Regenerative Activism and the Ecology of Movements
Rich Mix, Shoredtich | Saturday 6th April 2019, 11am-9.30pm
Regenerative activism involves practices that renew and revitalise us and our movements, in the midst of our social and ecological struggles. Through a day of workshops, panel discussions and reflection, we’ll explore what this means at the personal, organisational and movement levels of activism and change making.
To make meaningful change, we will to need to be in it for the long haul. To face the inevitable failures and losses along the way, we will need deep resilience. To stay motivated and energised, in the face of the immense challenges, we will need deep wellsprings of inspiration. Regenerative practices can help.
With a regenerative approach to activism, our efforts to respond to social and ecological crises become the basis for remaking ourselves and deepening self-awareness. It involves creating collective initiatives that reveal the power of embodying our values together. It revitalises the radical imaginal of what we and our society can become. It is a container for nurturing the relationships of solidarity and care that we need at the heart of powerful and transformative social movements.
During the day we’ll explore regenerative activism in three interconnected spheres: the personal, the organisational, and the movement level. And we’ll conclude by focusing on the interplay between these levels and asking what a holistic approach to activism and movement building might look like.
The exploration will be in four phases:
1. Deeper Resources for Action: Individual and Inner Practices
We’ll ask: How can we balance inner sustenance with outer action? What kind of practices can offer the deeper resources we need to sustain our actions? Are spiritual approaches compatible with hard-nosed political realities? And what can we learn from radical psychiatry and neurodiversity?
2. Walking the Talk: Organisational and Group Dimensions
We’ll ask: How can we create institutions that truly embody our values? How do we balance idealism and pragmatism? What does a culture of care or a regenerative approach look like in our organisations? Are we getting any better that working with power and privilege? How can we balance the demands for urgency with the patience required to build effective organisations and movements?
3. The Ecology of Social Movements: The Creative Tensions of Collective Agency
We’ll ask: What does a healthy movement ecology look like? How can we work creatively with differences of strategy, identity, values, and movement roles? What part do movement cycles and seasons play? How can we balance autonomy and cooperation? What is resilience at a movement level? Are we getting any better at working with the tensions between the grassroots and the institutions? What can strategy look like amidst the high levels of complexity and non-linearity of a social movement?
4. Integral Activism and Holistic Movement Building
How can we integrate our learning from the previous discussions to create a vision for an integral activism and holistic understanding of movement building?
10.45 - Doors open
11.00 - Overview & Presentation - Ulex Project
11.35 - Panel 1: Deeper Resources for Action: Individual and Inner Practices
Mama D Ujuaje, Matt Carmichael, Gita Parihar, Kara Moses, Sam Weatherald
Host: Christabel Reed
12.50 - Breakout 1
Option: Mama D Ujuaje, Matt Carmichael, Kara Moses, Advaya & Gita Parihar
13.50 - Lunch
14.50 - Panel 2: Walking the Talk: Organisational and Group Dimensions
Fatima Ibrahim, Kat Wall, Byron Lee,
Host: Anna O’Brien
16.05 - Breakout 2
Option: Kat Wall, Byron Lee, Anna O’Brien
17.10 - Break
17.30 - Panel 3: The Ecology of Social Movements: The Creative Tensions of Collective Agency
Asad Rehman, more participants to be confirmed
Host: Gee, Ulex Project
19.00 - Supper
20.00 - Integral Activism and Holistic Movement Building: fishbowl/panel and discussion
20.45/21.00 - Hangout/Practice session
21.30/22.00 - End
Regenerative Activism: Holistic Movement Building deepens and furthers an initial exploration on the theme on Saturday 7th April 2018.
Gee, ULEX PROJECT — Joint organisers
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
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, WeMove.EU
Fatima Ibrahim is English Senior Campaigner at WeMove.EU. She was recently 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.
Gita Parihar, environmental advocate
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.
Mama D Ujuaje, Community Centred Knowledge
Mama D is a co-curator of 'The Food and Otherworldly Sensory Journeys' and a natural and life-long learning facilitator through plant whispering and embracing the mysteries of the primordial.
As a life-journey guide, Mama D works towards encouraging people of all descriptions to embrace agency in affirmatively reshaping our shared environments. She encourages considerate, mind-and-body-full and wholistic living through the use of a range of enjoyable, reflective, engaging and sometimes disruptive experiences. Transformation, Mama D feels, requires at least momentary detachment!
Mama D has worked in different physical environments, learning from all the elements that nourish and now realise that there is still more digesting to do. Food is such a good metaphor! She is a Food and other Social Justices advocate and organiser, writer and mediator.
Mama D works at soil-soul level where the grass roots are to be found. She supports the navigation of our relationships within the context of the ordinary extraordinary and using the me-ness of us-ness to bring Ubuntu irrationalities into our exchanges. She loved you before we came here and will after we are long gone.
Kara Moses, Rewild Everything
Kara Moses is a facilitator of all kinds of rewilding – landscapes, people, and society – offering experiential, educational courses in nature connection, spiritual ecology and skills for social change. She teaches and facilitates on short courses and Masters programs at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Schumacher College, the Ecodharma centre, Hawkwood College and St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation & Peace, where she is an Associate Fellow. She is Vice Chair of the Wales Wild Land Foundation, which is currently focused on rewilding land in mid Wales with the Cambrian Wildwood project. As a grassroots activist she has spent much of the last few years fighting the fossil fuel industry with Reclaim the Power and Plane Stupid, and as a freelance writer she contributes regularly to Resurgence and Ecologist magazine among others. She lives in an off-grid housing co-op in a core wilderness area in mid Wales with three dogs and five humans.
Christabel Reed & Ruby Reed Advaya Initiative
Advaya Initiative is an alternative think-tank seeking solutions to the interconnected crises of environmental destruction and mental health. We see the crises we are faced with today as a call to radical action: an opportunity to evolve, to come together and co-create. We inspire and empower young people and change makers to become activists for a better world, addressing narratives of disempowerment and exploring how to lead authentic lives in harmony with nature. We seek transformation at an individual and collective level while cultivating purposeful lives of connection and belonging.
Sam Weatherald, Sunday Assembley
Sam Weatherald is a community builder, facilitator, musician and mental health activist, and alumni of the Spiritual Ecology fellowship 2018. He is Community Organiser at Sunday Assembly East End, which he helped found in 2016, a secular congregational community where he organises assemblies, hosts, and occasionally drums in the house band! He is also founder of grassroots participatory arts and events collective Antenna, which organises bespoke events supporting and celebrating grassroots London social change communities. His most recent major project was a ‘A Mindful Mess 2018’ a three-day community arts festival in Poplar exploring the mind, mental health and ‘neurodiversity’, funded by Tower Hamlets council, for which he also published an anthology of creative contributions from local people on the theme. Having experienced severe chronic depression for most of his twenties, he is passionately committed to exploring the deep cultural and spiritual roots of disconnection and alienation which have led to the growing mental health crisis.
Matt Carmichael, Writer & Activist
Matt is a teacher, writer, homemaker and activist based in Leeds. After getting a degree in Theology from Durham Matt got involved with the Reclaim the Streets, Jubilee Debt and Roads protests of the 90s. Since then he has been campaigning on climate justice, including roles in 2 Climate Camps and a recent debate with the president of the NUM. He is a trustee of Tidal (an activist hub in Leeds) and a founder of Schumacher North, which seeks to understand our current ecological and social crises with a focus on the role of spirituality. In 2013 Matt created the Delta Course, an introduction to spirituality for people who are disillusioned with, or uninterested in, religion. His book 'Spiritual Activism', jointly authored with with Alastair McIntosh was published in 2015.
Kat Wall, Facilitator & Activist
Kat Wall is a trade union organiser/activist building coalitions and campaigns on the ground in Bristol. She has been a local organiser with the New Economy Organisers Network for several years, bringing together organisers, activists and campaigners working for social, economic and environmental justice to build capacity and support joint action. Kat is also a trained facilitator and draws on the teachings and traditions of Training for Change, Art of Hosting and Jane McAlevey.
Byron Lee, Bristol Happy City
Byron Lee is Director of Training and Consulting at Bristol Happy City, an organisation offering a place-based model of change that puts the wellbeing of current and future generations centre stage. He has 25 years experience or training and consultancy, and qualifications in counselling, coaching, education, mindfulness and positive psychology. His passions include cooking, family, gardening, music and having a go at almost anything (within reason of course).
Anna has provided free training, facilitation, conflict and accountability support to social and environmental justice activist groups for many years, alongside one to one support to key climate activists. She pays the bills via her interim work in the NHS.