Courses Overview >> Short courses >> Sacred Activism 2018

Sacred Activism 2018

Course dates: 
Monday, 16 April, 2018 to Friday, 4 May, 2018
Sacred Activism

With Bayo Akomolafe, Frederique Apffel-Marglin and Justine Huxley

Events happening on the world stage have left many of us feeling that we living in a post-Truth world that is making less and less sense. It can be a challenge to know how to respond.

Many of our established social systems seem to be breaking down. Fear, racism and misogyny are heightened, poverty and economic polarisation are escalating, and there are more refugees and migrants displaced from their homes than we have ever seen before. Consumerism has the world in its grip and the destruction of Earth continues unabated. Can we continue to pretend it is ‘business as usual’? What alternatives are available for us to participate in? 

It can feel like there are many competing realities all living side by side. Growing movements for social and environmental change are visible all around us. They are giving birth to many new ways of living and organising based on the principle of interdependence. Simultaneously, elsewhere in society, there are sentiments rising that reject multiculturalism, retreat from connectedness and are generating disturbing political divisions, isolationism and fear.  

Pope Francis in his encyclical described the ‘cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor’ as the fundamental challenges of our times. We see this as a call to action.

Where do we each fit into this?  What should be our response?  How do we live in a challenging new landscape and act with integrity?  What contribution can we make to protect what is most sacred?  And how can we make that contribution without burning out?

This three-week intensive will bring together activists and change agents from different traditions and perspectives to inquire with us into some of the most pressing and live questions of our times. These include:

What is sacred activism and why is it essential in today’s landscape?
What is different when we act from a place of relationship with the divine, regardless of tradition?
What is the role of spirituality in social, economic, political and ecological change?
How do we bring spirituality and action together with power, inclusivity and integrity?
How do we live in touch with the soul of the Earth - in connection with the sacred dimension of our life in our everyday realities?
What tools do we have that can help us move from contemplation and questioning into action that comes from the heart and from a place of oneness?
What is the role of protest, disruptive innovation and non-violent direct action?  And how can we ensure it comes from a non-oppositional place?
How do we live from a place that is real within us, and avoid getting drawn into unnecessary drama and distraction?
How do we stay connected and aware of what is happening globally without drowning in an ocean of negativity?
What is radical simplicity and why is it important?
How do we stay resilient?  How do we pick our challenges?  And how do we avoid burn out?

This is a three-week intensive delivered as part of our postgraduate programme in Ecology and Spirituality but open to external participants. It will take place in the elegant surrounds of the Elmhirst Centre at Dartington Hall.

Week 1: The course begins with a contextualisation of Sacred Activism. We will inquire into the meanings, the positioning of ideas and events and ask the live questions in the field. Bayo will offer alternative perspectives, including the more radical discourse unfolding. Martin Palmer will represent the perspective and voices of organised religions.

Week 2: An in-depth consideration of diverse ideas, stories and projects sharing Sacred Activism from around the world. We will explore some of what gets things done and some of what gets in the way. We will inquire into how activism can arise from a relationship to the sacred and how this can bring new vitality, creativity and support.

Week 3: 30 Aligning with your own sacred activism; the crossroads of ways of being and ways of doing. The final week will be a thought-provoking experiential exploration of how to discern our own authentic contribution, how to live with resilience and to act from wholeness. Where does your inner life that includes sacred practices and beliefs meet with your outer life of actions you want to make in the world? This will be an opportunity to learn and share processes and techniques for discovering and uncovering your sacred activism and how to manifest this into the world.

Contributors

Bayo Akomolafe

Bayo Akomolafe (Ph.D.) considers his most sacred work to be learning how to be with his daughter and son, Alethea Aanya and Kyah Jayden - and their mother, his wife and "life-nectar", Ijeoma. "To learn the importance of insignificance" is the way he frames a desire to reacquaint himself with a world that is irretrievably entangled, preposterously alive and completely partial. Bayo was born in 1983 into a Christian home, and to Yoruba parents in western Nigeria. Losing his diplomat father to a sudden heart complication, Bayo became a reclusive teenager, seeking to get to the "heart of the matter" as a response to his painful loss. He sought to apply himself to the extremes of his social conditioning, his faith, and his eventual training as a clinical psychologist - only to find that something else beyond articulation was tugging at his sleeves, wanting to be noticed. After meeting with traditional healers as part of his quest to understand trauma, mental wellbeing and healing in new ways, his deep questions and concerns for decolonized landscapes congealed into a life devoted to exploring the nuances of a "magical" world "too promiscuous to fit neatly into our fondest notions of it." A renegade academic, lecturer, speaker, and proud diaper-changer, Bayo curates an earth-wide organization (The Emergence Network) for the re-calibration of our ability to respond to civilizational crisis - a project framed within a feminist ethos and inspired by indigenous cosmologies. He considers this a shared art - exploring the edges of the intelligible, dancing with post-humanist ideas, dabbling in the mysteries of quantum mechanics and the liberating sermon of an ecofeminism text, and talking with others about how to host a festival of radical silence on a street in London - and part of his inner struggle to regain a sense of rootedness to his community. He also hosts a course (We Will Dance with Mountains) among other offerings. In short, Bayo has given up his longing for the "end-time" and is learning to live in the "mean time". In the middle, where we must live with confusion and make do with partial answers. His greatest vocation is however learning to be a satellite orbiting his greatest gift, his goddess Ijeoma, and knowing the blessings of her gravity. He speaks and teaches about his experiences around the world, and then returns to his adopted home in Chennai, India - "where the occasional whiff of cow dung dancing in the air is another invitation to explore the vitality of a world that is never still and always surprising." Bayo has authored two books, ‘We Will Tell Our Own Story!’ and ‘These Wilds Beyond our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity’s Search for Home’. www.bayoakomolafe.net, www.emergencenetwork.org

Prof. Frederique Apffel-Marglin

Frédérique Apffel-Marglin (Ph.D) is a professor emerita of Anthropology. She taught at Smith College in Massachusetts. In the summer of 2009, Apffel-Marglin founded the non-profit organization Sachamama Center for Biocultural Regeneration, dedicated to the regeneration of both the local forest and of indigenous agriculture and culture in the Peruvian High Amazon while addressing the climate crisis by regenerating a type of Amazonian pre-Columbian anthropogenic soil that acts as a sink for greenhouse gases. The center is an educational organization that aims to integrate theory, research, activism and spirituality. Recent publications include: Subversive Spiritualities: How Rituals Enact the World, Oxford University Press, New York, 2011. And, Rhythms of Life: Enacting the World with the Goddesses of Orissa, Oxford University Press, 2008, ISBN 0-19-569419-8.

Justine Huxley

Justine Huxley (Ph.D) is the Director of St. Etheburga’s Centre for Reconcilliation and Peace, leading on overall strategy, vision and management. She has a Ph.D in Psychology, with a background in business communications and 5 years of experience on the trading floor of a City investment bank. She is passionate about bringing people together from different backgrounds and co-creating innovative projects that speak to the needs of the time. Justine sees peace as a dynamic state where people collaborate across divisions in service to the whole. Justine offers workshops, lectures and keynote speeches on: Peace-making and conflict transformation; faith and resilience; interdependence as an emerging worldview; the refugee crisis; inter-faith relations; young people, faith and the future; new approaches to interfaith leadership; environmental peace-building; spiritual ecology; conflict coaching; dialogue facilitation; the role of narrative and story in community reconciliation.


 

 

Fee: 
£ 2 200.00
Course fees include all meals, field trips, materials and all teaching sessions. The programme will run from Monday of the first week to Friday afternoon the last week, and includes twenty nights private accommodation and all vegetarian meals from the first lunchtime you arrive through until the lunchtime before your departure. This course is part of Schumacher College's MA Ecology and Spirituality postgraduate programme. It is open to external participants who would like to deeply explore this subject material and can join us for the whole three-week programme.We recommend attending this course as a fully residential participant however for you may choose to book as a non-residential participant. Please call 01803 847237 for more details.