, ambitions, motivations, inspirations, contemplative practices, and questions in life that matter to us.

Stepping deeper into our work or branching off into new directions tends to involve uncertainty. With this format, we want to offer a place to (joyfully, calmly, wildly, rigorously) support each other to experiment and test-run reflections that depart from the “typical academic discourse” of our specific home-disciplines.

Mindful Co-creation

This is a new and emergent process format, through which we intend to explore how to harvest and apply insights from collective practices to develop our community.

We are a community of practice born from the connection between individuals who share a common need: cultivating the human aspects of their professional life. Is this going to become a concrete vision for a different “academia”? How will this community evolve and what will be its purpose? Do we even have to go anywhere? 

We believe the best way to explore these and other questions is through co-creating our community with the support of collective practices and a contemplative as well as an empirical attitude (we are researchers after all!). How can we do this? Let’s bring our skills, experience and minds together and find out! 

In practice, we start piloting a series of co-creation instances where we can all be participants and researchers. Where we can explore ways of co-designing supported by a contemplative attitude. Where we can reflect on methods to harvest insights from our collective practices to inform our co-creation process.

Open Conversation

These meetings are gently facilitated open spaces for welcoming new members, reconnecting with each other, and engaging in open conversation on themes that participants bring. Structure, flow, and themes are more emergent in these community meetings.

Playful Academic

The “Playful Academic” sessions are facilitated by our member Annika Lübbert:

“The playful academic is all about drawing from diverse resources to support alive inquiry and collaboration. You can imagine the 1.5 hours as a series of games that involve explorations of space, writing and reading, as well as reflections on your intentions, motivation or desired outcomes. And while this may sound like a lot, each element is intended to be light and easy.”

Our projects

Our first collaborative project was to co-create an abstract, titled “The Mindful Researcher: Transforming Academia from Within“, that led to a presentation at the Contemplative Research Conference (CRC) hosted by Mind & Life in November 2020.

We have been applying participatory methods, collaborative decision-making and co-design practices within our group, as well as for various emergent initiatives. Among these are a collaborative symposium at the APA Convention 2021, a “skill-building track” at ESRI 2021, online presentations and workshops, as well as developing and piloting new meeting formats with our community (e.g. “Mindful Presentations” and “Mindful Co-creation”).