Olive Network
for a kinder era



The Olive Network (ON) connects positive change makers. By forging links with charities, NGO’s, International Orgs, art galleries, science and education institutions, ON offers a 21st century meeting place that tilts societies lens towards the humanities and progressive long-term thinking. ON invites its users to share their own stories and engage with the organisations that have a presence on the platform.

Our ethos is reflected in the story of the olive tree which offers fruit and fuel and healing – the olive branch, a symbol of peace.

On this page you will find:






We recently prepared an 'about us' video.




The Olive Network Exhibition was scheduled to take place at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens this summer, but was postponed due to Covid-19 and is now live online to coincide with the launch of the Olive Network. Within the website you will find paintings contributed by international artists, music, films and stories drawn from the curated stories on the Olive Network (ON). Our aim is to connect positive change makers by tilting society’s lens to the progressive long term thinking of charities, the arts, science and humanities (alongside creating forums engaging in deliberative democracy).

The exhibition was to be a physical interpretation of the online ON project - a fountain, an olive tree, an exhibition of paintings, a wall size digital display telling stories and an interactive world map. There were to be talks and symposia illustrating how we hope to be a part of the progressive change enabled by the internet, acknowledging the good things people are doing and connecting positive change makers on a global scale built on the foundations of the compassion of the centuries.

When ON invited the artists to exhibit we loosely outlined a plot, hoping that they would submit works that were significant to the ethos of ON. It turns out that a theme has emerged; from Lisa Wright’s Blossom Keeper to Nicola Bealing’s Boy with a Burning Heart, from Gordon Ellis Brown’s XV11 (Space) to Hugh Mendes’ Don’t Forget Earth and Jesse Leroy Smith’s Great Editor in the Sky, all are suggesting we look at our home in a different way. And with a passion for the finite beauty that is life.

The olive tree can live for over 2,000 years and still bear fruit. It can provide light, shelter, food, fuel and healing. For thousands of years, the olive tree has served as a symbol of peace and unity.

We believe the Olive Network is an inclusive democratic network fit for progressive change in the 21st century.


ON reflects a sea change in how we perceive global interconnection and provides the ideal platform to share initiatives happening globally that will inspire investment in our environments. JESSE LEROY SMITH

‘PEACE’ is a painting which seems to chime with the Olive Network. It speaks of the vulnerability of youth and the future of our climate in the hands of the next generation. LISA WRIGHT

For this exhibition and in support of the Olive Network, I am showing 'Wallinger/Banksy' a painting of Mark Wallinger's recreation in Tate Britain of Brian Haw's protest encampment outside Parliament, as represented in 'The Guardian' newspaper. Also a print which quotes the Pope on the occasion of the first man on the moon... 'Dont Forget Earth'! This in a way was the beginning of the ecology movement. HUGH MENDES

I value the environment, I am concerned about how this period of dominant geological Anthropocene is destroying the planet. In these difficult times the Olive Network creates a platform for individuals and groups - emphasising solutions rather than news feeds of negative passivity.  MARK SURRIDGE

Ring ‘O Roses represents the fragility of life and the need for individuals to stand together in order to move forward. The title, seemingly innocent and taken from the nursery rhyme, harks back to childhood and hints at a darker threat. These children should be seen as individuals, but by placing them next to each other reaching out across the divide, I want you to see their struggle to connect. SHELLY TREGONING

My work raises questions about environmental sustainability, juxtaposing ancient and modern cultural signifiers to ask how we might reverse the devastating impacts of modernity and globalisation to preserve our precious natural resources. GORDON ELLIS BROWN

Boy with a burning heart. An unheroic being is aflame with unnamed passion. It gives him wings to take on the world. NICOLA BEALING

Monolith is an oil study from a small series of works discussing ideas around the subjects of ‘Ecology’ and ‘Social Networks’. The series looks at Standing Stones across the UK as the original conduits or devices of social networks – an attempt by the Druids to bring social cohesion. Each stone is a symbolic marker to an individual tribe and the cycle of nature. The unsustainable use of our current devices whilst bringing us ‘together’, threatens the ecological balance; the mining, manufacturing of raw materials and processing capabilities are destroying the environment. ADAM DIX

The drawings were made in 2019 when planning “Holding Breath” - a large scale installation for Tremenheere sculpture park in Cornwall. Similarly to the sculpture, the drawings become about a place where an object exists in a state of transition and experiences a seismic shift. This shift creates new gestures, vistas and space in-between. In relation to this, the Olive Network talks about our connection to the Earth and some of these shifts directly relate to socio-political and economic issues.  AMY and OLIVER THOMAS IRVINE

To visit the website – http://www.olivenetwork.space - artists works are available for purchase.

For further information contact: [email protected] +44 (0)1326 240517



This weekend a new social media platform is launched - the Olive Network (ON). Originally destined for a month’s long exhibition with talks at Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens in Cornwall, this mid-pandemic world has pushed the opening to being purely online. An exhibition by international artists supporting the work of the ON, to coincide with the launch, can be seen here - Olive Network Exhibition.

ON offers users a different style of digital working. The pace of the newsfeed is slower, considered, curated and features stories of people and organisations making a difference. The focus is on charities, organisations doing good in tough conditions, artists, scientists and inventors pushing boundaries with their stories encouraging us to question and potentially engage with them. There is the capacity to use ON for deliberative democracy and surveys but for most it will be a view into progressive thinking.

ON can be used to gain insight into long-term positive change. ON can be used as a way to connect with like-minded groups. ON can enable charities to connect with others in their sector and their supporters.

At a time when everyone is questioning life in the mid and post Covid-19 world ON offers a different path to business as usual. ON suggests that society could become based upon the arts and humanities over commerce and consumerism. ON was seeded in the idea that people across all cultures could perhaps create a new equality. Grass roots, ground up.

What is ON:

ON is social media, similar to Facebook – but we do not harvest data for profit.

ON shares stories of progressive long-term thinking. You can share them too.

ON creates micro sites for charities to engage with a new audience.

ON aims to foster kindness and compassion via the internet.

ON offers the option to engage in deliberative democracy.

ON is based on an ethical platform.

Who is ON for:

ON is for anyone to use as a personal or societal network.

ON is for schools and universities, for education and research.

ON is for small charities in developing countries to use as their website.

ON is for anyone who wishes to avoid disinformation and big tech.

ON is for positive change. Join and you are doing just that.


Roger Thorp – Founder

I remember, as a child, visiting the library in the village where I was born. It was like entering a different world. The essential quiet. Always warm. The slightly sweet aroma of the books stacked on the old wooden shelves. The images on the covers inviting me in.

Is there anywhere quiet to go anymore, a sanctuary, away from the ‘noise’? The church is no longer a touchstone, the library has been abandoned or lost its warmth to the incivilities of the internet. We are bombarded with trash imagery begging us to buy or worse, submit. The popular press applauds sensationalism and chills the truth. Arts and culture are being erased from education. No sanctuary.

Connect the spiritual crises to the ecological crisis that we face and there is a desperate need for long-term thinking alongside an injection into the system of something immediate – some kind of honesty, reasonableness and vision?

Peter Kirby – Creative Director

Sometimes the world isn’t as awful as the sellers of news suggest. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by it all (no wonder we seek comfort in videos of break-dancing squirrels). Yet, in amongst these dark chasms stretch barely visible tightropes of hope. Moments that remind us what humanity is, people being kind beyond reason, doing things that confound the cards they’ve been dealt. If we knew where to find all these rare stories, in one place, might things pick up, little by little?

This is why the Olive Network ON exists - to connect people who are making a difference. ON scours the Earth for people doing extraordinary things, acts of defiance, ingenuity and optimism, then weaves them into a feel-good web more in keeping with Tim-Berners Lee’s original intention. 

ON is a selfless social network that makes you wonder how twitter, Instagram and Facebook would survive without your data. ON is on your side, as all platforms must be to earn your trust. One day, ON may prove to be a distant forefather to XR, or even the renegade child of the UN. Until then, may it just restore your faith in people (and squirrels).

Ben Suffell – Charities Consultant

The charity (3rd) sector’s reputation has recently taken a severe knock. ON has the ability to show the global community just how amazing the 3rd sector is; it’s real, it’s true, it’s happening. The charity sector needs our support, it has the ability to tackle tiny issues as well as the big ones with a relevance to our society that government often lacks. By being positive and spreading knowledge about what the 3rd sector is doing, the people that really care about these issues and highlighting how they’re tackling them, that’s how we’ll find our way, in a positive light, that’s how we’ll find our solutions. 

Jesse Leroy Smith – Contributing Artist

ON reflects a sea change in how we perceive global interconnection and provides the ideal platform to share initiatives happening globally that will inspire investment in our environments.

The olive tree can live for over 2,000 years and still bear fruit. It can provide light, shelter, food, fuel and healing. For thousands of years, the olive tree has served as a symbol of peace and unity.

We believe the Olive Network is an inclusive democratic network fit for progressive change in the 21st century.


For further information contact: [email protected] +44 (0)1326 240517



The Olive Network has grown not only as the upshot of an internet innovation but as the result of years of work in ethics, charities fundraising, media, communications and the arts.

Roger Thorp – Founder: Roger is a film-maker and artist. An important tranche of his career was working as a producer/director for NGO’s and Charities including WWF, International Labour Organisation, International Red Cross and United Nations Environment Programme.

David Seedhouse – Founder Values Exchange: David created the Values Exchange while a lecturer and Professor at universities in the UK and NZ.  David is an original thinker and prolific author, having written or edited sixteen books (including second and third editions), published by Wiley and Sage.

Ben Suffell – Partner and Charities Consultant: Ben currently runs a charity fund raising organisation. Marketing, account management, people management, finance, business direction, new technology and fundraising consultancy are where his skills lie.

Lucy Thorp – Partner and Communications: Lucy’s background is in media relations at Greenpeace UK and Sustrans – the National Cycle Network - and in establishing new online ventures.

Peter Kirby – Partner and Copywriter: Peter’s background is in the advertising world working on extensive national and international campaigns. His creative writing has appeared in The Guardian, Design Museum, Channel 4 and Tate.