Lush Spring Prize for Regeneration Project: Granada

The aim of this prize generated by Lush (the ethical high street cosmetics company), is to raise awareness of regeneration and its potential, and to explore how to best communicate the idea of regeneration. Regeneration Project: Granada received the 2017 intentional project award, alongside ten other projects receiving young, established and influential project awards.

 

The Spring Prize Event took place in Emerson College in Sussex, UK; a heartful place that provided a welcoming backdrop for this very inspiring and surprisingly unconventional event. Over two days the eleven winners from all over the world and the shortlisted projects from the UK had a chance to meet, exchange and learn from each other in a personal and informal atmosphere.

This was supported by innovative formats such as a basar, skillsharing times, workshops and open discussions, creating spaces for the different projects to meet and exchange experiences, knowledge and questions. Some topics approached in those sessions were for example how to communicate regenerative ideas, designing regenerative working environments, creating a platform that gives voice to marginalized communities…

On the first day, Ruth Cross one of the co founders of Eroles Project and team member of Regeneration Project: Granada led an embodied experience exercise where all participants could meet each other as ‘human to human’ and share in a non-verbal space. I noticed that after a little while some people sat down, assuming that something about this exercise was too much or somehow alienating for them, that they were escaping the intensity of the eye contact, or non-verbal encounters with others. Later on I talked to one of them; what he told me turned this moment into one of those moments that expands the box, confronting my personal beliefs and assumptions. He said that he could see that in our culture those kind of exercises were very much needed in order to get into our bodies and to become present. Yet, to him this seemed a bit strange as people in his culture had a naturally much more embodied way of meeting each other, and that where he comes from this exercise would not have been necessary.

He represented a project called the Timbaktu Collective, a project that works for sustainable development in drought areas in Andrah Pranesh in India, working with small farmers and especially focusing on the most marginalized, such as women, children, youth and dalits. They work collectively, cultivating common land. The thought of working hard the whole day for something that gives no private returns, without suspecting that your neighbour might be working less hard then you or getting more in return is probably quite a strange one for most people coming from western societies. I was deeply inspired by this trust in the collective, valuing your family and community before your individual needs. I imagine that this might be one of the major challenges that we will face with the Regeneration Project: Granada; the question of how to distribute ownership and yield. Especially as we aim to work with people from many different cultures, differing substantially in the relation between individual, family and society.

 

The ceremony itself was simple and heartful, the judges handing in the prize in the form of a green soap. Many project representants expressed that receiving this prize gave the people in their projects confidence that they were going in the right direction, that their work was worthwhile. The same is true for us; receiving this prize and being part of this network of wonderful and inspiring people gave me an enormous boost of trust, hope and energy to continue the work.

A massive thank you to Lush and Ethical Consumer for this beautiful event and the possibilities they provide with this prize, for creating a world where we give back more than we take!

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CONVERSATIONS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE IN THE MIDST OF COMPLEXITY

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We gathered in a circle in the beautiful central space at the Co-lab, the setting. The first invitation is to arrive and ground into the silence. Taking a minute to notice how you are, where are you.

We moved from sharing the silence to engaging in a quick fun round revealing the untold stories of ourselves, moving away from standard presentation to discover through improvisation new qualities of us.

The room was incredibly diverse, from government officials, social entrepreneurs, NGO workers, artists, activists, students…

Looking towards this quote from M. Wheatley that we just put up on the wall “All change, even very large and powerful change, begins when a few people start talking with one another about something they care about”, the first call opened the space to share our deep questions, our diverse knowledge. We allowed the colourful diversity of experience guide us through today’s enquiry.

The question that brought us together, our common ground “How does change happen? How do we create projects and organizations that can deeply transform society?” We began building a collective narrative rooted in each other’s views and enquiries.

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We shared the sense that something on the way we think is changing, a paradigm is shifting and a way of doing is coming to an end. We explored what is been beautifully said by many. The “entrenched ideas and values, among them the view of the universe as a mechanical system composed of elementary building blocks, the view of the human body as a machine, the view of life in society as a competitive struggle for existence, the belief in unlimited material progress to be achieved through economic and technological growth, and-last, but not least-the belief that a society in which the female is everywhere subsumed under the male is one that follows a basic law of nature. All of these assumptions have been fatefully challenged by recent events. And, indeed, a radical revision of them is now occurring”. (F. Capra, The Web of life, 1996)

We shared how these mental models once born as the western scientific paradigm have shaped the way we create our systems today such as the economy, education, health, organizations, development… Linear thinking, the tendency to break apart reality to be able to understand it, the universal and quantifiable quality of knowledge and truth, this set of beliefs have visible applications amongst the mentioned disciplines.

We analysed how this beliefs manifest on our realities. For example the deepening tendency for specialization in our societies, the smokescreen for greater breaking apart the whole. Rampant specialization is an attempt to better understand the growing complexity using the old glasses and methods that are not fit for purpose today. Specialization on health for example, takes us away from understanding the complex interactions of the human body and mind, albeit understanding better the symptom but blindly overseeing the roots causes of the problem.

Reducing problems to symptoms, to its simplistic parts takes us away from understanding that education, nutrition, health, culture, politics, environment, are deeply interconnected issues that cannot be understood in isolation. Thus, we are not being able to truly respond and transform our realities.

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This worldview has shaped the way we create our organizations, manage our projects and expect results through simplistic causal narratives. A metaphor that fits perfect is the concept of Silver Bullets.

Some of the Silver Bullets we’ve shoot in development work for example, had an impact on the spread of malaria today. On the 60´s the DDT Silver Bullet (insecticide) to end Malaria have influenced the mosquito mutations and resistance which has kept malaria as great cause of death in many countries. Simple strategies such as this one, based on eradication and control of the event, focus on the symptom that we obverse, has no account of the complex evolutionary dynamics of the system in which it manifests. They do not contemplate, hence account for the patterns, structures, beliefs and mental models that have create the symptom in the first place.

Once stated our common ground and understood collectively some of the root causes as to why “we are winning some battles but losing the war”, we smoothly emerged from problem solving mentality to enquiring about the theories, beliefs, methodologies which will help us addressing the complexity of our world.

We explored the space for learning offered by nature as a contrast to mechanistic theory. We looked at how complex living systems work.

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This paradigm of thought talks about the importance of looking at the relations amongst issues. How they affect each other through the interaction and how that affects the nature of the whole system, creating emerging properties unique to the whole and so many times unpredictable. This frame focuses on understanding the co-evolving dynamics happening within the system. It makes us question, what is this influencing? What is this affected by? What is emerging new from this interaction? How can I better influence? It invites us to contextualise the knowledge and avoid the tendency to extrapolate magic pills from one place to another. It invites us to think about changing from silver bullets to multiple micro strategies.

Following from our previous example on Malaria, an integral systemic approach will zoom out to look at the social, cultural, economic, geographical, political dimensions that can be affecting the appearance of malaria. A case study in Kenya realised that several elements affected the prevalence of malaria; the predominance of rice paddies, a resistance from the farmers against a government law on irrigation which led to flooding, and how cattle can serve as tasty first bytes for mosquitos.

This systemic analysis led to designing a multi strategy intervention: controlling flooding through a better way of organising amongst farmers, alternating dry crops, introducing cattle, planting natural mosquito repellents, and larves in the fields of rice that eat the mosquito. Doing so they not only reduced the cases of malaria to an unprecedented minimum but increased their nutrition, hence their health which also affects mortality due to malaria.

We glimpsed in our short time together what we explored in more depth during the 8th &9th of April. The workshop Ways of Doing Development Differently (WDDD).

During our WDDD workshop we looked into other principles that together with complex and systems thinking help us on our quest towards innovative, impactful ways of working. Collaboration and locally led projects, how do we open spaces for authentic participation and co-creation. Create a culture for innovation and learning. To intervene in ever changing realities we need to create the culture and structures to do so and bring the methodologies for adaptive, creative project management.

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And last but most importantly, embrace and foster the skills, qualities and values to become the systemic, adaptive, collaborative leaders that the world needs. Leaders that stood down from Hero´s to serve the common good as hosts.

Coming up in a following blog, we will unfold how we: university members, social entrepreneurs and NGO´s workers present in the workshop, explored Ways of Doing Development Differently.

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We went with the flow, together

After a rich and stirring experience at Eroles during week 1 of the “Camp as if people mattered” residency, I felt the urge to put down some reflections. These emerged from the original aspiration that I formulated when we did a dragon-dreaming exercise on the first day: We went with the flow, together. And they are inspired by the mountain landscape and the sense I had of the emergence of a quality of resilience amongst the participants that holds the promise of a truly unique contribution to new paradigm thinking and doing.
Like tiny streams, sourced high in the mountains,
Eager to flow towards something bigger, stronger, deeper
We embarked together on our enquiry as a collective, at Eroles…
Tentatively, respectfully, we offered our aspirations and commitment
Like a gathering of waters, tracing a path towards each other
Coming together to form a small river…
Almost bursting with enthusiasm, dancing over stones baking in sunlight,
Then resting, under stars radiant in cool midnight blue skies, dreaming
Of a braver, kinder, more generous world
Sometimes gasping for air, running dry over the hot, parched soil,
When it got too heated, like the water, we sought cooler space
Seeping back down into cracks in the earth, under rocks, in small pools…
To seek shade, preserve energy and await the moment to emerge again
And to re-engage with the dynamics of the movement onwards
To bubble forth with ideas, new awareness, the pleasure of listening, querying,
connecting with others
Accepting to explore frustration, fear, anger at the multiple sources of pain in the world,
Hearing new takes, observing reactions, listening again and again,
Offering thoughts, experiences, stories, questions…
Pooling, then flowing along again, gently gathering momentum and depth,
Conscious that alone, we could easily drown in the vast complexity and pace of the many challenges,
Or dry up in the face of so many other external forces and seeming lack of resources.
Were it not for the love, trust, courage and compassion that we breathed into the dry, tight spaces
When our minds and bodies tired and faltered, our spirits wearied,
We could have built up barriers, borders, to halt the flow…
But rather, we pulled together, we laughed together, we made music together,
Exploring non-otherness, non-duality, in a delicate, vulnerable human movement
Seeking to find our way through tricky terrain, in all weathers, against all odds
To learn that we can grow our resilience, and inspire others to do so too,
To learn to feel empowered with – not over – and to truly go with the flow
Together.
Jill Mackechnie
Retired UN humanitarian aid worker
now seeking new ways of caring
for people, places and planet
jillmackechnie@gmail.com

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An interview with the facilitators of ‘Creating Resilience’.

Who are you and what have you been doing here?

L: My name is Lex I work with gardens, permaculture and theatre. I made a set of masks to bring to Eroles to look at deep ecology (connecting ourselves to nature) and Theatre of the Oppressed, in particular to work with refugees. I have been here for a week and it’s been amazing.
G: My name is George, I am a descendant of displaced people from Poland after World War II. I work with Theatre of the Oppressed and before I came here I was extremely burn out from other projects, but having been facilitating here this week I’m feeling fully charged and ready to go.
M: My name is Miranda, I came to Eroles Project last year to create a climate change action for COP21. I was invited to come back this year to work with George and Lex as a facilitator. This week I have really enjoyed working with resilience and sharing some of my work in this field from back home in Oxford. I am really inspired by how these collaboration will continue in the future.

Why do you think this work is important?

G: We live in a culture where the sense of urgency and crisis means that despite our best intentions and wanting to give as much as we can of our self to try to help other people, we neglect the self care that is essential to make resilience possible.
L: It is very important to come here to Eroles, in the beautiful Pyrenees mountains, with our busy lives, especially if we are working in any ‘crisis’ circumstances. It gives us a chance to step back and have a look at our patterns, to be effective with how we are with ourselves for long term sustainability within our actions and life as a whole.
M: And within that for me is flexibility. To be able to learn from our mistakes – to be able to keep shifting and changing, learning and adapting from our experiences. To design new ways of working and to keep developing as the situation around us changes.

What are you taking with you from this programme?

G: I am taking away the realisation that you can leave a residential programme, powered up, recharged, resilient and ready to face the world and its challenges; as opposed to thinking it was an ordeal.
L: I am taking away from this process a deeper sense of resilience, deeper understanding that the more I care for myself the more I can truly care for the planet. I’m deeply fired up with inspiration from connecting with people all over the world doing similar projects, it gives me an amazing sense of the future. This has been beyond words, just wow!
M: A deeper sense of trust in my intuition. Fire to continue to sense what is needed and to respond in a non urgent way, and to take this into my projects back home.

How can this type of experience inform people working in the refugee / humanitarian crisis?

L: I think this work hugely informs how to care for yourself and for the group your are working in. I think it is quite a profound thing to know how to look after yourself. I also think if you are going to work in a camp context it is best to go in full so that you do not need to get your energy from there. One of the ways we can do this is by connecting to the present without plans of where we might expect to get to; and to share this presence with others as fully as possible. When we are relaxed internally we become more aware of what’s happening externally, this enables us to focus on the things that connect rather than separate us.
M: The exploration I brought with me; “to turn judgement into curiosity” was something that has become more of a solid thing during the week, so I want to go everywhere with that intention. When we celebrate our differences and our gifts rather than arriving already with the answers, we can develop solutions from who is there and what is emerging in the moment from the collective intelligence of the group.
G: Figuratively and literally to shut up and listen. Not allowing the language differences to create more barriers between each other. We modeled this this week by focusing on nonverbal communication and the power of being physically together rather than verbalizing everything. Also listening deeply to what is needed in these spaces as opposed to coming with our own presuppositions to what we think ‘they’ need.

If you have to choose a moment that you really struck you from this week what would it be?

M: The collective ritual when we arrived at the cherry tree. Sometimes rituals can feel ingenuine, but this was a beautiful spontaneous expression of everyone’s individual gratitude for life, each one in their own style and tradition. It was very special.
L: Connecting with the birds. Working with the body. Being inspired. One moment in particular, a few of us were up in the open window playing music, but we were all discordant. I suggested we looked out at the sky, instantly we came into accordance through watching the birds as we played; watching their patterns, being inspired by the freedom that is in the skies. Another time at night in the moonshine, our cross cultural musical collaboration felt like beyond the mind, beyond the cords, beyond the planning – letting go so something beautiful can come though.
G: My favourite moment was when we all danced around in a circle connecting our past, our present and our future and it seemed like anything is possible.

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The limitless untold stories in you.

    I started writing this blog in a sunny cafe in Oostende on the North coast of Belgium at the beginning of August 2016. I was about to show the premier of a new short film at Theater Aan Zee (TAZ), a dynamic city wide arts festival. The film’s title, Post Present Future, is named after the letter project I’ve been working on for the past seven years of my life. The project is centred around a simple task where people sit at a beautiful old bureau to write a letter to their future self. The instructions are simple too – ‘Take some time to reflect on the narrative of your life and what stories surround you? What are your hopes, concerns and dreams, now and for the future?’ My commitment to each of the people who write is to keep the letters for five years and then to post their letter back to them.
For TAZ 2016 we did a special edition of Post Present Future; we hand delivered the letters. For the first time this meant that I could experience people’s responses as they opened their letter and in their own handwriting read the advice, questions, doubts and promises they’d written as their younger selves. The film captures these tender and delicate moments.
Bearing witness to the fragility of daily life and the grief, the loss, the joys that mark the passing of time has provided an apt backdrop to be thinking about what resilience means in preparation for Creating Resilience, the next programme at Eroles Project, in the Catalan Pyrenees, Spain.
I hope to find a way to hold on to the sense of the strength that I witnessed arising from people’s vulnerability. Many of us have had challenging moments in our lives, many of us have overcome these challenges and moved forward, moved on, moved up. One of my reflections from witnessing people of all ages reading their letter is the self acknowledgement that emerges from hearing their own words from the past. Many of the readers spoke of how the insights had given them more confidence in their ability to live well. For why wait until your death bed to reflect on the way you’ve lived your life? This experience offered the perspective that life is constantly changing, and that all along we have the resources to adapt. Bringing consciousness to the ways we do that, for me, is the art of developing resilience.
The second part of this blog I wrote during the windows of time that facilitating on a residential programme allow, refining these words in my bedroom, looking out over the mountains, fired up after sessions. It has enabled within me a deeper reflection on the collective process and I’m glad to be able to share it with you.
Maria, Ally and myself are facilitating week one of Creating Resilience here at Eroles. Our shared background and connection stems from Schumacher College, a transformative learning centre for sustainable living based in Devon, UK. We bring different qualities and ways into this work but each hold an inquiry into the spaces inbetween, the process of self transformation and how to consciously move from self to collective. During the preparation sessions before the course begins we identify that we are more up for creating the container for a ‘live’ exploration of resilience than to be seen as slick professionals teaching the techniques.
We design the week using key principles of resilience: flexibility, fluidity and diversity, moving from order to the fertile space at edge of chaos where ecosystems thrive. This, along with some guiding values of acceptance, letting go, self responsibility, adaptability, compassion and authenticity shape the overarching exploration and form the main areas of practice.
Between the three of us there are tensions before and during the week as we model moving from order to the edge of chaos. Transitioning is a tricky business. The main points of friction occur as we balance tendencies to pre-define the shape and purpose of the week (through tried and tested methodologies) with courageously going off-script and trusting that by inviting magic, it will come.
On Monday participants from Spain, Hungary and the UK arrive. I am struck by how immediate the connection is, how trusting and warm the culture is that we co-create.
Before the first morning check-in we listen to John O’Donohue, the late Irish poet, who in his soft lyrical voice calls our attention to the distinction between our biography and our identity.
“There is a place in the soul — there is a place in the soul that neither time, nor space, nor no created thing can touch… what it means is, that in — that your identity is not equivalent to your biography. And that there is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there’s still a sureness in you, where there’s a seamlessness in you, and where there is a confidence and tranquility in you. And I think the intention of prayer and spirituality and love is now and again to visit that inner kind of sanctuary. Time again I look at a pretty face telling me their well rehearsed story and I think that doesn’t even touch the surface of all that you are.”
Following on from this we sit in a circle and are invited to share our story of how we come to be here. Then comes the repeated question – if that is not your story what is? We answer until we begin to shake free of the habitual response, the story we have told so many times over the years that it has shaped our behaviour and thoughts, and becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
If we can be attentive to the moments when we get caught in our habitual story whilst cultivating nourishing patterns, we can change our thoughts and behaviour. That in itself is powerful, and quite a revelation when put into practice.
Our actions in every moment, and our words in every conversation, change the story. By living our life by this principle we have the power to decide if we want to perpetuate a cultural pattern or not. How do we choose to respond when working in an organisation with time pressure and hierarchies, face injustice, experience police violence; when power is taken by another or urgency becomes the dominant narrative. By stepping into the shoes of another, we can feel how far have they walked.
Many times this week I have thought about how to put all of this into practice in the ‘real’ world. Maria reminds us that there is no separation between the world ‘in here’ and the world ‘out there’. This false dichotomy implies that change happens out there in some other moment or place rather than right now in the dynamics of this group, in Eroles, as in a Syrian village or in a refugee camp. Let’s not get caught in hierarchies, but know that positive change happens in the now with people making conscious choices.
“Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

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Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.

I feel called to ask myself in response to these first two weeks of Eroles residency, what does it mean and require of me, as human, to fully meet another human?
David Whyte says in moments of difficulty the best thing you can do is ask beautiful questions, and for me, this is a beautiful question. What do I need in order to meet others in the way I would most like to?
This was the first question we posed the group in these two weeks, what do they need? Such an important beginning, to establish our basic needs in order to feel free and open to participate fully. Of course the responses were simple; honest and transparent communication, support, time alone, care, being listened to attentively, not interrupted, being referred to respectfully…these seem pretty universal to me. From here, and with a group commitment to adhere as best we could to these needs, we launched into a challenging and exposing few weeks, where we own all of the ways that we don’t meet other humans as equals – all the ways in which we use power and privilege to have power “over” others, to get what we want, even when that inhibits another. Eek, yucky stuff – owning the ways we all do that. And yet, being with a group for a week, and with some for even two, and being able to stay…stay in the yuk…stay as it gets icky and tense…stay as we each take our positions…as we watch others power over and be powered over…stay as we confront and explore this tendency… as we challenge and recede…as we feel the discomfort and breakthrough. Such a privilege to “work live” in this way. In these courses, I think we are really able to hold to our shared belief that the personal is political. Acknowledging that, as activists, we cannot talk about “those out there” creating problems, without acknowledging that those very problems manifest in the microcosm of this group.
Exploring some of the many layers that stop one human relating to another we talked about language and its role in creating narratives, labelling, isolating or uniting people; and we saw it play out in our group too. Those who flow easily with English and those who don’t. Of course these differences are natural – don’t we tend to group according to shared experience or familiarity? But, to ask another beautiful question, what do we do when this grouping leads to a majority and minority and how do we consider the experience of those in the minority? And use our power to re-balance and empower others, to truly care and consider the needs of others?
One of the things I notice in my life is that quite often as I occupy myself with the detail in front of me – convinced I know what I’m doing and where I’m going, there is a subtle but rich story unfolding off-centre, unbeknown to me. The learning from which, creeps up on me, as if from behind and never fails to surprise. These weeks that story line has something to do with unconditional love. I realised that at Eroles I have witnessed many examples of unconditional love and it became a theme of conversation that wasn’t intended, and yet repeated itself.
Unconditional love. It strikes me that this may be one of the key ingredients of what we are, or at least I am here, learning about. Maria asked a question that resonated in me as a clear pluck on a well-tuned guitar, “what if you are repeatedly aware of having “power-over” and you don’t do anything about it?” I went to bed that night this question swimming in my mind.
Goethe is quoted as saying “knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” So I have become interested in what is required to love unconditionally. Willing, how do I do? Looking this up on good old google, I came across an article speaking of the essential premise to love another beyond what you might get from them. Hmm, sounds simple! To listen attentively and with willing to change if it doesn’t compromise your basic boundaries, the article says. Well, ok, but that means you’ve got to know your own boundaries, requiring self-esteem and respect. Next…forgiveness; another tricky one. Embracing differences and clear and open communication. As I read on, I realise this is what, I think, we are partly doing here at Eroles.
Giving the ground for people to forge enough self-confidence to be able to recognise and articulate their boundaries. Living together, each morning sharing how we are in our “check-ins” gives us each a chance to have an insight into another’s inner world, which helps cultivate compassion and understanding for them, when later they inconsiderately eat the last piece of bread…or whatever pet peeve they trigger. We have to forgive and move through those difficult moments. The time that we spend here in the mountain, developing our sense of belonging in a wider ecosophy helps to clear out the dregs and re-orientate to our essence; our shared experience on this Earth as beings, belonging just as the trees, the birds and the spikey plants that litter the ground here do.
I know for me, what stands in the way of being fully myself with another, is typically where I am not able to stand in love. Moments in which, indeed the little voice in my mind is aware that I have “power-over”, and I ignore it, greedily taking what I can. Sadly, I know this makes me unhappy in the longer term. When I love, I feel such joy for just loving’s sake. So, I am here, at least, soaking up those moments of love – where in true community style my beloved friends embrace my crying baby and help him to sleep. I know I need love in order to be with others fully. I hope that we each take the love cultivated here and shine in a world that always could do with more.

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There’s no pecking order in poo

Baked by the sun and surrounded by clay and crickets there rests a sack full of communally shit stained toilet paper. It’s getting pretty full as I add today’s batch, before weighing it down with a heavy stone on a solid wall. The modest plumbing here at Casita de Colores is unable to digest toilet tissue so we have been hoarding it at the bottom of the garden.
In total we are 15, activists, artists, journalists, charity workers, from many corners of Europe. Casita de Colores is located in Eroles, a Catalonian hamlet with a fluctuating population of 20-25 people. We are here in response to a provocation to think deeply about the refugee situation, the most important moral and humanitarian crises we face today.
Within the first few days, I find myself consecutively cleaning the bathrooms and carrying the used toilet tissue out and into the back yard. Amidst the sessions for learning, we check-in with one another and share domestic responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning, gardening and taking out the used toilet tissue. I empty the vessel into the black sack, occasionally catching a glimpse of its content and peeling away any ‘clingers’ refusing to depart. As I do so I think about shit, about sanitary, about waste, and about the un-wanted in general.
What comes to mind when we think of waste? We tend to define waste as a material substance, or by-product to be eliminated or discarded as useless or not required. The urban dictionary refers to American musician and composer Frank Zappa as a ‘waster’ for supposedly squandering his musical genius in the pursuit of satire. Yet, if we look at the etymology of ‘waste’ we see that it emerges from vastus, giving it the same Latin root as ‘vast’, meaning a literal space, immense and enormous.
It might seem absurd to embark on a two-week residency, intended to better understand the international and humanitarian refugee crises, by pondering waste – as instigated by a domestic duty concerning shit. But if we aspire to radically think as a species, as the residency title suggests, if we agree that we need to think widely, dig deeper and look systemically at the structures and mental models that sustain our beliefs, then I’d invite you to ponder our societal contempt of shit, of waste and the unwanted as a humble starting point.
For three consecutive years I organised a season of cinema designed to unpick our shared understanding of mental health. These screenings took place at a small cinema with a capacity of approximately 77 seats, with room for people to sit on the floor and up the aisle if necessary. Aware that stigma, the social disapproval of a person or their characteristics, associated with mental health is recognised widely as more damaging than the psychological experiences I attempted to ignore the clinical and diagnostic language as much as possible. The screenings would focus less upon the privatised individual, but rather on the surrounding social, cultural and political context.
In October 2014 as part of this season we screened Kenny, a mockumentary about a Melbourne plumber who works for a portable toilet rental company. Despite his hard working manner and shameless optimism Kenny Smyth, the films protagonist, is constantly belittled by pretty much everyone; employment contractors, his ex-wife, his brother, etc. Kenny literally organises, moves and in many cases handles other people’s shit for a living. In one scene Kenny’s father refers to him as a ‘glorified turd burglar’. Poo related humour and one-liners are plentiful in this Australian comedy, often laugh-out-loud funny, but it tickles us, I’d argue, with a profound perceptiveness; before the opening credits the screen proclaims none are less visible than those we decide not to see.
We arrived at Casita de Colores days after the EU in-out referendum in the UK. Many of us broken by the relentless negativity witnessed first-hand, yet somehow plugged-in and mesmerised by the tragic-comedy politics that followed. The deeply, perhaps intentionally, confused issue of immigration was central to how many people ultimately decided to vote. ‘Britain first’ and ‘Britain is full’ became popular slogans, rekindling the ‘charity starts at home’ rhetoric resulting in a 500% increase in racial attacks. Second and third generation British citizens were absurdly being told to ‘go home.’
When we think of identity in racist attacks, it is perhaps obvious to state that the external has a leading role in shaping the victim’s identity. Yet, we don’t often think of identity as being like this. More often it feels as though identity is something that wells up inside each of us, as individuals, as something that is absolutely ours. Social theorist and political activist Stuart Hall suggests otherwise: ‘Identity is the product of and endless ongoing conversation with everybody around you … you are (partly) how they see you.’
If the dominant culture happens to blame immigration for growing inequality and public spending cuts, as is the current political trend in the UK, and your skin tone doesn’t resemble either Phil Mitchell or Winston Churchill, you are likely to be targeted by racial abuse. If you have been diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), anxiety or depression, in a society whose mainstream persistently misrepresents mental health, you are more likely to be seen as violent or a danger to yourself or other people. In a society which diminishes the role of the menial, yet necessary tasks of the working class, you run the risk of being dismissed by your father as ‘a glorified turd burglar’. Who you are, is shaped by how your society sees you.
It may seem small and insignificant to travel to a small Catalonian hamlet to live collectively and think deeply about the humanitarian/migrant crises, but as John Holloway points out; this is the story of many, many people, of millions, perhaps billions. However small or insignificant our actions might seem, we are not alone. The question then may be; how can we knit these many, many people together, what are the unifying factors and where do we begin?
Consider the following scene from Kenny:
EMPLOYEE: “Kenny, I just got to talk to you about something,
I been here for 12 months, he’s been here for 2 weeks
And, honestly, he’s constantly telling me what to do.
He is really starting to piss me off, I mean
Is there a hierarchy here or something?”
KENNY: “No mate, no, there is no hierarchy,
We’re all shit kickers here mate.
There is no pecking order in poo”
Before morality, before art, before religions, science, politics and nations, human systems ecologist David Korowicz observes, the ecological and thermodynamic foundations of our species are to eat, drink, shit and fuck. We create racial, political and social tensions but fundamentally our foundations are shared and they are very, very basic; we’re all shit kickers here mate.
It might sound crude but perhaps these primal activities, surrounded by taboo, swept under the carpet and largely hidden from public gaze in western public life are fundamental to a radical thinking species. You can have utopia, so the dictum goes, but somebody, somewhere still has to clean up the shit. This is how we think of waste, of shit, of the so-called undignified foundations of our species. We choose not to see them and we create social boundaries and discriminatory tensions to keep them at bay from a privileged few.
Perhaps now, given the deplorable scale of our global humanitarian and ecological crises, it is time to strip bare the western myths of political and societal othering and begin to think radically, not as individuals or nations, but as a species. And perhaps peeling away each other’s shit stained toilet paper in a small Catalonian hamlet is a good a place as any to start.
1 The Eroles Project, Borders Residency (2016)
2 Jonny Random, www.urbandictionary.com (2006)
4 The Star and Shadow Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne
5 Shane Jaconson, Kenny (2006)
6 Stuart Hall, The Stuart Hall Project (2013)
7 John Holloway, Crack Capitalism (2010)
8 David Korowicz, The Passing (2014)

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From Human to Human

  At some stage, if there isn’t already, a precise name will be given to the emotional and psychological state caused by a rapid succession of political events. In just a short space of time in the UK, where I live, we have experienced a debased referendum, preceded by the murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox. Shortly after the vote in favour of Brexit was announced, the fallout began. Shocks in the markets, the resignation of the British prime minister David Cameron and then just about every leading pro ‘Leave’ politician, all happened in rapid succession. Add to that the disbelief and grief felt by many who had not seen a Brexit victory coming, the attempts to overturn or reverse the decision, plus all the anger and recrimination flying about as the Labour Party implodes, and you find that most of your waking – and sleeping – hours are caught up in the drama.
From the outset, I tried to seek out people who were talking or writing about strategies, people who were looking for constructive solutions once the Article 50 button is pressed. But it is hard not to be disturbed by the discord, the disagreements over the way forward, the rows that develop as a result of a myriad different perspectives. Friends, people I encountered in shops and cafes were genuinely upset by the decision, some of my friends from elsewhere in Europe face uncertain futures.
It’s fair to say if there is such a thing as a Post Brexit syndrome, I was experiencing it when I set out for Barcelona on 2 July. I spent most of the night in the hotel reading and writing, trying to get my thoughts into some perspective before I got the bus to Tremp the next day. Would I be able to switch off? I wasn’t sure, but as the bus trundled inland, the constant agitation receded and within 24 hours of arriving in the beautiful hamlet of Eroles, the fretting and continual thinking of the past weeks began to quieten.
Disconnecting from the drama made for a bumpy landing, but the programme allowed for that. It was titled ‘Radically thinking as a species: Promoting inclusion in our towns and neighbourhoods’, and was an opportunity to rethink the narratives around migration and refugees. In workshops and discussions we looked at systems, and the symptoms, structures and mental models that sustain our thinking, as well as the interplay between our individual and collective beliefs and actions.
The time was an opportunity to reconnect with something I know, but don’t always find easy to put into practice, the fact that what we think, feel and believe matters in political and collective space. It opened up the possibility of change being more than about focusing on structures and policies, but on our agency, both personally and collectively.
What amounts to a reworking of the feminist slogan ‘the personal is the political’ has interested me since I saw in Madrid, Spain’s capital, how women were changing the way politics is done. Significantly, there has been a shift among feminists who as well as focusing on women’s issues, have positioned themselves in other political spheres and are challenging power structures, adversarial politics and experimenting with ways of devolving power.
There were a number of aspects to the week that helped me, not least the people who I got to spend time with, but below are some that have stayed with me since I’ve been back in London, where I’m trying to consider how I respond to ongoing shocks in my country – yes, really Boris Johnson is foreign secretary – and try and work out what action I should take.
Settling into a rhythm of life which was more conducive to thinking rather than reacting, to taking a more considered approach rather than just following a trail of media and social media output.
We cooked together, ate together, did tasks in the house or garden together and built relationships that in a short time seemed genuine and trustworthy.
The opportunity to unplug from the constant churn of information and ideas meant there was more time for deeper thinking. This seems vital if we are going to come up with new responses.
For effective conversations to take place, there has to be as much, if not more, focus on listening as on speaking. Often it seems like conversations are really only a group of people waiting their turn to say something, but when people hold the space skilfully, while allowing those taking part freedom within it, discussions can be much more creative.
Learning to deal with difference is of vital importance. When there’s so much antagonism towards the other, it really matters that we hold on to our own humanity and connect with others’.
In the context of building relationship and seeking to understand one another, we were able to begin to tackle difficult issues and be challenged. While this isn’t easy, if it’s in the context of wanting to be aware of our own beliefs and actions, and the need to be responsible, then we have less reason to fear any conflict or disagreement.
Information and debate aren’t always effective means of helping us gain knowledge, and can tie us in a perpetual holding position when finding solutions to problems, and can in fact hinder the kind of deeper thought needed to develop new ideas and approaches.
We need to develop resilience, and develop practice such as meditation and exercise to aid that.
Some years ago I began a blog called the Winnable Game in response to a friend’s child saying he feared that people were powerless to change the terrible things that were happening, which made life an un-winnable game. Since then my conviction that, actually, we are the vital component in the process of change has strengthened. One slogan that gained a lot of traction during the EU Referendum was that we needed to ‘Take Back Control”. Perhaps the reason it resonated so powerfully was that it has some truth in it. We do need to take back control, but control of our lives, our emotional integrity, our thoughts and our own agency. Returning from Eroles, I feel more aware of what is required of us if we are going to be proactive, rather than have our desires and our discontents ‘played’ by politicians and others in power.
Versión en castellano
De ser humano a ser humano.
En algún momento, si no lo han hecho ya, alguien acertará a encontrar, inventar una palabra que describa con precisión este estado emocional y psicológico causado por una rápida sucesión de acontecimientos políticos. En un corto espacio de tiempo en el Reino Unido, donde vivo, hemos experimentado un referéndum, precedido por el asesinato de la parlamentaria Jo Cox. Poco después de anunciarse los resultados de la votación a favor de Brexit, los efectos colaterales comenzaron a sucederse. Shock en los mercados, la renuncia del primer ministro británico, David Cameron, y detrás fueron casi todos los líderes políticos del pro Brexit, en una rápida y voraz sucesión. A esto se añade la incredulidad y el dolor que sienten muchos y muchas que no vieron venir una victoria Brexit, los fútiles intentos por anular o revertir la decisión, además de la lluvia de ira y recriminaciones que arrecia al partido laborista mientras este implosiona ante nuestras miradas atónitas, y tú que te das cuenta de que tus horas pasan despierta, dormida atrapada en este drama.
Desde el principio traté de buscar personas que hablaran o escribieran sobre estrategias, personas en busca de soluciones constructivas una vez pulsado el botón rojo del artículo 50. Pero es difícil no dejarse perturbar por la discordia, los debates sobre el camino a seguir, las peleas que se desarrollan como resultado de una miríada de posiciones diversas. Ami@s, la gente en tiendas y cafés con las que me crucé, tod@s parecen estar verdaderamente molestos con la decisión, y algun@s de orígenes distintos al británico, se enfrentan ahora a un futuro incierto.
Podríamos decir que si existe algo parecido a un síndrome post Brexit, yo estaba totalmente sumida en él cuando comencé mi viaje hacia Barcelona el 2 de Julio. Pasé la mayor parte de la noche leyendo y escribiendo en el hotel, tratando ávidamente de ordenar mis pensamientos con alguna perspectiva antes de que llegara la hora de marchar a Tremp la mañana siguiente. ¿Sería capaz de desconectar? No estaba segura, pero a medida que el autobús avanzaba lentamente hacia el interior, la agitación constante retrocedió y en las siguientes 24 horas de mi llegada a la hermosa aldea de Eroles, la inquietud y la incesante producción de pensamiento de las últimas semanas, comenzaron a remitir.
Desconectada ya del drama que entrañan los aterrizajes bruscos, me sumí en el programa. El curso Pensando como especie:Promoviendo inclusión en nuestras ciudades y barrios,era una oportunidad para repensar las narrativas en torno a la migración y las personas refugiadas. En talleres y discusiones utilizamos pensamiento sistémico para mirar a los síntomas, las estructuras y los modelos mentales que sustentan nuestra forma de pensar, así como las interrelaciones, la no separación entre nuestras creencias y acciones individuales y aquellas colectivas, esto que llamamos sociedad.
El tiempo, una oportunidad para volver a conectar con algo que sé, pero que no fácilmente pongo en práctica, esto es re-conectar con la creencia de que lo que pensamos, sentimos y creemos forma parte del espacio político y colectivo. El cambio por tanto no solo centrado en las estructuras y políticas sino cultivado desde lo personal, desde nuestra propia capacidad de ejercer influencia y agencia en el espacio colectivo. Desde lo personal y lo colectivo.
Todas las reformulaciones y re-concepciones del lema feminista “lo personal es político” me han interesado siempre, y especialmente desde mi visita a Madrid, donde estudié como las mujeres están cambiando la forma de hacer política. Se ha producido un cambio significativo desde que las feministas sin centrar su discurso en la mujer, hacen una política feminista, humanista y consciente. Muchas hoy desde sus posiciones políticas están desafiando las estructuras de poder, la política de la confrontación y el dualismo y experimentando con diferentes formas de repartir y diluir el poder.
Una serie de elementos y aprendizajes. Además de las personas con las que pasé mi tiempo en Eroles, me he llevado algunos aprendizajes que ya hoy estoy poniendo en práctica en mi respuesta ante la agitación política y social que azota mi país (sí, de verdad, Boris Johnson, es secretario del exterior,) mientras trato de reflexionar y definir mis acciones.
Crear e instalarse en un ritmo de vida que favorece el pensar en lugar de reaccionar, de manera que podamos crear una posición para nosotras mismas en lugar de seguir los rastros de opinión dejados por los grandes medios y los medios sociales.
La oportunidad de desconectar del constante flujo de información e ideas significaba que había tiempo para desarrollar un pensamiento más profundo. Esto parece vital si lo que queremos es atajar la raíz de los problemas y crear nuevas respuestas.
Cocinamos junt@s, comimos junt@s, hicimos las tareas de la casa o el jardín junt@s y las relaciones construidas desde ahí se sienten auténticas y basadas en la confianza.
Para tener conversaciones eficaces debemos centrarnos mucho, si no más, en el escuchar que en el hablar. A menudo parece que las conversaciones son en realidad un grupo de gente esperando su turno para decir algo, pero cuando el espacio es facilitado con destreza, y se regala la responsabilidad y la libertad para contribuir al espacio colectivo, las discusiones pueden alcanzar otros niveles de creatividad y profundidad.
Aprender a lidiar con la diferencia es de vital importancia. Cuando hay tanto antagonismo hacia el “otro”, es importante recordar y aferrarnos a nuestra propia humanidad para conectarnos a la humanidad.
En la tarea de construir relaciones y tratar de comprendernos un@s a otr@s, fuimos capaces de abordar temas difíciles y ser desafiad@s. Si bien esto no es fácil se consiguió crear un espacio donde el reto se convirtió en aprendizaje, donde el otro es tu apoyo para incrementar tu conciencia y por tanto agencia sobre tus creencias y acciones. Una conciencia necesaria si queremos mejorar nuestra injerencia y nuestra responsabilidad. En este caso el desafío no acarrea temor, conflicto o desacuerdo.
La información y el debate, no son siempre el medio más eficaz para obtener conocimiento, y nos puede anclar en una búsqueda perpetua y limitada de soluciones a problemas, de hecho, puede ser un obstáculo para un tipo de pensamiento más profundo y necesario para desarrollar nuevas ideas y enfoques.
Tenemos que desarrollar nuestra resiliencia y prácticas como la meditación y el ejercicio puede ayudar a esto.
Hace algunos años empecé un blog llamado el juego que se puede ganar en respuesta a las preocupaciones del hijo de un amigo que temía el que la gente se sintiera incapaz de cambiar las cosas terribles que estaban ocurriendo, lo que convertía a la vida en un juego imposible de ganar.
Desde Eroles mi convicción de que, en realidad, somos el componente vital en el proceso de cambio, se ha fortalecido.
Una consigna que ganó mucha tracción durante el Referéndum de la UE era que teníamos que “recuperar el control”. Tal vez la razón por la que resonó con tanta fuerza es por que tiene algo de verdad en ella. Sí, necesitamos recuperar el control, pero el control de nuestras vidas, nuestra integridad emocional, nuestros pensamientos y nuestra propia agencia. Al regresar de Eroles, me siento más consciente de lo que se requiere de nosotr@s si realmente queremos ser proactiv@s, en lugar de que nuestros deseos y nuestro descontento sea el tablero donde juegan políticos y otros en el poder.

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Radically thinking as a species

“What would change the direction of today’s civilisation? We must develop a new understanding of the true purpose of our existence on this Earth. Only by making such a fundamental shift will we be able to create new models of behaviour and a new set of values for the planet.”
Vaclav Havel
Eroles Project 2016 is about to start. This year the topic of our programmes,borders, tries to respond to the humanitarian decline of our system. The focus could be understood as distant and separate from last year’s topicclimate justice,where we raised awareness and created actions in the run up to the United Nations Climate Talks (COP21). But for usbordersis strategically chosen. There is no way we can address todays urgent problems if we do not see the fundamental links among them.
The exploitation of the earth, of migrants and of unpaid care work (mainly undertaken by women) are the casualties of a system based on consumerism, short term results, competition and “power over”. The effects of climate change and the war on resources will maintain if not increase the influx of people forced to leave their homes. This will not stop unless there is mass reflection (and action) on the implications of capitalist culture and its core beliefs that our behaviour is not inherently responsible for today’s climate and migration crisis.
Moreover this core belief also influences how we act as NGOs and civil society. Both aid work and development have suffered from a colonialist, hierarchical, assistentialist strabismus, due to a lack of deep reflecting and understanding of root causes of problems and a inherited obsession with symptoms.
After my career with the Red Cross and my time in Calais this year I feel ready to begin hosting and facilitating this summer’s programmes. Keen on enquiring with other participants into these questions that involve both looking inside myself and around me.
I’m reading, researching and grounding the experience before the first course begins. I go through webpages of NGO´s, movements, reports, articles…searching for something that calls my attention. Something different.
In my search I come across a piece of writing by Elodie Francart. I met her during PlanB for Europe where she was speaking about her experiences with the Welcome refugees Network in Brussels.
Puta Europa is the title of Elodie´s article, Elodie´s shared experiences at Idomeni, Greece.
Puta Europa is the anthem of Europe´s failed humanitarian duty, and human responsibility. Reading her article my stomach contracts, I feel the rage of both Elodie and Abood, my body experiences the symptoms of their frustrations, their sadness, their anger.
Abood ripped of his sovereignty. I crumble to Aboods fragility of body and mind, about to collapse. Incapable of understanding what is happening to him, around him. My mind blanks, jaw tenses, animalistic, my body is ready to react, a response of that amount of unfairness cracking myself.
I feel Elodies frustration in my throat as she unravels her thoughts, what do I do!?? Incapable of understanding how can we have reach this level of inhumane behaviour.
What are the core beliefs that we behold as a civilization that produces this type of treatment? A banal evil that is reflected in all of us, the police border, the politician, the compassive(1) majority letting this happen, our inherited learned helplessness.
Our core values dismantled? A value system hijacked by the premise of separation. A tremendous fear attaches to our bones, fear of others, the different, the less, fear of scarcity, fear of myself, fear fear fear. Fear because in separation we are alone.
A paradigm of thought taken over by economic neoliberal philosophy, where more for me is less for you, where profit now and soon leads to a short term, linear, narrow ways of acting. These are the roots upon which our civilisation stands today. Is this what we have become?
It is not exclusively European, it is not exclusively in the DNA of politicians, lobbyists, bankers… It is in the marrow of our skeleton as a society. I feel it too, in me.
When we begin to separate ourselves from that which we are, we immediately open the possibility of losing our sense of innate responsibility, our kinship to existence and to others.
But there is more to our way of understanding what it is to be human. I feel also the non separation of indigenous cultures, and the interconnectedness of our buddhist brothers and sisters. “It is said that we are placed on the earth (our Mother) to be the caretakers of all that is here. Because we are a part of Creation, we cannot differentiate or separate ourselves from the rest that is.”(2)
I feel my body changing and my soul too as I experience the pain of Elodie and Abood. I feel the wound of hatred, racism, colonialism, violence that my generation is enduring, my brothers and sisters in Eritrea, Syria, Afghanistan, India, Somalia, EEUU, Europe… The wounds on those who are attacked and the wounds of those who are attacking, as they make us all bleed.
I feel also the compassion, the love, the friendship and care.
And I wonder how many generations(3) will feel the wounds of today´s egoistic foolish political decisions, a bit of money here, votes there, a trace in the land that once I called my country…
I wonder how much it takes to shift from separation to union, from short term immediacy to seventh generation thinking. From thinking as a country to radically thinking as species.
(1) Compassive, a word to name an increasing phenomena, when people feel compassion and empathy but remain utterly passive in its actions to change the situation.
With gratitude to Elodie Francart for taking the time to speak with me and share her experiences of working in Idomeni. Her article Puta Europa can be read on facebook.

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Eroles Project Newsletter Reflections on Making Change in 2015

An action shot of Eroles and friends taking Theatre of the Oppressed games to the streets of Paris during the Redlines Day of Action, COP21.
This time last year Eroles Project was still a dream, but with generous support from you and a powerful collective intention, hundreds of people from around the world have participated in our summer residency in Spain and our activities at the U.N. climate talks in Paris (COP21).
GOOD NEWS FOR EROLES PROJECT’S FUTURE!
Thanks to the continuing support of Eco Dharma, our pioneering change-making residencies will continue to run in the village of Eroles from June – August for the next 6 years! 2016’s programme will be on our website in early Spring…
“Every intention of this project is a seed, an exploration of the change that begins within us.”
Reimagining activism at COP21
During the U.N. climate talks in December more than thirty Eroleans collaborated with Stendhal (Paris), TierrActiva (Bolivia) and Jungle House (worldwide) to create a living community called L’annexe in Paris.
It became a home for more than 70 artists, spiritual practitioners, theatre makers, environmental activists and change makers from all over the world, and a hub to bring COP21 ideas into action. Over five weeks hundreds of people came to participate in workshops, recieve legal advice, meet, be inspired & share stories, produce artworks to take all over Paris, eat delicious vegan food made by the Belgian kitchen team Kokkerellen, practice for moments of civil disobedience, watch performances and live music, use the meditation & yoga space…
Some of our favourite activities:
In collaboration with Reboot the Roots we hosted 2 days of theatre of the oppressed workshops, turning Augusto Boal’s invisible theatre techniques into participatory moments of unity on Redlines D12 – the last word.
We facilitated a participatory Reimagining activism event where we invited audiences to consider if and how we are creating the world we want to see. The dialogue inspired personal sharings of inclusive and positive methodologies to bring about long term systemic change within activism, organisations and wider socitey.
At La Générale, we premiered The UN Canteen; an interactive cooking and dining experience designed to provoke the power imbalance between countries at U.N. negotiations. The 60 audience members were asked to “bring a vegetable” and were assigned a country to represent whilst collaboratively cooking with the other ‘delegates’ at their table. The result was a raucous innovative game providing hot topics for debate and a chance to understand decision making from another point of view.
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Wondering what it was like to live in L’annexe?
If nothing you can do is ever enough then what can you do? A question asked during an Eroles Project Sustainable Activism workshop in Paris sparks some poignant insights from a young activist who attened the U.N. Climate Summit as youth delegate.
Support Us
We are searching for individuals and organisations to support our work in 2016 and beyond. If you are interested in contributing financially or otherwise, or know someone else who might be, please contactinfo@erolesproject.organd we will be very happy to share our strategic plan as well as reports of 2015’s activities.
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Eroles Project Boletín Informativo
Promoviendo el cambio, reflexiones 2015
Foto del Colectivo de Eroles llevando el Teatro del Oprimido a las calles de París el día de la demostración de lasLíneas Rojas después de la COP21.
El año pasado en este tiempo, Eroles era sólo un sueño, pero gracias a tu generosidad y apoyo y al trabajo y motivación colectiva, hoy cientos de personas de todo el mundo han participado en nuestra residencia de verano y en las actividades y eventos realizados por Eroles Project durante la COP21.
BUENAS NOTICIAS PARA EL FUTURO DE EROLES PROJECT!!
Gracias al apoyo y la apuesta de
Eco Dharma, nuestra residencia de verano, pionera en educación experiencial para la acción, va a continuar en Eroles durante los próximos 6 años!
En Primavera podréis ver el programa de la residencia para 2016 en nuestra web.
“Cada intención puesta en este proyecto es una semilla de exploración de un cambio que comienza en nosotr@s mism@s”
Reimaginando Activismo en la COP21
Durante las negociaciones de ONU en París más de 30 Participantes de Eroles colaboraron con Stendhal (París), TierrActiva (Bolivia) y Jungle House (Worldwide) para crear una comunidad artivistas durante los meses de noviembre y diciembre.
Nuestra comunidad L´annexe, fue la casa de más de 70 artistas, personas espirituales, productores y directores de teatro, bailarines, fotógrafos, académicos, directores de cine, activistas medioambientalistas, agentes de cambio de diferentes partes del mundo. L´annexe fue una incubadora de ideas, actividades, eventos acciones orientadas a la COP21. Durante 5 semanas cientos de personas participamos en talleres, creamos piezas de arte que se exhibieron en las calles de París, recibimos consejo legal y sanitario, compartimos historias de cambio y de desobediencia, participamos en performance, bailamos al ritmo de diferentes conciertos de música, meditamos, hicimos yoga…y comimos deliciosa comida vegana gracias al increíble trabajo del colectivo de cocina Belga Kokkerellem.
Algunas de nuestras actividades favoritas:
En colaboración conReboot the Rootsdesarrollamos e impartimos un taller de dos días deTeatro del Oprimido. Utilizamos el trabajo de Augusto Boal en las calles de París, empleando el teatro como medio para demostrar nuestra preocupación y unidad durante la manifestación de las Líneas Rojas el D12.
El equipo de Eroles facilitó una mesa redonda participativaRe-imaginando nuestro activismoque pretendía responder ¿estamos creando el mundo que queremos ver nacer a través de nuestras acciones? Se compartieron reflexiones personales y teóricas sobre nuestros enfoques para la acción, la tiranía del objetivo frente al proceso, la necesidad de un revolución de consciencia, de una transformación interior, incluir un enfoque sistémico en nuestras metodologías y análisis para favorecer cambio profundos y duraderos dentro de nuestro activismo para que estos se vean reflejados a la larga en nuestra sociedad.
En La Générale estrenamosLa Cantina de las Naciones Unidas. Una performance interactiva diseñada para emular las relaciones de poder desigual que se dan en las negociaciones entre países en encuentros como la COP21. Los 60 miembros del público debían traer un vegetal, a cada persona le fue asignado un país que tenía condiciones e instrucciones diferentes, y entre tod@s debían cocinar una comida junt@s. El resultado de este juego fue una experiencia de lo más vívida que favoreció el debate y ofreció una nueva visión sobre los procesos de toma de decisiones en NU.
¿Si nada de lo que haces es suficiente, entonces qué puedes hacer? Esta pregunta, formulada en uno de nuestros talleres de Activismo sostenible, inspiró algunas de las reflexiones y razonamientos de una joven activista que atendió a la Conferencia de Naciones Unidas como delegada de la juventud para la cumbre.
Apóyanos
Buscamos personas u organizaciones que quieran apoyar nuestro trabajo para 2016 y los próximos 5 años. Si estás interesada/ interesado en contribuir económicamente o de alguna otra forma, o sabes de alguien que puede estarlo, por favor ponte en contacto con nosotras en info@erolesproject.org. Estaremos felices de compartir nuestro ideas, plan estratégico para el futuro y nuestro informe sobre los resultados alcanzados hasta ahora. Invertir en cambio social es invertir en una educación audaz y transformadora que lo ejemplifique y lo promueva.

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