Regenerative Activism and the Ecology of Movements
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.
Saturday 6th April 2019, 11:00am–11:00pm UK Time Rich Mix, Shoreditch
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:
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- ** 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?
Schedule - Participants & Workshop descriptions below:#
10.45 - Doors open
11.00 - Overview & Presentation - Ulex Project
11.35 - Panel 1: Deeper Resources for Action: Individual and Inner Practices
12.50 - Breakout 1
13.50 - Lunch
14.50 - Panel 2: Walking the Talk: Organisational and Group Dimensions
16.05 - Breakout 2
17.10 - Break
17.30 - Panel 3: The Ecology of Social Movements: The Creative Tensions of Collective Agency
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
Deeper resources for action: individual and inner practices - panel discussion and Q&A with:#
- Matt Carmichael (Spiritual Activism)
- Mama D (Community Centred Knowledge)
- Kara Moses (Rewild Everything)
- Gita Parihar (Environmental Advocate)
- Sam Weatherald (Sunday Assembly)
- Alex Swain (Ulex Project)
- Host: Christabel Reed (Advaya Initiative)
Deeper resources for rction - workshop choices:#
Mama D: Plural Ontologies or Epistemologies of Inner Self
Indigenous or ‘native’ ways of relating to life and the planet do not necessarily approach things based on separations or distinctions based upon inner and outer. It is sad that the Cartesian dualities have established separations of mind, body and spirit in the way they have and reduced so much to atomic values. Nevertheless, as our language is the imperial language of English, and as such is imbued with these distinctions, we can but endeavour to explore something more whole and accessible as we together negotiate the rocky and sometimes turbulent but inherently lovingly curated journey towards a more ‘resonant livity’!
Matt Carmichael: Practices That Nurture Hope
In Emily Dickinson’s poem, hope is a bird in our souls that “never stops at all”. In a spiritual perspective, hope is not dependent on circumstances or optimism, but a life-giving inner resource that is there to be found and nurtured. Matt will briefly introduce four types of practice – gratitude practices, mortality practices, presence practices and vocation practices – that feed the bird of hope. Teaching, open discussion and tasters of some spiritual disciplines.
Kara Moses: Rewilding Activism - creating a movement based on connection
Deep connection with nature can be a source of power and resilience to support our social change work, making us more effective, holistic activists and less prone to burnout. We can choose to do this on an individual level but it must also be integrated into the collective for empowerment on a movement level. How can we bring the wisdom and support of nature into our groups and our movements? Based on models of rewilding, we’ll discuss these themes and ideas for how to implement them.
Ruby Reed, Christabel Reed + Gita Parihar: The Roots & Fruits of our Actions
What is at the root of our action and what sustains us? How do we orientate ourselves towards action and what role does this play in maintaining inner resilience? Over the course of this workshop we will explore ideas from two ancient texts, The Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras, to see what light they might shine on how we can rise up to face the challenges of the modern day in a way that renews and revitalises ourselves, others and the Earth.
Alex Swain: Meditation Maps and Skills for Deep Resilience
How is Deep Resilience established? What are the elements which constitute it? What personal/inner qualities can we develop that will enable sustainability, effectiveness, wellness, authenticity and flourishing in our Social Change Practice?
This session will offer some introductory theory - a simple and clear meditative map - and some practical meditation teaching, exploration and practice, with time for questions. Come explore!
Walking the Talk: organisational and group dimensions - panel discussion and Q&A with:#
- Kat Wall (Organising for Change)
- Fatima Ibrahim (We Move EU)
- Stephen Reid (Psychedelic Society)
- Byron Lee (Bristol Happy City)
- Host: Anna O’Brien
*Anna O’Brien: Whiteness and racism - talking about talking *
What happens in conversations, groups or events when these get discussed? What’s your experience? What works and what doesn’t? Experiential discussion. White facilitator. Everyone welcome.
Kat Wall: Foundations, Visions and Culture
Groups are a core part of the ecology for social movements - whether formal organisations or spontaneous gatherings of humans for a few days. How we form, vision and work together is a vital ingredient in creating transformative social change. In this workshop we will explore what makes for joyful, transformative groups (and what doesn’t!), and how we can intentionally create spaces where we can thrive in doing the work of changing the world
The Ecology of Social Movements: the creative tensions of collective agency - panel discussion and Q&A with:#
- Asad Rehman (War on Want)
- Nicolò Wojewoda (350.org)
- May MacKeith (Natural Resilience Project / End Deportations & Stansted 15)
- Ali Tamlit (End Deportations, Resist & Renew)
- Host: Gee (Ulex Project)
Regenerative Activism: Holistic Movement Building deepens and furthers an initial exploration on the theme on Saturday 7th April 2018.
Saturday 6th April 2019, 11:00am–11:00pm UK Time Rich Mix, Shoreditch
Matt Carmichael #
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 Alastair McIntosh was published in 2015.
Gita Parihar #
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.
Christabel Reed #
Christabel Reed is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist trained in Hatha, Ayurveda and the lineage of Krishnamacharya and Sri Desikachar. At the heart of her practice and teaching is the exploration of how we can come back to our most natural state — to our wholeness.
Kat Wall #
Kat is a trainer, facilitator and researcher. She is co-founder and co-director of organising for change - a training collective that builds the capacity of those working for a co-created, mutually supportive society, rooted in the principles of environmental, racial and social justice. Kat also works as a facilitator supporting movement groups to collaborate well and for the long term. She is also currently involved in a research project exploring how to build strong and effective collaboration for social change.
Byron Lee #
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).
Nicolò Wojewoda #
Nicolò Wojewoda is a climate change campaigner and organiser, currently Europe Team Leader at 350.org. He coordinated in 2013 the Fossil Free Europe tour that boosted divestment campaigning in the region. He now oversees regional efforts on fossil fuel divestment, “keep it in the ground” mobilisations, disrupting fossil fuel finance, and helping build a broad, diverse and powerful European climate justice movement.
Gee (Guhyapati) #
Guhyapati has been spearheading a pioneering Eco-Dharma community in the Pyrenees for many years, and wants to see some of the principles of that movement brought to bear in our own lives of practice, giving rise to new projects that will re-shape the personal, economic, political and ecological landscape of the 21st Century.