The Third Paradise Forum


The Art of Positive Action: From Manifestation to Manifestaction (2–3 May, 2019)


Hollie Hughes (Year 11), Danae Fidele and Karen Fenton (Year 10), Sue Darby, Laura Buffinton and I spent an incredible two days at the Richmond Rowing Club, looking out across the Yarra toward Federation Square. This was the second forum, following on from the great success of the inaugural 2017 forum. ISV hosted the event and organised a thought-provoking series of activities and speakers including Mr Paolo Naldini, the Director of the Cittadellarte, Fondazione Pistoletto, Beilla, Italy and Professor Donald McLean from the Adam Smith School of Economics, Glasgow University, and more importantly his own consultancy – StrategyStories.

The Third Paradise symbol is an adaption of the classic infinity symbol. It was created by Michelangelo Pistoletto. He describes the middle circle as an expansion of the point where the original two circles link. Here he believes lies the potential for solutions between dichotomies found in the outer circles.

Paolo started the forum with a profound presentation looking at the metaphor of the self-portrait in art. He suggests that when the artist holds up the mirror to see themselves, they see much more. They see the community of ideas and objects that surround and interact with the artist. If we hold up the mirror to look at ourselves what else do we see?

Donald’s work is in assisting businesses to develop appropriate strategies and helping them to successfully achieve them. To do this he suggests there are three key points:

  1. Play to your and/or know your strengths
  2. Assess your resources and those available in the local environment
  3. Focus on one point – unite behind a single action

However, Donald has taken this further, reimagining communication in community with the use of poetry, art and storytelling; just as his Celtic ancestors always did. He explored his approach in a very entertaining manner telling many stories with a lovely, lilting Highland burr.

To him a story comprises three Acts and includes the following features:

  1. Who am I in the story?
  2. Why is your story important?
  3. Who else is involved in the story?
  4. What is the challenge to be overcome?
  5. What are the pivotal moments?
  6. What obstacles must be overcome?
  7. How do I get others involved?
  8. What does the outcome look like?

We were then set a series of activities that required us to create stories related to the UN Millennial Goals, sharing those stories in our communities and finally preparing artefacts to use when we recreated the Third Paradise symbol to complete the two days.

Our team was very impressed with the work of Beaconhills College, Pakenham Campus, who were inspired by the first forum. Due to the work of their students, staff and community, they are almost off the grid – it may take two or three more years. Almost all the food served in the canteen is grown at school with the canteen menu depending on what is seasonally available. Their three-bin recycling system and decisions they have made about energy and water use means the school is well on the way to becoming carbon neutral. We are looking forward to visiting them to see what they are up to with sustainability and they are keen to visit us and see what we are up to with conservation.

Finally, the great forum finished for me on Sunday afternoon. I couldn’t bear the thought that Paolo and his daughter, Ginerva, leaving Australia without meeting some of our furry creatures. They had a great time visiting the Reserve. They fed the kangaroos, petted the Emus and met Swamp Wallabies and Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies. Paolo was particularly taken by the organic nature of our wonderful boardwalk and Rachel Boggan’s ceramic sculpture.

Dr Gary Simpson
Director of the Brian Henderson Wildlife Reserve