Friday, November 27, 2009

Jenny reflection on her time with Proteus inititaive

Hi everyone
  • I tried to get photographs that I could put on the blog to show you all the beauty of the place that I was in . But you know how I struggle with technology - so will have to draw it in words . The workshop took place in Noordhoek which is on the longest white beach I have ever seen - I swear that even at night the sand glimmers . So you have a strip of pure white sand going forever next to a sea which is icy cold - the atlantic ocean - and which changes colour from azure green to steely blue to at times black . On the sides of this picture and behind are mountains filled with rocky outcrops and sprinkled with flowers , small to large spears of colour bright red purple etc I had a bedroom with enormous windows that I could throw open wide to see this amazing view morning and night . I felt like never leaving it was so peaceful, beautiful
  • Now to the workshop. I have come back with some really lovely ideas about using drawing in our workshops - not drawings of pictures but drawing with colour and shapes . The first exercise which we did using this methodology was amazing - we worked in groups of three and were given an instruction to use colour to show what had brought us to this leadership course. We were not allowed to talk to one another and had to work together on one piece of paper. It was intersting to see how in my group we all started in one corner and worked outwards and how the more one worked outwards we were making unspoken decisions about whether to get involved in each others spaces and whether we could enter those spaces. When we were able to talk there was an enormous amount that we could share with each other both about our drawing ( I was asked why I made such strong marks on the paper - realised that that was part of who I am - I make strong marks ) and how much we learned from our tentativenss about filling the paper - why we felt nervous - how going into others spaces made us feel etc etc So am really intersted to see whether we could build this methodology into some of our programmes .
  • The second issue that really made me think was how the facilitators used silence . They organised the workshop into spaces where people worked initialy in small group sharing about themselves with each other . Each person had a chance to tell their story and the others needed to listen and later ask questions gain calrity. Then in the big group people could reflect on the process of sharing , the themes that had emerged. In facilitating this silence was used . People spoke when they wanted to - we waited out long periods of silence - and the facilitators did not cap anything people said - they held the space. It was profoundly moving and I started to think about how we could learn to do this in our work - and when we used this type of facilitation . It gave people space to be themselves , gave them a chance to tell their stories and feel listened to , to feel contained, to choose how much they wanted to share . It felt deeply respectful of all people there
  • I have come back with a lot of things to think about in terms of consciousness - individual consciusness , group consciousness , about whether african people develop a group consciousness more strongly than an individual consconsciusness - how western people focus on developing individuial consciouness more than collective consciouness - how this could possibly influence our work . Im not going to say any more as i want you to ask me questions through the blog - which will help my thinking about this issue - so over to you all
  • Finally its great to come back and to hear all that has been happening whilst Im away - thank you to you all for giving me the break I really needed it



Amber said...

It sounds really interesting - lets not lose the idea of collective identities and how feminism is essentially an individualist notion (although there are some lines of feminist thought that reject individualism as partiarchal).Also rights are very focused on the idividual - this came up at the Oxfam conference and someone suggested that we look at the African Charter that places rights more in a collective / African context.

JAW said...

Thanks amber - would be good to hear more about feminist thought that rejects individualism as patriarchal - and I am going to dwoneload the African Charter onto this blog so that we can see what is meant by rights in a collective context
OThers are you reading this !!!!