Call for proposals: 2021 Fellowship program

When family, work and community merge:
Learning and growing from the pandemic experience


This past year has been an unusual time. Overnight our social worlds were upended. Workplaces went virtual. School went virtual. Families, friends and communities shifted to online gatherings. The virtual workplace crossed boundaries. Children joined meetings. We were able to see each other’s homes. Mixed in with social distancing, we have also had opportunities to explore “personal and social evolution” in our thinking about how we “be” together. During this time, we have also seen racial injustice and health and structural inequality with greater clarity.

We are seeking innovative proposals for projects or studies which use CMM concepts to reflect on what we learned from the process of responding to a global pandemic, and how we might apply what we have learned to bridge fragmented social realities and identities that have been made more visible by this experience. Given this year’s CMMI focus on family systems, we have a particular interest in proposals which including circular questioning, cosmopolitan communication, and other uses of the CMM body of theory which engage structural change in thinking around patterns of social engagement.

As a summary, we are looking for proposals that address:

  • Impact new forms or patterns of communication on integration of community, work, and family life
  • Use of CMM concepts, particularly circular questioning and cosmopolitan communication, to re-imagine greater coherence among members of overlapping or intersecting systems
  • Opportunities to reconcile previously incommensurate beliefs or worldviews in our emergent “new social reality”
  • Ways to help children expand their communicative capacities for living in and making better social worlds as they move between home, school, and their future roles
  • How a more cohesive “better social world” can be created in the future as result of specific areas of learning from the shared global pandemic experience.

Proposals should use the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) theory and can also show resonance with other related bodies of communication theory pertaining to the social construction of reality and social systems.

In terms of practical impact, we are interested in proposals that address an expanded time horizon, including:

  • What can we do now as we take stock and move ahead?
  • What can we do for the next generation? Cultivating and nurturing a “cosmopolitan sensibility” in children and teens to help move on from things that have us “stuck”.
  • How might things be different in the future? Imagining the possibilities in the year 2045 as we look back on what we learned during our response to the global pandemic, and how out communication processes evolved (Consider how your proposal might become a part of a personal story or a site for Cosmopolis2045.com).


Requirements and opportunities:

  • If your Fellowship proposal is accepted, you will be invited to participate in a webinar presentation of your work. Depending on the time of presentation you may have the opportunity to talk about your proposal and ask questions of other participants to help refine the ideas further. We see this as a major opportunity to be in conversation about your ideas with CMM Institute Board Members, past and current CMMI Fellows, and make collaborative connections with others in the extended CMM “family” of scholar-practitioners.
  • As a Fellow, you join a group of peers and other thought partners in the CMM community and will have the opportunity to develop a conference paper for publication.
  • We may also invite and work with you to arrange for a webinar presentation of your complete work, under sponsorship of the CMM Institute.

CMMI Fellows Application Timeline and Selection Process:

  • Complete the Letter of Intent (LOI) and Proposal using the format appended to this announcement. Attach any supporting documents and email the completed application package to the CMMI Fellows program co-chairs as indicated. Deadline for applications is May 1, 2021.
  • Applications will receive a blind review by our advisory panel by early June 2021, after which you will receive feedback on your proposal, whether or not you are accepted as a 2021 CMMI Fellow.
  • The CMM Institute Board will make the final selection of the 2021 Fellows in mid to late June 2021.
  • Fellows will be invited to attend and discuss their proposals at the CMM Learning Exchange (Dates and format TBD)
  • A webinar to present final Fellows papers may be arranged in late 2021 or early 2022.

More about CMM:

The Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) offers a body of practical theory and a palette of conceptual models and tools that allow us to see how our social worlds and identities are made in patterns of communication. The stories we tell about the pressing social issues we face, and the others who are involved in them, can become embodied in ourselves and in our social institutions. The way we look at this communication (which we call “the communication perspective”) helps us to see what we are making together in our patterns of communication. This may help us to consider better ways of being, and of being together, and visualize other possibilities for constructing better social worlds.

The CMMI Fellowship program serves as an opportunity for scholar-practitioners to engage with a growing worldwide community that makes use of the CMM theory to make better social worlds. We do not expect prospective fellows to be well-versed in CMM at the start, but some working knowledge is helpful. Participation in the program can expect to make connections and support to further grow your knowledge and context.

Cosmopolis 2045 and Cosmokidz: Two programs offered by CMMI are specifically geared towards envisioning and enabling a future where citizens are equipped with the tools and practices of CMM, particularly those related to “Cosmopolitan Communication”. This year, we anticipate a special emphasis on Fellowships that either further develop or pioneer the use of Cosmokidz resources in teaching or expand our vision for a “Cosmopolitan future” by applying CMM to particular aspects of society.

Circular Questioning: A systems approach to family therapy that draws on CMM and other social constructionist principles that helps to analyze and intervene in complex social processes, using lineal, circular, strategic, and reflexive questions. Learn more at: Interventive Interviewing: Part III.

The CMM Institute offers a range of learning resources to engage with CMM and a community of scholars and practitioners who use it. For more information about the CMM Institute, contact Kim Pearce at kimpearce@aol.com.

To help you prepare your Fellowship application, you can learn more about CMM theory and resources, and both the Cosmokidz and Cosmopolis 2045 programs, at: www.cmminstitute.org

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