Ulex South trainings are hosted within the ‘living’ project of La Bolina, located in the rural village of Saleres, in El Valle de Lecrín 30 minutes south of the city of Granada. This generates an immersive context in which participants gain lived experience of learning applied to ways of working, organisational structures, and the challenges of embodying values in the practice of a project responding to intersecting global challenges at a local level.
Complex Living Systems: To understand, adapt, respond and influence the complex and uncertain realities we live in, we need to take a complex living systems approach. From complexity theory, systems thinking to participatory action research there is a whole range of tools and approaches that we use to explore transformative change.
Learning in praxis: We are fascinated by the power of participatory creative change rooted in concrete local actions. We are actively researching how change happens, and most importantly for us, experiencing the phenomena of change in the living system of La Bolina. We avoid universal and exclusively theoretical approaches, we believe change happens in concrete, contextual and specific therefore our learning approach is based on a “delicate empiricism”, learning from reflection on concrete personal and collective experience and practice and inspired and influenced by theory and method.
Diverse ways of knowing: Ulex South trainings draw on performance, social art, bodywork and contemplative practices as key methods and sources of knowledge that support deeper diverse and more plural ways of knowing. Moreover, these practices are a source for creativity and innovation and enable us to address complex processes and learning.
The La Bolina team moved to El Valle, south of the city of Granada, in December 2017 motivated by co-creating a project and way of life that integrates regeneration, integration and sustainability. The diverse team founded La Bolina on a vision of a world of connected ecological, regenerative and intercultural communities – and as a living exploration of contextualised systemic change
As well as regeneration of land and repopulation of rural villages, we are dedicated to the dignified and respectful integration of migrants and refugees through running education and training programmes, building just and ethical employment opportunities and providing community living whilst constructing alternative food systems based on local and circular economies. La Bolina has developed an eco-business growing and distributing veg boxes to a community of customers and to restaurants and eco shops.
La Bolina’s projects and actions adapt (like a living ecosystem) responding to changes in the local context – such as connections with people, new collaborators, local politics, the trends in migration and the realities of the Spanish asylum system, availability of land and learning new farming techniques.
Ulex South trainings take place at La Bolina’s Learning Centre. The Learning Centre comprises two spaces: The residential space based on rural village houses in Saleres Village and the learning space that is situated in the old school closed for many years due to the decrease of children and families in the village. It has a large workshop space and an outdoor playground.
The village is surrounded by walking routes amongst the orange groves and mountains. Nature connection and land regeneration is a key focus for La Bolina and the natural environment will significantly feature within the Ulex South courses.
La Bolina is a young project that has gained international recognition for its dedication to regeneration, local rural development and work with migrants and refugees. In addition to the Ulex South project, La Bolina hosts other courses throughout the year such as Permaculture Training Matters, Cultivando Futuros for Migrants and Refugees, Local Community Development in association with the local authorities and Social Theatre exploring Diversity, Belonging and Race.
Two of the co-founders of La Bolina, Maria Llanos and Ruth Cross, are key members of the Ulex South organising and training team.