body land ether: Experiments & Training in Land-Based, Embodied, Creativity-Centered Organizing Practice

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APPLICATION DEADLINE EXTENDED: APPLY HERE BY 11:59PM APRIL *14TH*

Dates: April 22 & 23, May 20 & 21, June 10 & 11. Workshops will run 2pm – 6pm each day.
Location: Camosun Bog & TBA
Teaching Team: T’uy’tanat-Cease Wyss & mia susan amir
Registration fee: $300.00 – $500.00, sliding scale based on income level
Bursaries, scholarships, & payment plans available!

A bog takes 5,000 years to develop into a resilient ecosystem. In a bog, it is the slow decay of dead plant matter that forms the basis of growth and life. The intricate and necessary relationships between past, present, and future that exist within the bog ecosystem give us much inspiration when thinking about what sustained, embodied, relational, creative, visionary, strategic, and bold, organizing and politicized arts practices can look like. Through body land ether we seek to explore just this!

body land ether is a 3-month training and experimentation series intended for community organizers, land and water defenders, politicized artists, and cultural workers/organizers living on the unceded and occupied territories of the x?m?θk??y??m, s?wxw_ ú7mesh, and Tsleil—Waututh, who are interested in engaging the following questions:

  • How can the land where we live, create, and organize inform how we live, create and organize; exploring our communities of creation and resistance as ecosystems.
  • How are our relationships to the territories where we live, create, and organize configured/impacted by ongoing colonization? What does it mean to be an accomplice to political change in this context, based on our positionality?
  • What motivates us to protect what is sacred? And how do we weave our political beliefs into our personal relationships to culture and ceremony, in order to affect the positive changes we seek?
  • How do intergenerational relationships, and our relationship to our ancestors both form us, and inform our work in service of our future ancestors?
  • How does developing embodied practice:
    • support our self-determination;
    • strengthen our ability to respond to intuition and innate impulse; and
    • embolden our capacity to organize and create in coordination with others?
  • How can we best find ways to address our fears and needs, especially when taking political and creative risks?
  • How do land- and body-based practices support political imagination, interdependence, intervulnerability, responsibility, and right relationship?
  • How does creative-political praxis enable the widening of our movements, and deepen the impact of our strategies?

This series emerges as a response to the political contexts of the recent approval of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline, the Site C Dam, and the rise of white supremacy and fascism locally and globally.

 

Each training weekend will include:

One day of land-based immersion at Camosun Bog
We will commit this time to being immersed in the environment, and in an esoteric manner. We are going to allow our spirits/our minds/our blood to find safety and comfort in the outdoors, to become deeply acquainted with the forest, the bog, and the energies that co-exist between the human and natural world. We will breath fresh air and take a break from the toxicity that urban spaces inflict on our minds/bodies/spirits. We will reconnect ourselves to our personal pasts and seek to restart our paths towards our futures through cultural interactions in the natural world. We will learn how to listen.

One day of indoor interdisciplinary training/experimentation
We will explore learnings made on the land, and engage with assigned creative and theoretical materials to deepen embodied creative-political praxis and organizing strategies. These explorations will be in direct relationship to the creative work and/or organizing that participants are currently engaged in, in their communities. The above-listed questions will frame our explorations.

We will work individually, in partners, in small groups, and as a large group. Our pedagogy will be grounded in emergent practice, experiential learning practice, and will centre mutual learning. We will use tools drawn from Theatre of the Oppressed, Authentic Movement, creative writing, community mapping, visual storytelling, and more. Our teaching practice and group process will be rooted in and informed by our commitments to racial, economic, disability, gender, and environmental justice. Exercises will centre access to support a variety of learning styles and ways of participating.

There will be one practice-based assignment for completion between training weekends.


Readings may include selections from the following, among others:

  • Audre Lorde
  • Aurora Levins-Morales
  • Chris Abani
  • Gloria Anzaldua
  • Octavia Butler
  • Accomplices Not Allies, Indigenous Action Media
  • Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Aesthetics, Politics, Environments and Epistemologies, Edited by Heather Davis & Etienne Turpin
  • Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution, Assembled by Andrew Boyd with Dave Oswald Mitchell
  • Dancing On Our Turtle’s Back: Stories of Nishnabeg Re-Creation, Resurgence and a New Emergence, Leanne Simpson
  • Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds, Adrienne Maree Brown
  • Ethno-­techno: Writings on Performance, Activism and Pedagogy, Guillermo Gómez‐Peña
  • Letting Stories Breathe: A Socio-Narratology, Arthur W. Frank
  • Re:Imagining Change, Patrick Reinsborough & Doyle Canning
  • The Winter We Danced, the Kino-nda-niimi Collective
  • Undercurrent, Rita Wong
  • Unsettling Canada, A National Wake Up Call, Between the Lines, Arthur Manuel & Ronald Derrickson


Participants will leave with:

  • A personal creative-political toolkit based on the monthly activities, exercises, assigned materials, and discoveries made through our explorations indoors and outdoors; including new systems and process approaches to bringing land-, body-, and creativity-based practices into our organizing and cultural work.
  • A more integrated relationship to the following to support us in better understanding our role/s and responsibilities in political and cultural transformation:
    • the land we do our organizing and creative work on;
    • our embodied experiences and truths;
    • the communities we are from and that we base our work in
  • Greater clarity and connectedness in regards to what motivates our organizing and creative practice, in relationship to ancestors, political beliefs, and cultural practice.
  • A network of like-minded individuals and challenging themselves to build networks that support them and the work they are dedicated to.


Who should apply?

  • Community organizers, land and water defenders, politicized artists, cultural workers/organizers, educators, those practicing community engagement in a politicized context (or wishing to push their work), arts and culture programmers, and those seeking to build their networks of practice/organizing.
  • You must be excited about intergenerational group-based learning.
  • You must be invested in learning new ways of understanding the relationship between the human and natural worlds in a politicized context.
  • You must be ready to commit to the full series.
  • The participation of those who identify as, BIPOC, LGBTQI, Two Spirit, gender nonconforming, disabled, chronically ill, crazy, neurodiverse, poor, as well as those organizing in the context of racial, gender, disability, housing, economic and environmental justice will be prioritized.


Registration Fee, Bursaries, Scholarships, Payment Plans, Work Trades:

Successful applicants will be required to pay a sliding scale Registration Fee. Those earning a living wage should consider paying the full amount.

Limited bursaries, scholarships, payment plans, and work trades, are available for those interested in applying but for whom the fee is a barrier.

Those wishing to be considered for a bursary, scholarship, payment plan, or work trade, are required to submit a Letter of Request with their application, as detailed on the application page. Work trades most relevant to SWB’s current needs will be web-development related, though other proposals will be considered.

Those applying to attend as delegates of collectives, grassroots, or funded groups/organizations are encouraged to explore fundraising options from within those spaces to help cover participation costs.


Accessibility Information

1) ASL interpretation will be provided if need is indicated.

2) Wheelchair access at Camosun Bog:
The washrooms and parking at the Park Centre on 16th Ave. are wheelchair-accessible. Other accessible facilities include the pit toilet at the Clinton Meadow picnic area (at 33rd and Camosun). Camosun Bog boardwalk trails are also accessible, however there is no designated accessible parking at 21st Ave. and Crown St.

Heron Trail is 1.2 km long, 1.5 m wide at minimum with minimal slopes. The trail surface is semi-firm (packed gravel).

Imperial Trail is 1.8 km long, minimum 3 m wide, with up to a 20% grade change. The trail surface is semi-firm (packed gravel).

Cleveland Trail is 1.2 km long, minimum 1 m wide, semi-firm gravel surface with minimal slopes north of W. 16th Street. There is up to a 25% slope south of 16th Street.

Other trails are accessible to users using specialized wheelchairs/equipment.

3)   Indoor training site.
We are currently securing our indoor facility and will provide access information regarding that site as well as soon as it is available.

4) This is a Scent- & Fragrance-Free Program
In order to support those with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, body/land/ether will be a scent- and fragrance-free program. Here’s some information on MCS and how to reduce your impact on individuals with MCS.

MCS is a serious condition that can produce any of the following symptoms: headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, congestion, itching, sneezing, sore throat, chest pain, changes in heart rhythm, breathing problems including asthma-like conditions, muscle pain or stiffness, skin rashes, diarrhea, bloating, seizures, migraines, nosebleeds, vomiting confusion, trouble concentrating, memory problems, and mood changes. These symptoms can last for hours, days, even weeks after exposure.

How to prepare to be scent/fragrance-free:

  1. Please make sure that on the day of the gathering you do not use colognes, perfumes, or essential oils.
  2. Please do not wear clothes that have been previously exposed to perfumes, colognes, scented oils, laundry detergents, or fabric softeners.
  3. Wash any clothing that you would like to wear which has been exposed in unscented laundry detergent. This might require a number of washes.
  4. Please do not use any scented body and hair care products including: deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, gel, mousse, creams, lotions.

It is vital to note that:

  1. “Natural” does not mean scent, fragrance or chemical-free.
  2. Using even a little bit of scented product/product with fragrance can create a HUGE impact for individuals with MCS.
  3. Clothes that have had pre-exposure to scents/fragrances will often continue to hold scents/fragrances and result in impact and effect (yesterday is today!).

You can ensure that you are eliminating your impact on those with MCS by using products that are expressly scent and fragrance free.

For further resources on how to support inclusivity for individuals living with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity check here:
http://www.peggymunson.com/mcs/fragrancefree.html
http://www.brownstargirl.org/blog/fragrance-free-femme-of-colour-realness-draft-15