Dark Matter


P1000048A key part of ‘Seeing the System’ is understanding the rules and processes around you.  We used the term ‘dark matter’ as like space dust, rules, process and structures can be invisible but very powerful.   They often shape the way the frontline workers, their organisations and those that commission them are able to work.  They can also seem fixed and immovable.  At the heart of this session is questioning which rules and processes are fixed and which can be changed. We encouraged all of our Systems Changers to find the flex in their systems.

We look at the different types of ‘dark matter’ in play in the system around complex disadvantage- law and guidance, strategies and policies, contracts and processes. We examine how what can seem to be the law may actually be someone’s interpretation of it and how through questioning and investigation, you can find out that the origins of rules that may no longer have any reason for being in place.  

Seeing dark matter is about seeing what can be shifted and where can you find flex to make positive change in the system.


Theory Video:

Case studies and insights from participants

John Broadway - Support Worker, Two Saints Limited


I was a child of my times — born working class in the middle of the 50’s.

Dragged through an education system — no more than the 3 R’s was my best hope — destined to be pointed at the workplace and encouraged to replicate myself.

The key state imposed lesson was: I would always need permission — it was always going to be ‘Please Sir, Can I’…. showing blind respect to my elders and betters — no question dare be asked…

Continue reading here…


Michelle Gavin - Health Projects Coordinator, Friends Families and Travellers

Michelle talks about the influence Dark Matters has had on her practice.

It’s about talking about it and getting everyone round the table”