Tracking Language: Final Report

We're happy to tell the story of our Tracking Language project.

This pilot project was funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation to explore how the makers of Chrysalis talked to one another whilst actively engaged in dreaming, co-designing and actually co-creating it.

Why would you do that you might ask? Well, the study of how humans talk with one another, often in casual conversation, when engaged in making together, especially with their hands, teaches us a lot about how we adapt to new ways of seeing ourselves as active players in life - connecting up to a wider community and as part of the Earth’s living systems.

"What we say shows what we see. What we see shows what we understand and shapes how we will act."

These are the words of Shirley Brice Heath the linguistic anthropologist who helped us design and lead Tracking Language. She and her colleague Colleen Cotter made fascinating observations throughout the period of the Making of Chrysalis - how often did people say ‘I’ or ‘we’? How did the ‘rolling history’ - from idea to realisation - form and take a hold as something people could believe in and commit their time and energies to? How do people shift in thinking something's not possible to seeing that it is?  This happens through language and how we choose to use it.

The report is easy to read we hope. Do take a moment to read it. Let us know any reflections you have. We're hoping to take the work to another stage and design a curriculum to train up Citizen Anthropologists soon. We would love to hear from you.

If you would like a hard copy of the report please email

Download the report

Related Project


Tracking Language

Encounters’ Tracking Language Project, funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, pilots a new approach to the evaluation of creative participatory projects in the UK.