Common Ground Interviews

We are embarking with a series of interviews to share our common humanity that lies beneath our many differences. I am interested in increasing all our chances of being heard and understood, including the non-human world.

After the first interview, I found myself pulling out an old book from my shelf called, “Neither Wolf nor Dog”. Within minutes of reading I found the following summary of words:

“We can like each other, hate each other, feel pity for each other, love each other. But always, somewhere beneath the surface of our personal encounters, this cultural memory is rumbling. Tragedies have taken place on our land, and even though it may not have taken place on our watch, we are its inheritors, and the earth remembers.” (Kent Nerburn 2002)

These series of interviews search for common meaning, common understanding and common redemption. It doesn’t matter if we are on opposite sides. We aim to reach across our differences and hold each other in common embrace.

“We stand, strong and adamant, within the confines of our own values and self-understandings, but we reach out and care for each other”. (ibid)

Let’s not distort the reality of people we really care about and turn them into a reflection of our own needs. Let’s be unashamedly who we are and trust that those who see us will honour what they see, and treat it with gentleness and respect. Let’s realise that the world we enter is not ours to reduce to the size and shape of our understanding.

Common Ground with Matt Belhumeur

  • What does it mean to reclaim your own education?
  • How do we move towards healing? 
  • What do we need to hear as the 'colonialists'? 

Matt Belhumeur is a Cree Man from The Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement in Alberta, Canada. He is a single father to a beautiful daughter who is currently six years old. Matt is currently in his 4th year of college chasing a degree in Indigenous social work.


"I feel very honored to be apart of what I feel is the beginning of my people reclaiming their education. I believe that we are amid an especially important shift within our country as there are more and more of our people becoming educated. Together this will enable us to hold people accountable and create conversations around how to best dissemble those systems that are founded on colonisation and systemic racism."


Matt is the indigenous liaison worker in an organisation that specialises in working together with children and youth. The goal there is to give the people the tools they need to help regulate their behaviours and work through the traumas that they may have faced in their lives. His programme specifically takes a relationship-based approach in helping the people heal. He includes those indigenous practices and utilises talking circles, fire teachings, land-based teachings, sweat lodge and other ceremony's just to name a few. "This has been an exciting journey so far and I look forward to completing my education and beginning the next chapter in my life, wherever that might be I guess only creator knows."


Common Ground with Professor Jan White

What is ecological identity and attachment? Jan White and Marina Robb discuss:

  • What do we mean by ecological identity?
  • What kind of play drives can be met by nature to deepen the relationship?
  • How attachment theory can be applied, physiological processes that operate as nature meets the play drive that expresses a deep psychological need.


Jan White

Professor Jan White works as an independent consultant across the UK and internationally, Jan is a leading thinker and writer on outdoor play and advocate for high quality outdoor provision for services for children from birth to seven. She is honorary Professor of Practice with the University of Wales Trinity St David and co-founder/ strategic director of Early Childhood Outdoors, the National Centre for Play, Learning and Wellbeing Outdoors. 

With thirty-five years’ experience in education, Jan has developed a deep commitment to the consistently powerful effect of the outdoors on young children. She has developed national support for early years outdoor provision with Learning through Landscapes and Early Excellence, and designed post-graduate courses at the Centre for Research in Early Childhood. She is an Associate with Early Education, convenor of the Landscapes for Early Childhood national network and has provided training, conference keynotes and consultancy for a wide range of early years settings. 

Jan has received national awards for both her books, Playing and Learning Outdoors (now in 3rd edition) and Every Child a Mover, is editor of Outdoor Provision in the Early Years and collaborated with Siren Films to make the award-winning training DVDs Babies Outdoors, Toddlers Outdoors and Two Year-olds Outdoors. Her ground-breaking initiative with MuddyFaces, Making a Mud Kitchen has significantly influenced the outdoor play experiences of young children throughout the UK and is available in ten languages. Their new joint project, Opening Up the Outdoors now aims to take this a great deal further!

Common Ground with Juliet Roberston

In our second Common Ground interview, Marina Robb and Juliet Robertson discuss:

  • What common values underpin our practice with children?
  • What is the role of nature in 'good' education?
  • What policies and ideas are working in Scotland and how can we learn from this?

Juliet joins us in June and July for 2 webinars - Find out more here.

About Juliet Robertson:

Juliet picture

Juliet is an educational consultant who specialises in outdoor learning and play. Previously, she was the head teacher of three schools ranging in size from 6 to 277 pupils. Juliet is based in Scotland and has worked at a national level since 2008 writing case studies, documents and doing behind the scenes work to help shape strategy and support for schools and early years establishments. This includes heading up the team that wrote the Education Scotland document, Outdoor Learning: A Practical Guide for Scottish Teachers and Practitioners(2011), co-authoring Loose Parts Play – A Toolkit (2016 & 2019) and being part of the Scottish Government strategy group that created A Play Strategy for Scotland (2013). Most recently, Juliet contributed to Out to Play (2018), a Scottish early years document supporting practitioners to develop off-site provision in local greenspace.

Juliet is in heavy demand world-wide for her practical training. She is the author of two award-winning and best-selling books: Dirty TeachingA Beginner’s Guide to Learning Outdoors (2014) and Messy Maths: An Outdoor, Playful Approach for Early Years (2017). Her website, Creative STAR Learning is a source of information and support with more than one million visitors in the past four years. Juliet continues to work directly with staff and children in many early learning settings in the North-East of Scotland exploring what excellent outdoor practice can and could be!


Common Ground with Jon Cree

Tales of the Kalahari - In our first Common Ground interview, Jon Cree shares thoughts on, “The Indigenous - Nature Connection and Ecological survival of homo sapiens and wildlife”.


Circle of Life Revisited Image
Circle of Life Revisited Image

"I found Juliet's Messy Maths great. It had lots of ideas to incorporate more meaningful maths into our setting. The resources available are fabulous, an excellent webinar."
Suzanne Fairhurst

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