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Learning from the Grassroots

Saturday, 9 November 2019
10:00-17:01

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Grassroots

At the Sustainable Places Research Institute, we are interested in how social movements are instrumental in spreading and developing the knowledge and skills needed for a sustainable future. How do radical farmers develop and share sustainable agricultural practices? How do social movements scale up across networks through different training approaches? And what can formal institutions, including schools and universities learn from these various pedagogical approaches, embedded in social justice and active citizenship?

This one-day interactive event focuses on the broad range of learning and training practices employed by social movements, grassroots networks and community groups. Through showcasing research on ‘Social Movement Learning,’ and including interactive workshops run by activists part of local, national and international movements, we aim to open up a space for teachers, lecturers and community organisers to learn from these creative and horizontal approaches to learning and training. We invite local groups to share their own practices, and engage in a discussion on place-based learning and training with researchers, activists and educators.

We believe that the innovative learning practices used by grassroots organisations could inform academic research activity, and vice versa. This event will provide a forum for sharing and exploring our different types of expertise.

Choose to attend specific sessions or enjoy the full programme.

10:00 – 10:30        Introduction and meeting each other.

10:30 – 11:15        Dynamic Ideas Session 

Participatory Action Research - Pat Gregory (Momentum and Extinction Rebellion) and Alice Taherzadeh (Cardiff University)

Learning in Community Gardens – Poppy Nicol (Cardiff University)

Movement DNA - Frieda Lurken (Extinction Rebellion)

FarmHack – Chris Maughan (Coventry University)

Space for Community – Neil Turnbull (Cardiff University)

My World My Home Aaron Thierry (Friends of the Earth)

11:15 – 11:30        Tea Break

11:30 – 12:30        Workshop Session 1 [Working Together]

[W1] Hearing Everyone’s Voice: planning events and meetings to create connections, share fun and good thinking and challenge the impacts of structural inequality. - Pat Gregory (Momentum and Extinction Rebellion)

[W2] The use of active listening in developing sustainable activism: In this workshop we will practice skills in active  listening as a tool to explore how personal reflection and an exploration of our motivations can be used to help us avoid burn out in our activism. - Aaron Thierry (Friends of the Earth)

[W3] Tapping into the Hive Mind:  using the collective power of participants to solve problems. Bring a challenge to explore together - Hannah Pitt (Cardiff University)

12:30 – 13:30        Shared Lunch: Please bring vegan/vegetarian food to share, plates will be provided but more sustainable if you can bring your own plate and cutlery.

13:30 – 15:00        Workshop Session 2 [Creative Methods]

[W4] Imaginactivism, Visionary Fiction and Re-Storying the Future: In this workshop, I will introduce my recent research about the use of speculative fiction by social and environmental justice activists. I will outline the principles of visionary fiction as used by Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown in their edited collection Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. We will work on collaborative story-telling inspired by the changes you want to see in the world.

[W5] Zine-Making as Reflective Practice: In this workshop we will collectively create a zine around the joys, challenges and future possibilities of grassroots learning. Which methods of moments do we want to celebrate? What challenges do we encounter in building skills and knowledge in our movements? What would a “deschooled” society look like? This workshop will be hands-on and will involve collaborative and individual creative work finishing with a reflection on zine-making as a method. Alice Taherzadeh (Cardiff University)

15:00 – 15:15        Tea Break

15:15 – 16:00        Learning from the Grassroots People’s Assembly

We will run a people’s assembly to bring together everyone’s ideas on the following questions: How can academia  and other educational institutions learn from grassroots practices? How can academic research or institutions contribute to or support this practice? What are the tensions that arise in collaboration?

16:00 – 16:30 Collective Reflection 

Pat will lead us in an event “debrief” discussing key questions in small groups and then bringing together our reflections and our intentions going forward from the day.

Cathays Community Centre
Cathays Community Centre
36-38 Cathays Terrace
Cardiff
CF24 4HX

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