Keeping the Wisdom of Living Traditions Alive
Beginnings
What is a 'living tradition'?
A Living Tradition is defined here as 'an intellectual and/or practical discipline centred in a long-standing cultural heritage, usually preserved and handed down through an oral tradition and heritage or apprenticeship system; involving wisdom, reflective practice, and continuity; based on universal values of truth, goodness, and beauty, the practice of which promotes the oneness of being.'

The Life Lore Institute is set up for the public benefit, to promote, support, and encourage living traditions—and the role they can play in developing and sustaining thriving communities and supportive social structures—through educational projects, training courses, and publications, and other potential means which may be determined by the directors at their discretion.
Living traditions are like trees and living tradition bearers are like the leaves that grow on the trees. Every so often, the leaves fall to the ground, melting into the earth, their legacy feeding new growth from the tree. While tradition bearers come and go, the tree stands, grows, remains. Nurtured, it flourishes. Neglected, it dies.

Paraphrase of an analogy presented as part of a lecture by Jon Allen

Jon Allen
Architect
THE QUESTION
What do living traditions have to offer us?
Why it's so important to honour, preserve, and encourage participation in them.
Living traditions are timeless. They give life to both art and craft, but go beyond that. They are not fixed or fossilized; they do not involve innovation for the sake of it. Living traditions depend on tradition bearers and their supporters to keep them alive. A living tradition bearer will work within the confines of their traditional practice, typically handed down through generations, and will hand down that practice to others in a living chain, often involving oral transmission as a key element. Living tradition bearers will find their own blend of innovation and traditionalism, infusing the heritage and legacy of their tradition with life through their living, breathing contribution to the practice of their craft. This definition of what constitutes a living tradition is not limited to traditional arts and crafts such as storytelling, embroidery, engraving, architecture, or calligraphy. It extends to the practice of the arts and crafts of poetry, philosophy, education, and politics. How these traditions are borne out helps us build on universal values and the best practices from the past, to maintain a healthy balance between intangible universal values and the tangible manifestations of those values in practitioners' daily lives and the lives of those around them.


Leon Conrad
Living Traditions was conceived during a trip I took to the Republic of Georgia in 2015. I was struck by the energy, vivacity, and presence of living traditions that bound people together through food, song, craft, and the art of life. This was despite a history of Soviet occupation, and the warning signs of a mounting wave of materialistic reforms that are set to transform the country. The Living Traditions project is set up to encourage debate and dialogue that seeks to harness and preserve the best of both traditional and modern approaches, while privileging and honouring what it is to be a living tradition bearer. Living tradition bearers are often marginalized, yet their contribution is unique, valuable and performs a vital cohesive role. This website seeks to celebrate their contribution, increase awareness about their role, and provide a focus for tradition bearers, aspiring tradition bearers, civic activists, entrepreneurs, and members of the general public to meet, exchange ideas and learn from each other. Wherever you fit, you're very welcome.

Stories and biographies

Opportunities to learn and share

Making an impact
Honouring living tradition bearers
Encouraging those aspiring to be living tradition bearers
Actively supporting living tradition bearers as contributors to a holistic society



Unlike many exploitative modern approaches to life and the environment, which are based on short-term outlooks and overly materialistic strategies, living traditions thrive on wisdom, reflective practice, and on continuity. They embody practices which encourage harmonious thinking, appreciation of the fragile link between mankind and the environment, and provide a refreshingly different way of thinking about issues such as progress, innovation, and technology.

Far from being old-fashioned for the sake of it, living tradition bearers generally welcome the benefits of modern discoveries and the innovations of recent years, but not at the expense of losing what is valuable, eternal, timeless in the process, which we are increasingly in danger of.
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