Turning the Tide held its Resource Person gathering at Bilberry Hill Centre near Birmingham over the weekend. The programme, ably put together by Bob, Denise and Sophie, focussed (I think) on 'the roots of our activism'. The weekend was, for me, strangely unexpectedly intense, cohering and exhausting. The venue provided more doors than seems possible for a youth centre, and a splendid place to view the moon as it went orange and threatened to drop out of the sky.
through the hatch
We were a mix of older RPs (both in terms of length of involvement in TTT and in years age, it seemed) and several of us newbies (though interestingly we newbies facilitated several of the sessions). And we delved inside ourselves... at least that's how it seemed to me. Carl's session using an exercise from neuro-lingustic programming (NLP) took us up and down a 'ladder' of our activism: our environments, behaviours, capabilities, beliefs/values, identities and spirituality/vision, both in the present and how we would like to see them in the future. It shook and scared me, strangely: connecting parts of me, internal and external, trying to figure out how I and my activism fit together, and how I would like them to. I think it was also incredibly productive.. but I'm still digesting.
many doors lead to many chairs
We had two sessions that made little waves, like nails catching on nylon: 'spirituality and our activism', run by Helen D, and 'class and activism', by Amanda. Both stirred (some of us) up, me included, and I'm still not sure why: partly making me (or us? I don't think I can speak for anyone else though) confront things I feel uncomfortable about, define my acts and thoughts in terms that I don't feel right using. And of course these led to good discussions, and overhanging thoughts that seeped into lunch and dinner.
Sophie and Rachel have a Sunday
Chris and Amanda get classy
And what lunch and dinner they were! Jenny and Rachel seemed to create big pots of goodness out of nowhere and in no time. We ate around a big table, something between a school canteen and Busaba Eathai communal tables, with food passed through the hatch from the cavernous kitchen.
deep debate by the fridges - Chris, Allison, Helen and Carl
Ally and Denise through the hatch
And there was energiser fun... never has a gym been as fun as went 10 of us ran around doing car-car, one eye-closed, the other driving them, making suitable noises on top of giggles. It led on to more discussion about why this stuff works, carnivals and fools, SOMA from Brazil (see Carl's comment below, and Rachel, please tell us more!). And of course the songs, led by Rachel, drawn from SLACKERS: South London Activist Singers. Encore.
Sophie gave us an overview of who's who in the TTT world, and talked through what TTT is doing at the moment, and where she and Steve would appreciate some help. If any of the words below make sense and call to you, call to her.
What TTT does
And in the middle of all this, the clouds cleared, the sun went behind the earth and the moon went orange.