Energy Systems Science and Practice

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Tue 17Oct

An Immersive, Interactive Exploration of Energy Practices for Practice-Based Pathways to Regenerative Futures

Facilitator: Curtis Ogden

Everything is energy. This course is an experience of “energy system science”, a trans-disciplinary field that focuses our attention on the movement and exchange of energy as fundamental to creating and regenerating all systems of Life; whether we are talking about individuals, groups/communities, or larger systems such as education, food, health, economy, and so on.

Participants will explore four core pillars of energy system science and related frameworks, tools and practices to “dance with systems” (Donella Meadows) in the direction of the more beautiful world we know is possible and necessary.


Event time: Tue 17th Oct 2023 at 4:00pm - Tue 17th Oct 2023 at 6:00pm

“Energy flows are the source of all organization on Earth. Human and environmental ecosystems are energy-flow systems.” - Dr. Sally J. Goerner

At a Glance

  • Immersive exploration of “energy system science and practice” for social change agents, artists, healers, organisers and weavers of all kinds
  • Focus on four core pillars: regenerative flows, balance/resilient structures, common cause culture, cooperative/collaborative learning
  • Experiential and embodied grounding in aligned frameworks, tools and practices
  • Application to individual, group/community and larger systemic levels
  • Invitation for participants to bring their own experiences and practices

Participants Will Gain

  • An understanding of energy system science as a transdisciplinary and applied field that invites us into seeing Life as emerging from the movement and exchange of energy
  • An opportunity to co-create and evolve this field of study and practice
  • Connections to fellow practitioners

“What is this energy which we all have?  This energy is thinking, feeling; it is interest, enthusiasm, greed, passion, lust, ambition, hate.  Painting pictures, inventing machines, building bridges, making roads, cultivating the fields, playing games, writing poems, singing, dancing, going to the temple, worshipping—these are all expressions of energy; and energy also creates illusion, mischief, misery. The very finest and the most destructive qualities are equally the expressions of human energy.”



“I have known Curtis in a variety of capacities since 2012 and I can’t recommend his work highly enough. I have been his student, his client, his peer, and one of his biggest fans. He is one of the mostly deeply committed, values-true, experienced, and skilled individuals I have known throughout my 30+ year career. Whether as a teacher, process/event designer, host/facilitator, thought partner, strategist, or trusted advisor, Curtis leads with care, grace, and integrity. Ultimately working with Curtis will yield substantial results and, even if they are occasionally different than the ones you thought you were aiming for, they will be the ones you need. And you are sure to learn things along the way!”

-Lisa M Fernandes, Food Solutions New England former Communications Director

“[Curtis] designed, chaired, trained and facilitated the workshops, lectures and seminars, on “Leadership and Systems.” He presented such insightful and in-depth perspectives and analysis in a meticulous yet simplistic manner. He created, used and empowered us – the participants – to create scenarios and explore personal cases in ways that deconstructed their complexities. Curtis’ detailed, pragmatic and inclusive approach was an artistic balance of running the sessions on time while creating the environment for every participant to be heard and meditate on others points of view. I was impressed with the manner Curtis used traditional tools and props in unique ways to convey, determine and inspire. He made it possible to tap into ones best aspirations as a leader.”

– Jr Neville Songwe, Professor of Industrial Design + Design Researcher + Author

“[Curtis] is a gifted and generous facilitator and a powerful and inspiring presence in the room. Also, he brings wisdom and a depth of experience that comes from his commitment to and work with networks and organizations doing purposeful work in the world.”

– Maria Estrada, Ph.D., Metropolitan Group

“ Curtis was instrumental in taking our work from a theoretical framework to a practical building of our Center’s parameters. I really appreciate how he assesses different community dynamics highlighting their importance to process.”

– Rev. Derrick McQueen, Pastor St. James Presbyterian Church Harlem NYC

“Curtis is one of the most well-read and thoughtful system change practitioners I know and his work in energy system science is both leading edge and extremely helpful.”

– Ross Hall, Jacobs Foundation and The Weaving Lab

Energy as Flow

Everything is energy. Energy systems science uses the ancient observation that all living systems are “flow-networks”. Organisms and super-organisms whose existence arises from and depends on the circulation of energy, including resources, money, human capacities, information and so on, throughout the entirety of their being.

Your body, for example, might be considered an integrated network of cells kept healthy by the circulation of water and nutrients; ecosystems as networks of plants and animals connected by flows of oxygen, carbon, nitrogen; societies are interlinked networks of people, businesses, communities, and governments that depend on the circulation of money, information, resources and products.

Where most people associate the term energy with various forms of fuel, or more mystical notions of vital forces, here is refers to any kind of flow that is critical to the system under consideration.

Energy & Flow
Nature Journal

A Framework for Changemakers

Growing numbers of people are aware of these energetic patterns and movements. What they may lack is a framework, language, and aligned practices to effectively engage the world within and around them. In this course, we will explore four pillars of energy system science that can help social change agents, artists, healers and weavers of all kinds see and work with/in systems in ways that might support their regenerative and salutogenic potential.

This will be an interactive experience that invites participants to also share their own experiences and practices that nurture vitality within, between and around them.

“Seeing energy flows so that we can engage with them in positive ways is not some mystical, esoteric art, but the role of engaged human beings.”



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Curtis Ogden

Curtis Ogden is a Senior Associate with the Interaction Institute for Social Change (IISC), where he has been for 18 years. Prior to his work at IISC, he ran a fellowship for new public school founders around the US, started an experiential education and community service program for adolescents in upstate New York (US), and worked in local community development and education in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Much of Curtis’ work at IISC entails consulting with multi-interestholder networks, organizations, teams and individual change agents to strengthen and transform food, public health, education, and economic systems at local, state, regional, and national levels. Some of his current and past clients include: Food Solutions New England; Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network; Indigenous Peoples & Local Communities Network; National Parent Leadership Institute; Partnership for the Future of Learning; and Cancer Free Economy Network.

Curtis writes regularly about social change on IISC’s blog. In addition to his work at IISC, he is on the advisory board of EmbraceRace and Beautiful Ventures, is a fellow with the Netweaver Network, and is a member of the Research Alliance for Regenerative Economics (RARE) based now at the Planetary Health Lab at Edinburgh University. He lives in western Massachusetts (US) with his wife, three teenage daughters, ten laying hens and a lionhead rabbit. Curtis grew up in Flint, Michigan and has degrees from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and Harvard Divinity School.

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