Activist Psycho-Social Resilience

17 to 26 April 2021

Regenerative organising and holistic security

This training weaves together learning from our ‘Regenerative Activism Training’ with the ‘Psychosocial Resilience and Holistic Security Training’. It offers a range of tools, collective and personal, which can make our activism more effective and sustainable. These methods can help us avoid burnout and stay in it for the long haul, adding continuity to our movement building. As well as an integrated approach to digital, physical, and psycho-social security for individuals and organisations.


Taking a holistic approach to resilience building we will use a framework that recognises the interplay between the individual, group and socio-political levels of activist practice. Exploring how to develop integrated strategies for personal, organisational and movement resilience, the training will be centred around the Regenerative Activism Training structure with a series of modular options exploring Holistic Security.

Regenerative Activism

A ‘regenerative’ approach goes beyond sustainability to explore how we can organise in ways that actually renew or revitalize our own resources and those of our groups – this can help us stay inspired, nourished, & more creative in our tactical approach. 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.

Those of us involved in social change face enormous challenges. Daily we meet injustice, loss, and suffering in the world around us. We also meet our own responses, our fears, frustrations and anger. How can we best work with these responses creatively to achieve our goals? 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?

We use the term ‘regenerative’ because we don’t want things to just be sustainable. As in the world of permaculture, we want systems to regenerate through processes that restore, renew or revitalize their own sources of energy and materials. Our organising and activism can be a context within which we can thrive, where we create a shared context that enables us to flourish as we support others to do so. Our organising can embody a life-affirming vision and exemplify the values of social justice that we are inspired to realise in the world.

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

What are the aims?

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 – finding nourishment and inspiration from each other and nature.

Holistic Security

Activists, human rights defenders, and political organisers can suffer attacks at the hands of both State and non-State actors seeking to hinder their work. This damages our effectiveness and the wellbeing of ourselves and those around us. Such attacks can deter and hinder efforts towards greater social justice and ecological integrity. Holistic Security explores methods of analysis, strategy and implementation to protect spaces for activism and resistance.

Building on the Holistic Security Manual the trainers will share an integrated approach to digital, physical, and psycho-social security for individuals and organisations.

Security issues affect those working on many issues: LGBTI and gender rights, environmental and human rights, anti-corruption work and other forms of social or political organising. Individuals and organisations can find themselves targeted for personal, economic and societal attacks by adversaries. The development of electronic surveillance mechanisms poses a growing threat. Security and protection can easily become important at home, at work and while carrying out organising activities.

This training will help you to take an organised approach, to build strategies to maintain well-being and to protect spaces for activism and resistance – whether working alone, in small groups, collectives or organisations. This training takes a holistic approach that integrates various aspects of security including psycho-social, digital and physical security.

The concept of a ‘holistic’ approach to security and protection for activists arose from a collaboration and exchange of best practices between trainers and practitioners working on the security and protection of human rights defenders. This included psycho-social well-being and ‘integrated security’ approaches; security management and risk analysis; and digital security. After years of exchanges, a sense  emerged that an integrated approach is necessary in order to facilitate a more positive and rounded improvement in security and protection practices among activists and human rights defenders at risk. This Holistic security training is one of the fruits of that exploration.

The aims of a holistic approach to security and protection of activists and HRDs include:

  • Fortifying the sustainability of activism in the context of violence (broadly and intersectionally understood)
  • Fortifying activist’s capacities to reflect, learn and take preventive measures to improve their security and protection
  • Fortifying activist’s resilience and abilities to respond creatively during times of ‘crisis’.

A Training of Trainers Element

We will integrate within the training the opportunity for some participants to learn about the content and methodologies for running trainings on sustainable activism. This will take the form of a coaching circle during the training, in which to debrief and reflect on the content from a training perspective, as well as two additional days at the end of the training to stay on, reflect and aim to consolidate learning about design, deliver and hold spaces for sustainable activism. Participants taking part in this aspect of the training should have previous training experience. This component ends on the 28th April 2021.

Venue

This course will be hosted at La Solana, a venue close to the Ulex Project centre that we are using to host rescheduled courses that were impacted by the Covid pandemic. Venue details to follow.

Contribución sugerida
En la economía solidaria: €300/€450/€900
(ver los detalles de nuestro enfoque hacia Economía solidaria)

The Team

Our Name

Ulex: Latin (argelaga Catalan, gorse English) noun:

1. A thorny-evergreen flowering shrub, with a high capacity for regeneration and resilience. Its seedpods open in contact with fire and it reshoots from charred stumps. A successionary plant that grows well under challenging conditions. It improves soil fertility through nitrogen fixing, preparing the way for renewed biodiversity.

2. A traditional choice for igniting fires. Burns hot and bright.

3. A networked project adding nutrition and fertility to European social movements through training and capacity building. It kindles the realisation of social justice, ecological intelligence, and cognitive vitality.