With Bayo Akomolafe, Manish Jain, Toni Spencer and special guest Charles Eisenstein by Skype
Are you dismayed, disturbed and totally disenchanted with what is happening to the only real planetary home we have? So are we.
How do we meet and act and dance with the world if we are no longer at its centre?
This course is a chance to break free of an old paradigm and consider what we would do differently as a result. It is a chance to step out of the human-centric narrative that we are at the centre of a material and inanimate world, that we have caused the crises that we face and that, as a result, we must seek and implement solutions to this external problem that will save our species from extinction.
We will instead look at a different narrative.
We will consider a world in which we are entangled, a world in which we share a collective responsibility with the non-human realm and in which there is no distance or separation from land and tree and mountain. From this position we will consider what actions mays emerge – what radical forms of activism and education would be more appropriate if we consider the world as our partner.
‘It is simple: if we are going to survive, we are going to have to partner with the world and yet, there is no guarantee that ‘we win’.
This course is for those who are looking for a different type of activism and education and a different type of non-human centred politics with which to address our troubles. It is for you if you feel disenchanted with the normal forms of political action and feel as though a more radical shift is necessary at this point in time. Are you prepared to slow down and dance as the world becomes more and more engulfed in the flames of bureaucracy and urgency?
The week will be a mix of participatory and playful conversations mixed with insights and stories of civic action and educational activism that show that we are not as limited as we think we are.
Specifically you will:
- Feel how the material matters and why this changes everything
- Rethink your relationship with the vibrant world around you
- Learn about indigenous practices and questions that break open places of power that currently have no place in conventional politics
- Have cross-boundary dialogues between north and south, human and non-human and any other boundary that should emerge.
- Challenge your understanding of change – a sore spot of contemporary activism
- Question the current political quest to find a ‘new story’ and how this sustains an anthropocentric view of the world
- Experience embodied learning paradigms and cosmovisions that go against the current narrative of schooling, growth and development
- Rethink your relationship with failure, grief and disenchantment
- Explore the monologue of schooling, the importance of unschooling and the sacred gift of children
- Connect with a network of explorers that supports your onward expeditions and experiments
Adebayo Akomolafe (PhD) is a young clinical psychologist, lecturer and author from Covenant University in Nigeria. Author, poet, international speaker, Bayo is the Special Envoy of the International Alliance for Localization, a project of Local Futures. Bayo is globally recognized for his poetic, unconventional, counterintuitive, and indigenous take on global crisis, civic action and social change, and was recently enlisted as the recipient of the Global Excellence Award (Civil Society) 2014 by FutureShapers (California). He is the Coordinating Curator for The Emergence Network, a post-activist project seeking to trouble the discourse on change and contemporary activism, as well as the facilitator of 'We will dance with Mountains: Writing as a tool for Emergence', an online course (course.bayoakomolafe.net). You can know more about Bayos work by visiting bayoakomolafe.net (Linkedin: https://ng.linkedin.com/in/bayoakomolafe (link is external))
Disenchanted with the single story about wellness and being he had received via his Eurocentric clinical training, Bayo has embarked on a quest to seek out the less-than-obvious stories his own people have told for hundreds of years. He has met with Yoruba shaman-priests who speak glowingly about the vibrancy of the nonhuman world, the limitations of human agency and identity, and a more holistic notion of prosperity and abundance. They have taught him the limitations of ‘the white man’s pills’ and urged a collective shift from the hubris of modernity to a deepened alliance with the web of life, saying: ‘In other to find your way, you must lose it’. Bayo has learned to recognise that the powerful experiences associated with mental disorders have deeper significance, and could be our strongest allies in our quest to live in a more beautiful world.
Manish Jain is deeply committed to regenerating our diverse knowledge systems and cultural imaginations. He has served for the past 17 years as Coordinator and Co-Founder of Shikshantar: The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development based in Udaipur, India and is co-founder of the Swaraj University, Creativity Adda, Learning Societies Unconference, Walkouts-Walkon network, and Udaipur as a Learning City in India. He is a featured speaker/advisory member of the Economics of Happiness network for localization. He recently helped to launch the Ecoversities Network. He has edited several books on Vimukt Shiksha (liberating learning) on themes such as learning societies, unlearning, gift culture, community media, and tools for deep dialogue.
Prior to this, Manish worked as one of the principal team members of the UNESCO Learning Without Frontiers global initiative. He has also been a consultant to UNICEF, World Bank, USAID in Africa, South Asia and former Soviet Union. Manish also worked as an investment banker with Morgan Stanley. He has been trying to unlearn his Master’s degree in Education from Harvard University and a B.A. in Economics, International Development and Political Philosophy from Brown University. He and his wife Vidhi have been unschooling themselves with their 13 year old daughter, Kanku. Manish is passionate about urban organic farming, filmmaking, simulation gaming, bicycling, group facilitation and slow food cooking.
Charles Eisenstein (Skype)
Charles is a teacher, speaker, and writer focusing on themes of civilization, consciousness, money, and human cultural evolution. His on-line writings have generated a vast following; he speaks frequently at conferences and other events, and gives numerous interviews on radio and podcasts. Eisenstein graduated from Yale University in 1989 with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy, and spent the next ten years as a Chinese-English translator. His books include The Ascent of Humanity, Sacred Economics and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible.
Toni works with questions of deep ecology, resilience and ‘a politics of wonder’. She designs and facilitates learning journeys for change agents, informed by the understanding that “we are the leaders we’ve been waiting for”. She creates spaces where grit, grief, messiness and laughter are welcome, where innovation and wisdom can emerge, and essential un-learning can happen.
As a lecturer and course leader Toni has taught on the faculty of Schumacher College (Educational Practice, Ecological Facilitation as Leadership, Embodied Eco-literacy) and at Goldsmiths, University of London (Eco Design). As a participatory artist she has worked with Encounters Arts and The Feral Kitchen, also taking ‘The Work That Reconnects’ to activist communities at Occupy London and elsewhere. She is a Trustee at ProcessworkUK and was on the Embercombe Council for 8 years.
With a BA in Fine Art and an MSC in Responsibility and Business Practice, Toni has trained in a diverse range of awakening practices and facilitation modalities, alongside many years of dancing, foraging and ‘living life as inquiry’. She is a mentor and teacher for Call of The Wild with Wildwise and Schumacher, and is helping develop further courses at the college on themes of sacred activism.
As part of an ongoing commitment to re-wilding and mystery, in 2016 Toni took herself ‘to the desert’ to mark the initiatory journey of her menopause. At Findhorn, on Dartmoor and in the deserts of Jordan she fell more deeply in love with humanity, silence and writing. She is still discovering what happens now…
Current passions include: Kali and the Sacred Fool; being a complete beginner at Kung Fu; and the wild green feasting that comes with a Devon spring.