sustaining resistance: empowering renewal
13th to 27th May 2017

Tools for Effective-Sustainable Activism

A workshop in the Catalan Pyrenees

This workshop, in a remote and wild valley in the Catalan Pyrenees, offers a range of tools, collective and personal, which can make our activism more effective. These methods can help us avoid burnout and stay in it for the long haul, adding continuity to our movement building. They can be used to ensure the collective and organisational dimensions of our activism exemplify the values we’re struggling for. And they can help us stay inspired, nourished, & more creative in our tactical approach.

We are living in difficult times and those who turn towards them through activism face enormous challenges. Not only do we need to stay open to injustice, loss, and suffering in the world around us, but we also meet our own responses, our fears, frustrations and anger. How can we best work with these responses creatively to achieve our goals? Sometimes our efforts are hindered, not only by the objective circumstances of our times, but also, by the personal limitations and subjective tendencies we carry into our struggles. Where can we find the personal resources and skills that could make our action more effective and sustainable? And what collective tools can we use to enable our groups, organisations, and networks to better embody our values?

The course explores these issues using holistic and participatory methods – drawing on popular eductation, deep and radical ecology, systems thinking, and reflective practices. It will bring together activists from across Europe, to share practice and strengthen networks.

What are the aims of the course?

  1. 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.
  2. To offer tools which support more skilful inter-personal work in our groups and networks , and enable ways of organising which exemplify the values we want to realise in the world .
  1. To create a vibrant and supportive temporary community of activists, as a safe space for deep reflection, analysis, and the sharing of experience of the personal and inter-personal dimensions of our work – drawing nourishment and inspiration from each other and nature.

So, the workshop will help participants to:

1.1 Gain an increased awareness of the importance of self-care, and be better equipped to incorporate it in your life.

1.2 Learn ways of developing greater personal balance, clarity, inspiration, and resilience – including the use of inner work such as meditation.

1.3 Explore issues and techniques relevant to managing your energy, fears, frustrations, despair, and despondency – and become better able to avoid emotional hardening and cynicism.

2.1 Increase your understanding of group-work skills, including communication skills and ways of working with conflict.

2.2 Gain experience of methods of organising and community building, such as consensus-building and decision making, and explore the underlying values they express.

2.3 Examine issues around empowerment, leadership, understanding power dynamics and collective processes.

3.1 Reflect deeply on your own personal history of activism, identifying patterns and tendencies, and find ways of skilfully transforming these where needed.

3.2 Identify and drawn upon the sources of nourishment and inspiration that support your engagement and help you realise your potential as an organiser and empowered agent for social change.

Who is it aimed at?
Anyone with ongoing experience of action for social change: those involved in direct action, ongoing campaign work, community empowerment and anyone involved in socially engaged action addressing ecological, political and social justice issues. We consider activism to include: Resistance – action preventing further damage to ecosystems and social justice; Renewal – action focused on developing and creating alternatives for healthier societies and communities; and Building Resilience – action supporting increased resilience in communities to weather the uncertain times ahead.

For more background on the course and approach check out Self + Society: A Radical Response and Effective-Sustainable Activism.

We have some bursary funding available for activists from across Europe. There is space on the application to ask to be considered for these. If you do not require funding we hope you will be prepared to make a contribution. We run on a Dana Economy, which means we depend on donated contributions to ensure our events are economically viable. So please support the events and project by giving what you can. It helps us to plan the finances to know in advance what you can offer. We suggest a financial contribution of €300-€800 depending on your income. Contact us for an application form.

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