a participatory, immersive learning experience
Our residencies are the heart of what we do. They are a time when a diverse group of people come together to think, play, practice, learn, exchange and to develop a collective action to do in the world. Eroles Project believes it’s from the creativity of artists, the heart of activists, the minds of thinkers, the souls of carers, the hands of builders, and gardeners, the spirit of wise people where we can build a future in which we all thrive.
Beyond Borders will be convened by the Eroles Project team, some of whom (Ruth Cross and María Llanos) are now living and working with Regeneration Project Granada - a new project which focuses on sustainability, regeneration and integration that is taking root in the south of Spain.
In 2016 Eroles Project hosted a summer of residencies on the theme Borders where we explored what it means to radically think as a species. During one of these residencies participants co-created the initial design for what was to become Regeneration Project Granada. Almost two years on and this project has taken shape with a core team of refugees, migrants, Eroles participants and local people. The project aims to challenge reductionist and colonialist approaches to development and social action.
In light of our experience working in the Granada Project and our awareness of the systemic challenges around the process of migration, including that of countries receiving refugees and migrants; Eroles Project have become interested in beginning a Community of Practice with people working in integration from countries of origin of migration and receiving countries, migrants and refugees and people campaigning and creating policy change.
For more info about the Granada Project please read A New Approach to Migration published on the Transition Network website.
Here are some of the challenges we are facing…
How to create spaces for understanding and sharing our own and each others highest human potential.
How to construct collective meaning around leading and organisational structures taking into account a diversity of perspectives.
How to create awareness around power and privilege within a multicultural team.
How to stay ethical and coherent while facing funding challenges.
How does perception build in you – and how does this influence your construction of ‘other’.
We feel it is really crucial to explore the deeper reflections arising in our work…
Regeneration Project Granada aims to repopulate a rural area in the province of Granada, Spain which is severely depopulated. We aim to collaboratively work the land, create viable and sustainable livelihoods, and regenerate both the ecosystem and the economy of the area. A team of 8 have moved into the village of Saleres. This has had exponentially positive effects on the potential impacts of the project as we become more familiar with the context and people. However the transition from developing a shared philosophy during numerous site visits to rooting long term in a village and attempting to put that philosophy into practice has brought up challenges:
The reality of 8 people living and working in a shared house in a small rural village has created dissonance within the team. As planning turns into action we are realising our different expectations and needs around work, pay, time, security, organisation, self management, leadership, accountability etc.
We have started questioning each others perceptions and habits, and tensions have risen around power, responsibility and decision making. This has created a deeply reflexive quality as we try to understand and embrace our differences. We think about social constructivism and the promise of co-creating meaning together through deconstructionism and dialogue. We are learning to make sense of our collective ways of seeing by opening the possibility of perceiving anew through a more plural and collective lens. We explore and debate around cultural relativism and play with the idea of a phenomenological approach to our living together.
We are trying to overcome not only hierarchies and the dichotomization and labeling of people (“refugees”, “locals”, “social workers”), but a linear scientific approach to social action. We focus on listening, observing, planning, trying and learning in iterative ways. We want to be responsive, flexible and agile. Through exploring this way of acting and organising we are facing funding challenges but more profoundly we are struggling to deeply comprehend and embrace this more plural paradigm of thought; a way of working that does not yet have a proper language or patterns in our bodies and minds.
Joining Beyond Borders Community of Practice.
Do you resonate with these questions? Are you facing these kinds of challenges, or others, in your own work, project or personal experience? Are you keen to reflect, make, exchange, share and act in a small and diverse Community of Practice exploring these themes?
We can provide travel/study visa applications for those applying from a country which need a visa to enter Spain.
When & Where5 - 19 August 2018: Beyond Borders gathering in the village of Eroles, Catalonia. 2018 and beyond: Community of Practice (ongoing, online, with potential visits to each other’s projects) - designed by the residency participants and Eroles Project. 2018-2019: For those interested there will be the opportunity to come and join for a longer period of time to the Regeneration Project Granada and contribute to a year long programme of integration activities here in El Valle.
Example daily schedule* - (with lots of free time to walk, create, read, write, make, play)
- Morning meditation, yoga/other movement practice
- Morning session
- Sharing/presenting your practice
- Open afternoon collaboration time
- Gathering and feedback
- Evening activity
*The Eroles Team will lead the first day. We will explore and share some of the ways of working we have used in our project. Some of those will be complexity and social change, nature connection, ritual, spontaneity and improvisation, theatre of the oppressed, Social Presencing Theatre, agile and collaborative practices.
Perugia, Italy 16th - 31st March 2017This emergent 15 day Community of Practice will take place in a rural house in the province of Perugia, Italy, giving the intimate context for 9 participants with diverse backgrounds to exchange understandings from their work, research or practice that concern the co-creation of present day cultures & communities. The content and flow of the days will be designed by participants along with Ruth Cross (Eroles Project) including getting to know each other & the space, sharing practices, participatory sessions, participant led sessions, time for walking, playing, gardening, house work, meditation, cooking, bodyworks and documentation. Why this, why you and why now? In an age of uncertainty we are witnessing the power of narrative to galvanize collective responses to the challenges of our time. Divisive narratives have amplified fear of the other and permitted systemic racism at all levels of society. Yet simultaneously we see robust responses with Indigenous lands being celebrated and defended by people of many cultures, new waves of on/offline collaboration, experiments in degrowth and movements of radical friendship between newcomers and locals. We urgently need to create new narratives that celebrate such cross cultural responses, that speak to our commonalities rather than our differences, that spark hope and that harness our collective assets. This CoP asks can we share human and nonhuman lives on our earth whilst being with our collective past, present and unknown future? What energising practices and new narratives do we need to support the emergence of peaceful and integrated cultures, which have capacity to generate meaningful and effective responses? One aim is to visualise the activities, thinking and practice from this exchange into a booklet, film or new media to share approaches of plurality, intersectionality, cultural diversity, and the yet undiscovered. Cost on a sliding scale 600€ - 350€ *Price includes food, accommodation & resources for 15 days (bursaries available please email for details)
Each residency has a different theme chosen by the Eroles network and designed by the Eroles core team. It is an attempt to respond to what is needed, relevant and urgent in the world, and to reach out across different movements that can learn from each other.
During the Eroles residencies we find ways for both structure and emergence. On the first day of the programme there are guided sessions facilitated by the Eroles team, providing a way to get to know each other and our intentions for the programme, and create a safe space for people to step in and take the lead. Most of the programmes are open for participants to offer questions and enquiries, lead activities, or take time out for self reflection. Usually at the beginning of the week(s), participants work together to programme the schedule of activities. Some residencies are more held by the Eroles Team or invited facilitators, but always keeping the element of participation and collective ownership of the learning process. We strive to set the conditions for a culture of participation and leadership, where anyone can feel comfortable to take the lead.
Each day there is a framework for breakfast, lunch, dinner, cooking, gardening, community meetings and house work. There is also regular time set for collective and personal reflection, in the form of morning check-ins, meditation, body-works sessions, sleeping in the wild and free time to walk in nature.
In the summer Eroles residencies take place inThe Ulex Centre in the village of Eroles, in the Catalan Pyrenees, Spain. During other times of year Eroles residencies take place in different places around the world. If you have a large space that can house 12+ people and you would be interested in hosting an Eroles residency, please get in touch!
The village of Eroles is surrounded by mountains, olive trees and vineyards, eagles and vultures soar the skies, which happen to have the least light pollution in the whole of Europe – a spectacular amount of stars reveal themselves at night.
Normally there are between 10 and 16 people on the residency from many countries around the world.As a participant on an Eroles residency you will most likely share a room. We share vegetarian cooking, mostly organic and some of the vegetables are self grown. The Eroles Project strives to have as low-impact living as possible; the house is powered through solar energy, water use is kept to a minimum, and we try to make efficient use of the garden through permaculture designed food-growing.