A relational and emergent practice for social change
As social practitioners we often observe tensions between what is planned and programmed and the messy, complex, relational, ambiguous nature of what we see happening. This expresses itself through the dissonance between the intentions of the work and the outcomes. Our urgency to achieve change often lies on automatic ways of doing that we hardly question – focusing solely on results, rather than process, on plans rather than response, on doing rather than observing. This training is hosted as part of the Ulex South Project
This course explores moving from an automatic response to observing the processes of life and nature where actions are not guided by linear pre-planned processes and/or undertaken by management teams; but instead are emerging responses from constant interactions amongst the people involved.
It seems to be an intention playing itself out unconsciously for us, but through our activities that despite the best of humanistic intentions, the unspoken habits of the sector hold sway. (Allan Kaplan)
We will work with organic approaches to social and ecological practice. To work in ways that are respectful of the complexity and true nature of our challenges. “Encountering the problems we face in the world today requires the exercise of a responsive creativity premised on our own transformation in the process of engagement” A. Kaplan. Engaging in this way is built through a disciplined practice of observation.We will learn how ecological thinking resonates and apply with social work. We will explore the disciplines of goethean sciences – what is called the practice of social phenomenology – using our own experience to pay delicate attention to our activism. Grounding our learning in the practice of observation and imagination.
Perception is a two way street where our projections influence the seeing so that what we see is in fact what we project. Social work, and migrant solidarity work is a field that is played out in a delicate space of diverse perceptions of the world. It is particularly necessary in this terrain to be aware of the kinds of thinking with which action is created. A blindness to this realisation could entail a predominant understanding over others and an imbalance in terms of the capacity to influence and decide on those not represented, and finally on power and participation.
We will follow Goethean exercises of observation to develop the skills of shifting perception. We will apply that observation to natural processes and social processes looking deeply with these lenses into our own work.
Other ways of seeing and other intelligence will be developed within the use of paint, craft, body work, performance, social presencing theatre.
This training is hosted as part of the Ulex South Project
Ruth Cross makes things happen. Her practice has developed from landscape performance and micro-choreography into coordinating projects which bring people together to talk, play, inspire and collaborate. She is an associate artist with Encounters Arts and Battersea Arts Centre and co-founder of The Eroles Project, an international network that explores inner work for outer action. Ruth founded Cross Collaborations in 2009, a collective who devise social actions and intimate live art performances which focus on voice, listening with compassion and connecting to the earth.
Maria worked for the Red Cross for seven years in community development, strengthening civil society, education, and food security in Latin America and Africa. Building on her studies in social psychology and international cooperation, she decided to take on a Economics for Transition Masters at Schumacher College, UK. This led her into work on organisational change and facilitation for both NGO´s and grassroots organisations. Maria specialises in systemic thinking and participatory methodologies applied to organisations, designing and facilitating training’s around organisational culture, project management, strategic planning, leadership, and skills to work in a complex, changeable and uncertain context.Maria co-founded the Eroles Project a learning for action project, and co-authored Tools for collaborative Work for Social Organizations as well as a book on “acitivism and spirituality”.
Skills for building collective power
Spaces for empowered inclusion
Agency, theory and strategy - a deep inquiry
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.