Tuesday, 15 May 2007

NVDA TOT in Glasgow, and London?

Fabulous! Kathryn just wrote to encourage people to continue discussions sparked by last Saturday's training on the blog. I'm anxious to hear about the content, the vibe and thoughts, experiences, about Saturday's TTT training.

About two weeks ago, I went to Glasgow for a training of trainers NVDA workshop. I went because I knew I had to miss Saturday's workshop, and because I'd never been to Glasgow so my partner and I made a long weekend of it.

The workshop was .... good. The trainers were completely competent and knowledgeable about training people for doing actions. The participants ranged from 'grassroots weapons inspectors' (full-time Faslane activits) to students with little NVDA experience, but keen to learn more, to ... a couple of, well one other come to think of it, person like me -- had done loads of NVDA years ago, but wasn't too sure about the climate and police response these days. We were seeking a 're-fresher' course if you like.

What was disappointing to me was the lack of community building exercises, I spent from Friday night to Sunday afternoon with 13 other activists, and the atmosphere was friendly but there was never that 'click' for us a whole group, you know? I clicked with individuals, but there was nothing particularly pulling us together as a group.

And then, another short-coming for me was this notion that we all held the same assumptions about the role and importance of NVDA. OK, it was a TOT on how to get groups ready in 90 minutes (or if you're lucky one day) for an action, but I would have liked some discussion on the effectiveness and timeliness and a vast array of other things about NVDA.

How was the London training? What were the main issues?


kathryn said...

for all my critical thoughts, I realised this morning, walking through wet East Street market, that this TTT series is unusually impressive in the extent that we are (being encouraged to) think logicallly/strategically/realisitically/ whatever you want to call it. Several times in the exercise on Saturday it came up that we would do certain things in certain contexts, and what we would do or how we would react depended on the change we are trying to achieve.

Does that mean to be 'real', exercises need to increasingly provide us with more specific contexts, in which we can make 'realistic' decisions - choices made by us being our real selves? (This partly prompted by doing an exercise about an orange with young people on Tuesday night; some of it bombed, because they really weren't interested in an orange!).

DD said...

The 'realness' of exercises is much to ponder, but at the moment, I'm more curious about the orange exercise.

What was the exercise? And instead of telling us about how it (as you describe it) 'bombed', what was good about it? What was the best that you hoped for when you were doing the exercise? What would you do differently in the future to make it better?

I am truly interested in those questions, Kathryn. And it makes me think that the value of exercises is that by simulating as near to real conditions/circumstances/situations it allows us to try out different actions/reactions, which may or may not be replicated in the 'real' situation.

One of the 'grassroots weapons inspectors' from the Glasgow training wrote to our list on Monday to share a story. She had been poking around in the forest in Faslane and came across a bunch of cops out in a field practicing responding to NVDA. She said it was wonderfully hilarious and so true to life. The cops were just as good as acting like the peaceniks as activists can easily role play cops. It suggests a lot of time observing and being around protesters. I bet your average Jane and Joe off the street couldn't do very snap into a lock on position.

Sorry, sort of going off on a tangent here. But it gets me round to one thing that inckled away at me during the training. I felt a strong 'us v. them' vibe among some of the participants. Nonviolence was a tactic during the action, but not a lifestyle. That said, who am I to insist that a committed NVDA activist also have a NV lifestyle. It's just something I noticed but there was never space to talk about at the training.

And yes, inckle -- I just made that word up. Like it?