Sustaining Resistance Empowering Renewal

When and where?

24 April (5pm) – 1 May (1 pm) 2012
We will be camping in some lovely woodland in rural Devon, though please let us know if camping might be a problem for you.

Who is it for?

Many of those attending before have been activists working within direct action settings. We have found it really beneficial to have some people who are involved in other areas like running social centres or youth work projects. If you do feel you are already burning out – or on the brink of it – or that you have seen that happening in your networks are are concerned to address this – then this workshop would be appropriate for you. Being part of an existing group or network of some kind is important as we hope that people take the learning and ideas back into their own settings.

What exactly will it be about?

The aims of the course are:
• To explore methods of working effectively with the inner dimension of social activism, supporting self-care, equipping us to avoid burn-out, and helping us stay inspired and engaged. This can support greater personal balance, creativity, resilience, and clarity; while helping us to manage fear, frustration, cynicism, despair, and despondency.
• To equip ourselves with tools supporting more skilful inter-personal work in our groups and networks, enabling us to organise in ways which exemplify the values we want to see in the world. This includes: Communication and conflict transformation skills; as well as exploring decision making, consensus, power dynamics and leadership.
• To create a vibrant and supportive temporary community helping us reflect more deeply on the personal and inter-personal dimensions of our work.
What’s the thinking behind it?

A few of us associated with EcoDharma (www.ecodharma.com) and Seeds for Change (http://www.seedsforchange.org.uk/) were interested in the link between our own personal sustainability and the health of our networks and groups and how each affects the other. We were curious to explore, with other activists, how the self transformative and socially transformative dimensions are linked. Ultimately we were interested in how both underpinned our effectiveness as activists thereby making our efforts more impactful and ourselves more resilient. We have been running these workshops since May 2010. This will be the fourth residential course.

Who is planning it?

G and Maitrisara linked to EcoDharma plus Kathryn linked to Seeds for Change will facilitate the workshop. We have all led a number of Sustaining Resistance, Empowering Renewal workshops including longer residential events like this one. We have all been involved in activism and work for social change for over 20 years in a wide range of situations. Rowan and Nate have also been supporting the planning for the course.

What about the logistics?

Buddhafield (www.buddhafield.com) will be organising the logistics and over-seeing the day to day organising of the camp. They are best known for organising a festival every summer. They positively want to support activists and keen to offer their know how and equipment in setting up peaceful, well organised, comfortable camping events. The vision of Buddhafield is based on ecological awareness and a need for action towards a more just and sustainable society. They are very much in tune with the intention behind this event – the value of drawing on inner work tools like meditation while enabling them to be accessible to all without the “religious” baggage. All participants will need to help with the day to day work of keeping the camp running – wood, hot water, vegetable chopping etc. All food will be vegan.

What kind of format will it have?

It will be workshop style with experiential and participatory activities and small and larger group discussions. Activities will be offered by the facilitators which help everyone to reflect on everyone’s experiences of activism and then we will share and learn from those reflections – a collective discovery. Within this, models and tools will be offered which deepen our understanding and which then can be applied in our own situations.

How much does it cost?

We have got some grant funding for this event which means we can subsidise the cost of attending the workshop. We still need participants to contribute a bit though. This averages out at £75 per person including food for the week. To ensure the workshop is affordable for all, we are proposing a sliding scale of £30-£150. We may also be able to offer some travel bursaries.

How do I apply?

Email susres[at]ecodharma.com for an application form. All forms must be filled out and returned by 29th February 2012.

What if the course is oversubscribed?

We are rather expecting it will be because the last courses have been. We are going to keep the selection pretty simple. First of all – does the description of “who is it for?” at the top of this sheet apply to you? If yes, we then want to make sure there is a balance of gender, a range of age groups and a good scatter from different parts of the UK. Having sorted that out, we will allocate in date order of application. So that’s why we are suggesting you get the application back to us as quick as possible.

What if I find I can’t come nearer the time?

Unforeseen things happen. But we are asking that you really commit to this period of time and if you are doubtful about whether you can come, make a decision one way or the other as early as you can and let us know. This means that we will still have a chance to go to the waiting list and fill that place. Otherwise a place will be wasted.

When will I know if I’ve got a place?

We will email everyone in the first week of March and let you know one way or the other.

There’s something else I want to ask and its not covered here ……

Do email Maitrisara or Rowan (one of us will be on this email address susres[at]ecodharma.com) and we do what we can to help.