Very excited that we've been invited to deliver a workshop as part of the Victoriart project in Aberdeen next month.
Read more about this community-led public art project here. We look forward to sharing what we all learn soon!
In September we had the pleasure of participating in the Centre for Human Ecology's Unbrexable conference, a day of workshops, films and discussions around Brexit and what it means for our communities near and far.
For our workshop we chose to take the following Thoreau quote as our inspiration:
"I am as desirous of being a good neighbour
as I am of being a bad subject"
We began the workshop with some light Theatre of the Oppressed games, before inviting participants to respond to a set of images, positioning themselves against a matrix of neighbourliness vs civily disobedient:
Out of this activity we drew out some interesting discussions around the inter-relationship between neighbourly acts and that which is considered civily disobedient. We began to consider 'who' were our neighbours and what acts were important to 'support them'. A discussion of the role of solidarity also emerged from this and where it sits.
We next invited participants to select images which represented actions that could be taken forward in the current context (neighbourly, civily disobedient, both/and/or) and were invited to plot these on the matrix. Out of the discussion it was clear that there is a need to neighbourly civil disobedience in the times in which we are living.
Our next activity was to use techniques from Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed, specifically the 'Cops in the Head' activity. The idea behind this activity was to promote discussion around what the barriers to acts of solidarity, neighbourliness and resistance might be in our current context and how we can effectively and collectively overcome such barriers. In order to do this 2 caminantes presented a short scene, in which a character intended to participate in a blockade, but in the end talked herself out of going. We used this brief scene to explore barriers to acting in civily disobedient ways, before experimenting with 'how' we might be able to overcome such barriers.
As ever there was not enough time to explore all the issues, challenges and possibilities that this theme raised, but we enjoyed the opportunity to begin digging around and hope that CAMINA can play a central role in nurturing neighbourly civil disobedience as we go forward... As ever there was not enough time to explore all the issues, challenges and possibilities that this theme raised, but we enjoyed the opportunity to begin digging around and hope that CAMINA can play a central role in nurturing neighbourly civil disobedience as we go forward...
In May we were hosted by the CCA to run an event as part of the Ideas in Intentions in Action series. We themed the event around the relationship between critical education and creative practice, focusing on the role of art and creative methods in addressing and encouraging dialogue on societal issues (problem-posing), and its instrumental potential in bringing people together to carry out social change.
The event began with speakers presenting some examples, thoughts and reflection around their own experiences of doing critical education through creative practice. We then opened the floor for other participants to share their own experiences as well as asking questions.
Our speakers were Katrin Evans of A Moments Peace Theatre company, and Alex Bowie who has worked as a freelance community arts practitioner and now works for The Art Room. Both shared some powerful insights into the tensions and opportunities posed through the work they're doing, some of which have been captured by our illustrator-in-residence, Fiona Flemming who was illustrating the whole event (see slideshow below).
Following this dialogue, we enjoyed some delicious syrian treats made by the wonderful Shivan Khalil, before inviting participants to engage in a simple "creative action", creating postcards with thoughts/questions/ideas to be shared with other practitioners in near and far places. This is part of a wider Learning as we go thread: Postcards from Practice. We will be sharing these postcards and their responses in full soon so watch this space.
The final discussion - as ever far too little time - was devoted to discussion about what support is needed for those doing this stuff to do it well - and to be well (a really poignant theme that came out of the event). This discussion and others like it is also part of CAMINA's PAR Process, and will inform how CAMINA goes forward in the coming months.
Here's a reflection on the event by one of our beloved caminantes, Ruth Lamb...
What was it?
An event that looked at “Art and Creative Practice in Critical Education Activity”. In other words, how can art be used as the medium to get people engaged in critical education or thinking critically?
What did I think?
The night began with myself and Nicky rushing around in a room at the top of the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, profusely sweating with lots of interesting people coming into the very, hot CAA function room.
It ended with myself and a couple of others crying a little, ranting a little, hanging out together and smiling a lot. Personally, the whole thing; the venue, the topic matter, the attendees gave me a feeling of ‘should I be here?’, something I’m not too used to feeling and a feeling I don’t particularly like.
The event stirred an emotional and personal response within me, hitting on what CAMINA aims to do; to search, to admit insecurity, vulnerability and talk. Feelings of being O.K with where we are in our OWN identities, be they formed through being a community organiser / artist / facilitator / practitioner / worker or MEMBER.
Admitting this to ourselves as PEOPLE, before we start to talk of communities (often not our own) is a challenging enough task in a world of anxiety and overproduction (often what we don’t need); how do we then do this with strangers and admit our vulnerability or abilities as it may be, in comfort and confidence?
We are planning another of these events in Aberdeen in November, so watch this space for further details!
In May we linked up with Active Enquiry for their Spect-Act festival to be part of an event exploring some of the burning questions around the practice of Theatre of Oppressed today.
Here's the event write up put together by Aileen:
This April two of our members were invited to deliver a workshop around Theatre of the Oppressed to a group of young activists as part of the Young Friends of the Earth Network meet-up in Scotland. In the workshop we explored a range of techniques including games, image theatre and some newspaper theatre. The themes explored and the ideas expressed highlighted how powerful Theatre of the Oppressed can be as a tool for dialogue which gets beyond words and 'statements'. Here's some of the things we captured from the day:
Thanks to our friends at Active Enquiry for sharing the opportunity with us.
In February 2017 we were invited by Solidarity Against Neoliberal Extremism (SANE) to run a workshop around critical education at their 2 day Congress. In the workshop we facilitated a dialogue around the question: 'What is the role of critical education/and critical educators in challenging neoliberalism?'. Using images to formulate our responses to this question we then categorised our ideas into:
1) What is critical education?
2) Where does it take place?
3) Who is involved?
4) What challenges we might face in doing critical education?
Here are the thoughts that arose from the group discussion
If you'd like to participate in, or have CAMINA facilitate, a similar discussion get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to the good folk at SANE for inviting us and to the CAMINA members who helped us to deliver it and to all who participated in shaping the discussion.
Events and workshops
As part of the learning as we go project we will deliver a range of workshops and eventsin the community which bring educators (and community members) together to explore what is needed to support more effective, sustainable and transformative practice.