Jigsaw - Dwelling Spaces

Wednesday, 9 March 2016


At the moment in Carter (the building I live in at college) we've got a jigsaw on the go. It's rather nice after an intense day to gather around it and have a chat and try and put a few more pieces in. I like doing things like that together with others, it's a good way of deepening relationships and so building community.

It's probably a cliche, but living in community feels like a jigsaw to me at times. At the beginning you are all thrown together in a jumble, and it takes a little while to figure out who your close connections are and how you all fit together well. This is the fifth year of my life that I have lived in a large community and there has been a similar pattern of community formation each year. The classic process of team development is forming-storming-norming-performing, and I see elements of that, but the process of forming is an interesting one in itself. 

There are always those who settle quickly, who are less riled by the idiosyncrasies of community life and who people start to turn to, to offload about the things they are finding difficult. The quick settlers are the corners of the jigsaw, perhaps unintentionally setting the framework for community life and then as others begin to settle around them, the picture of roughly how the community will be for the year becomes clearer. The way a community works is utterly dependent on its members, and each new member re-forms the community, which is where the jigsaw analogy breaks down. But we can always bear in mind the picture of how we are aiming to live as a community so that our bit plays it part in creating that well. 

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