Regenerative Activism:

Revitalising Self and Society

The Cockpit, Marylebone | Saturday 7th April, 9.00am-5.00pm

An exploration of tools and approaches that can transform our activism into a source for flourishing, both individually and socially.

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Join Advaya Initiative and Ulex Project for a unique and timely contribution to addressing a key challenge of our time: how to achieve effective social change while creating personal and collective resilience, enabling our action to be a source of flourishing - individually, together and for society. 

A day of presentations, discussions and workshops bringing together leading activists and change makers from across the UK and beyond, including:

Justine Huxley (St. Ethelburga's) • Asad Rehman (War on Want) • Alasdair Roxburgh (Friends of the Earth) • Sophy Banks (Transition Towns Movement) Bayo Akomolafe (The Emergence Network) • Pat McCabe (Indigenous Rights) • Sarah Corbett (Craftivist Collective) • Natasha Adams (Co-Director at Organising for Change) • Rachel Lilley (Aberystwyth University) • Guhyapati (Ulex Project & The Eco-Dharma Centre) • Gita Parihar (Legal Consultant) • Ruby & Christabel Reed (Advaya Initiative)

 

 

Those of us involved in social change are all too familiar with the challenge of meeting injustice and hardship in the world. Our aim is to explore a range of tools and approaches, collective and personal, to make our activism more effective and sustainable. We will look at the personal and inner dimensions, as well as the interpersonal and organisational factors that enable long term engagement and continuity in the struggles we face. We hope to understand how our work for social change can be a context for flourishing, both individually and socially.

We will explore these issues using holistic and participatory methods, drawing on popular education, ecological and systems thinking, as well as reflective practices. The day will bring together leading activists and change makers from across the UK and beyond, to share practice and strengthen networks. It will be made up of presentations, discussion and workshops, which will aim to:

  • Explore methods of working effectively with the personal and inner dimension of activism, helping us take better care of ourselves, equipping us to avoid burnout and to better empower ourselves for action.
  • Share ways of supporting more skilful interpersonal work in our groups and networks, and enable ways of organising which exemplify the values we want to realise in the world.

  • Create a vibrant and supportive space for those involved in social change work to reflect deeply, analyse and share our experience of the personal and interpersonal dimensions of our work – finding nourishment, inspiration and learning from each other.

 

 
 

SCHEDULE: 


 
09.30 - OPENING TALK - ULEX PROJECT


10.15 - NGO PANEL DISCUSSION HOSTED BY GITA PARIHAR: 


- ASAD REHMAN (WAR ON WANT)

- Fatima ibrahim (avaaz)

- ALASDAIR ROXBURGH (FRIENDS OF THE EARTH)


- SOPHY BANKS (TRANSITION TOWNS MOVEMENT)


11.00 - BREAK


11.15 - TALKS PART 1 + Q&A


12.25 - LUNCH


13.10 - TALKS PART 2 + Q&A


14.20 - BREAK


14.30 - A CHOICE OF WORKSHOPS


16.00 - CLOSING REFLECTION & GROUP DISCUSSION


17.00 - END

 

The Talks:

JUSTINE HUXLEY:
AWAKENING THE HEART: INNER & OUTER REGENERATION

RACHEL LILLEY:
IT'S NOT HOW IT LOOKS:
HOW NEUROSCIENCE & BUDDHISM INFORMS OUR ACTIVISM

NATASHA ADAMS:  
COMMUNITY ORGANISING AND TRANSFORMING COLLECTIVE CULTURE

BAYO AKOMOLAFE:
A POST-ACTIVISM OF DESIRE, WELLBEING, JUSTICE & FAILURE

PAT MCCABE
THRIVING LIFE: INDIGENOUS WAYS OF KNOWING

SARAH CORBETT:
CRAFTIVISM: THE ART OF GENTLE ACTIVISM


A Choice of Workshops

Once you've bought your ticket you will recieve an email to choose your workshop
FIRST COME FIRST SERVE!

 

ULEX PROJECT:
REGENERATIVE ACTIVISM

JUSTINE HUXLEY: 
INTEGRATING THE SHADOW: SYSTEMS THINKING FOR THE MIND

SARAH CORBETT:
A POSITIVE NOTE IN COLLABORATION WITH MIND

SOPHY BANKS:
THRIVING PROJECTS, THRIVING PEOPLE

PAT MCCABE:

ALIGNMENT WITH EARTH AND PURPOSE: MOVING FROM THE INSIDE TO MEET THE WORLD, AS THE WORLD


Collaborators

ULEX PROJECT

Organiser, Speaker & Workshop Host

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Opening Talk:  

A keynote opening presentation, drawing on 10 years of running workshops for activists in personal and organisational sustainability. Touching on the themes of the day the presentation will enable the audience to reflect and share on the importance of the issues at hand.

Workshop Description: 

Drawing on the toolkit from their Regenerative Activism training, the Ulex collective will use participatory methods to help us reflect on the personal, interpersonal and political dimensions of activist sustainability, to deepen our understanding of the challenges that face us, and develop strategies to stay inspired and effective for the long haul.

 

Bio: 

A hub of collaboration, the Ulex Project is run by Col·lectiu Eco-Actiu, a non-profit involved in the design and delivery of residential trainings since 2008. The Ulex Project is a fresh initiative building on that experience. Ulex Project believe that connectivity is a key to cognitive vitality and learning. Diversity is crucial to resilience and adaptive capacity. We live at a time where social and ecological challenges require a shift from atomised individualism to networks of solidarity. It implies a new collectivity which still honours individuality. It requires cooperation balanced with autonomy. Ulex thrives on connectivity and seeks to be a reference for value based collaboration. Ulex works with numerous individuals and organisations to design and deliver our training programme. They establish partnerships with organisations across Europe and internationally. They bring diverse groups and individuals together in learning communities. They support organisations, groups, and individuals to foster collaborations, build networks, share experience, and deepen movement resilience through meaningful connection.


ASAD REHMAN (WAR ON WANT)

Participant in the NGO Panel

Bio: Asad Rehman is the executive director of War on Want, where he organises to put an end to poverty and injustice. Prior to that, he was the head of international climate at Friends of the Earth. Rehman has over 25 years of experience in the non-government and charity sector. He has served on boards of Amnesty International UK, Friends of the Earth International, Global Justice Now, and Newham Monitoring Project.


FATIMA IBRAHIM (AVAAZ)

Participant in the NGO Panel

Bio: Fatima Ibrahim is a campaigner with the global citizens movement Avaaz, working on variety of issues including the climate, land rights, and bringing the war in Yemen to an end. Prior to joining Avaaz she was an activists with the UK Youth Climate Coalition mobilising young people around the UN Climate Talks. 

 


ALASDAIR ROXBURGH (FRIENDS OF THE EARTH)

Participant in the NGO Panel

Bio: Alasdair Roxburgh Director of Networks and Communities at Friends of the Earth.


SOPHY BANKS (TRANSITION TOWNS MOVEMENT)

Participant in the NGO Panel & Workshop Host

Workshop Description: Thriving Projects, Thriving People. 

In this workshop we will come to understand the three core aspects of group life, so that we are better able to take care of the life blood of any group: the relationships between people.  This workshop will offer practical tools to help groups create balanced, enjoyable, effective ways of working together.
 

Bio: Coming from a background in engineering and computing, Sophy soon realised that there were many questions technology couldn’t answer, and in 1995 she started her inner journey. She has worked as a psychotherapist, family constellator and workshop leader combining insights from indigenous traditions, western therapy schools and meditation practices. In 2006 Sophy helped to set up the first “Heart and Soul” group of the newly forming Transition Town Totnes (link is external) , the first experiment in a movement (link is external) which thousands of communities globally have tried in some form. In her ten years at the heart of Transition she has trained people around the world in the model evolved in Totnes, to reimagine and build a vibrant, sustainable and inclusive future at the scale of local community. Sophy’s passion was to bring deep insights and processes to a movement tending to focus on external change. In 2016 Sophy stepped back from the Transition movement to give time to her own work and teaching. She played a lot of football in her youth, and is proud to grow most of her own vegetables and just about get up the Devon hills on her bike.


JUSTINE HUXLEY (ST ETHELBURGA'S)

Speaker & Workshop Host

Talk Description:

Awakening the heart: Inner and outer regeneration

To bring our world back into balance, we need to go beyond dualistic thinking and oppositional activism, transforming frenetic activity into change that arises from a deeper, more holistic place. We need to establish the wisdom of interbeing in the core of ourselves, as well as in how we live and work and organise. Justine will translate the key concepts of ecological rewilding into daily life practices and inner work that enable us to regenerate ourselves from the inside out, fall in love with life, and bring about social change from a place of honouring what is most sacred.

 

Workshop Description:

Integrating the Shadow: Systems Thinking For The Mind

Systems thinking and biomimicry are transforming the way we live and work and organise. But how is that reflected in our inner lives? By recognising and reclaiming our shadow – those parts of ourselves we have disowned - we gain access to more wisdom, energy and wholeness – all of which can be used to power our efforts towards social change. When we are no longer caught in judging ourselves or others, we liberate primal energy and rewild ourselves from within. Gradually discarding the cloudy lens of our own conditioning, we learn to pick our battles more wisely and engage with joy rather than anger. In this mini workshop you’ll meet an aspect of yourself you look down on, and see how it can help you come alive.

 

Bio:

Justine is the Director of St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace where she has worked for over 10 years. St Ethelburga’s work is about enabling people from diverse backgrounds to collaborate across differences to build a global culture of peace. It works with leadership, particularly in the younger generation, with sacred activism, spiritual ecology, community reconciliation, and with refugees. St Ethelburga’s programmes call us to reconnect with our deepest values and sense of meaning, and to co-create action in the world that comes from that place.

Justine has a Ph.D in psychology and also spent 5 years on the trading floor of a City investment bank - an invaluable spiritual boot camp which taught her how to remain rooted in the Real when in the midst of consumerist greed and power games. She has a passion for bringing people together from different backgrounds and co-creating projects that speak to the needs of the time. She brings a wealth of experience in deep listening, facilitation, and working with emergent process.


BAYO AKOMOLAFE (THE EMERGENCE NETWORK)

Speaker (via Skype)

Talk description:

Activists are made of apples, pixels and monstrous things: a postactivism of desire, wellbeing, justice and failure.

Who is the subject of activism or burnout? To whom do we refer when we speak about the 'activist'? At what point would our actions and practices have sedimented long enough to be considered a heap of justice? What does victory look like in a rhizomatic world that resists beginnings and endings? And what if we fail? Are there new questions we can ask about caring for ourselves? Are there new capacities that emerge from noticing we derive our being only in the relational matrix of other nonhuman agencies? In this story about postactivism - a queering of the usual trope of ethical responsivity in a more-than-human world - Bayo Akomolafe shares why we are seductively drawn into new understandings about our entanglement with the world, and why this destabilizes our usual lines of reasoning about how to be more efficient, or take better care of ourselves, in our quests for 'justice'.

 

Bio: 

A renegade academic, lecturer, speaker, and proud diaper-changer, Bayo Akomolafe curates an earth-wide organization (The Emergence Network) to respond to civilizational crisis - a project framed within a feminist ethos and inspired by indigenous cosmologies. He considers this a shared art - exploring the edges of the intelligible, dancing with post-humanist ideas, dabbling in the mysteries of quantum mechanics and the liberating sermon of an ecofeminism text, and talking with others about how to host a festival of radical silence on a street in London - and part of his inner struggle to regain a sense of rootedness to his community. He also hosts a course (We Will Dance with Mountains) among other offerings. In short, Bayo has given up his longing for the "end-time" and is learning to live in the "mean time". In the middle, where we must live with confusion and make do with partial answers. His greatest vocation is however learning to be a satellite orbiting his greatest gift, his goddess Ijeoma, and knowing the blessings of her gravity. He speaks and teaches about his experiences around the world, and then returns to his adopted home in Chennai, India - "where the occasional whiff of cow dung dancing in the air is another invitation to explore the vitality of a world that is never still and always surprising." Bayo has authored two books, ‘We Will Tell Our Own Story!’ and ‘These Wilds Beyond our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity’s Search for Home’.


PAT MCCABE (INDIGENOUS RIGHTS

Speaker & Workshop Host

Talk:

Thriving Life: Indigenous Ways of Knowing

Workshop Desciption:

ALIGNMENT WITH EARTH AND PURPOSE: MOVING FROM THE INSIDE TO MEET THE WORLD, AS THE WORLD

The Elders say we are made for ritual. Our biology, our electrical system, our spiritual aspect. I will speak about what my practices are and lead some to practice.

Bio: 

Woman Stands Shining, Pat McCabe, has the honor of being of the Dine (Navajo) Nation. A Life-Bringer, Life-Bearer Mother, writer, artist, activist, speaker and cultural liason, her work is driven by the study of the Science of Right Relations. Moving from the central knowledge that We, The Five-Fingered-Ones, are born into Beauty, as Beauty, for Joyful Life, she brings the understanding of Indigenous ways of knowing into discussion and inquiry on Sustainability. Born to a People who have deep understanding and methodology for Restoration, she carries the Beauty Way into places where it has formerly been kept out. Pat is an active participant in Indigenous Peoples gatherings worldwide most recently in Chile, Belgium, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico and Bali. She has worked with the International Center for Cultural Studies in India and with Sarvodaya with Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne in Sri Lanka, as well as with organizations and gatherings in the U.S. Her recent work includes being a cultural consultant to the Pachamama Alliance, Inner Circle Invitee to the Language of Spirit Dialogue - Dialogue between Quantum Physicists, Linguists, Scientists and Indigenous knowledge keepers. Upcoming work includes the AUM National gathering, Women's teachings In Chile, and work with Israeli and Palestinian women.


SARAH CORBETT (CRAFTIVIST COLLECTIVE)

Speaker & Workshop Host

Talk: 

Craftivism: The Art of Gentle Activism

Activism often conjures up quick transactional signing of petitions, clicktivism, loud and aggressive ways to demand justice. Craftivist Collective's mission is simple: we believe craft can be a tool for gentle effective activism. By working with your hands, head and heart, craftivism can help us explore injustice issues and how they affect the world around us, we can create something beautiful, considered, positive and potentially world-changing that creates critical thinking, conversation, connection and long term social change.

 

Workshop Description: 

‘A Positive Note’

in collaboration with Mind, the mental health charity (all profits go to Mind)

A special opportunity to send a positive message to your Member of Parliament (MP) encouraging them to help improve the lives of people with mental health problems. This is an important time in the campaign for health equality because we have a new UK Government in place where every MP vote and seat counts, and we have lots of new MPs because of the General Election, so it’s important as a constituent to engage them and their local staff in what you care about. Furthermore, mental health was in the manifestos of all the political parties as an important issue to tackle so that they are more accountable to show they are working towards better mental health support. The issue of mental health is finally becoming less of a taboo. It is being discussed more and features more frequently in the media and in daily conversation. Sadly one in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year. I truly believe (and so do Mind) that we can make a positive difference with these positive notes. One stitch at a time.

 

Bio:

Award-winning campaigner Sarah Corbett founded Craftivist Collective in 2009 when after years of marches, signing protests and working on campaigns for large charities, she had begun to doubt the effects of some conventional activism, and as an introvert didn’t feel she fitted in to many activist groups. The time felt right to add a slower and less aggressive approach to the activism toolkit, not to replace other forms of activism but to add more tools to do activism effectively. Sarah saw how she could use some of the beneficial processes of craft and the final products as tools for a more gentle, respectful and more targeted way of doing activism. Although as a principle ‘Craftivism’ already existed, it took no time for Sarah to develop her own unique and award-winning activism approach she calls ‘Gentle Protest’.

Now with thousands of members, Craftivist Collective is thriving. Craftivism kits and tools are sold to craftivists and intrigued people all over the world. ‘A Little Book of Craftivism‘ book was release 2003 and a more in-depth book 'How To Be A Craftivist: The Art of Gentle Protest'  was released in October 2017. You can find their approach to craftivism in many different publications (and languages) around the world; 4 TEDx talks; over 300 workshops and presentations given around the world attended by over 11,000 people, and many successful partnerships with charities (including Unicef and Save the Children), art institutionsand universities (such as Bauhaus University, Falmouth University and Parsons New School NYC) have all helped carry the‘gentle protest’ methodology to a global audience whilst their campaigns have created tangible positive change. Worldwide project exhibitions and high profile collaborations, with the likes of cult jewellers Tatty Devine, The V&A and Secret Cinema, have helped extend its reach beyond the normal bounds of activism.

 


NATASHA ADAMS (ORGANISING FOR CHANGE)

Speaker

Talk Description:

Community Organising and Transforming Collective Culture.

Natasha will talk about community organising and transforming collective culture from the perspective of her work with Organising for Change, which is delivering training on these things, framing it within the context of her own personal disillusionment with much funded campaigning and personal transformation through mindfulnness and meditation.

Bio: Natasha’s years as a grassroots activist focused on environmental and social justice, and anti-militarism, evolved into a career as a professional campaigner which has spanned the last decade. She is a self described social change geek, obsessed about bringing fresh perspectives to the important question of how best campaigns, especially those focused on transformative systems change, can succeed. To this end she has convened numerous workshops and events exploring the theory and practice of many aspects of campaigning, and has gained a reputation as an activism expert in the UK. Having become frustrated with the limitations of NGO campaigning, Natasha now works as a campaign consultant freelancer, prioritising grassroots campaigning and strategies to nurture social movements. Natasha is a Co-Director of Organising for Change, a women' training collective focused on community organising and transforming the culture of groups and organisation. She also runs the Engaging Activists Facebook group and writes her own blog on activism and social change


RACHEL LILLEY (ABERYSWYTH UNIVERSITY)

Speaker

Talk Description:

It’s not how it looks... How Neuroscience & Buddhism Informs Our Activism

 A brain is not evolved for rationality, happiness or accurate perception. Neuroscience and contemporary theories of the brain agree with Buddhist teaching, that the brain is not designed to see reality. We understand this more than ever, so how does this effect how we work as activists to create change?
 
By understanding the latest theories of the brain, combined with practices of insight and reflection, we can make our work more effective and understand better the challenges of change making.  This work draws from empirical research, developing, delivering and evaluating programmes in change making organisations. Rachel shows that learning about the brain from both a personal (mindfulness) and theoretical (neuroscience, psychology, behavioural economics) perspective can transform the way people work.  How an understanding of unconscious bias, the role of emotions and intuition in decision making, together with increased self-awareness, meta cognitive and perspective taking skills, could help create the next cognitive evolution that might help us achieve revolutionary change.

Bio: Rachel is a mindfulness academic, advisor and trainer with over 20 years’ experience in social and environmental change, through activism, community engagement, project delivery, training and yoga teaching. She has worked on homelessness, international development, Aids, Permaculture, climate change, human rights and sustainability education. She lived and worked in coops for over 15 years, where she brought up  her two children. She is now a leading researcher on mindfulness as a means of supporting change and delivers a masterclass on her work at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.  Her research looks at how internal awareness and development can create capacities in activists, leaders and change organisations to enable them to better deal with 'wicked' and complex problems such as climate change and social inequality. She has worked extensively with Welsh Government, developing and evaluating programmes bringing mindfulness together with the behavioural sciences. She has a background in combined social sciences,  and is currently completing a PhD on this work at Aberystwyth University.


GITA PARIHAR (CAMPAIGNS CONSULTANT)

Organiser & NGO Panel Host

Gita was Head of Legal at Friends of the Earth until July 2016 and has spent 12 years working with and for campaigning organisations, using her skills as a solicitor to bring environmental cases and advise at international negotiations on issues like climate change. This gives her a deep familiarity with the rewards and challenges of environmental activism. Alongside her legal work, Gita is passionate about exploring approaches to saving the planet that sustain us as human beings. Gita is a trustee of the UKYCC and the Climate Justice Fund and currently studying for an MA in Spirituality and Ecology at Schumacher college.


THE COCKPIT

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The Cockpit is the only purpose built theatre-in-the-round in Central London. As well as performances, the theatre hosts classes and professional development courses. Both the auditorium and studios are available to hire, for shows, rehearsals, photo or film shoots, auditions, workshops, and seminars. The Cockpit is owned and supported by City of Westminster College. thecockpit.org.uk

The Cockpit, Gateforth Street, Marylebone, London NW8 8EH
Nearest stations: Edgware Road (Hammersmith & City, District, Circle, Bakerloo), Marylebone (Bakerloo, main line). Both are about a 7 minute walk.

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