UOT - Lab for new Knowledge and an Eco-Social Future

LAB for New Knowledge and an Eco-Social Future

Communication | Published: 07.09.2018

Sign up now: EARTH FORUM TRAINING (English & German) Oxford, 1-4 November 2018

Do you want to learn to guide a social sculpture - connective process and join the international community of Earth Forum 'Responsible Participants'? Join us for the upcoming training in November, in Oxford. In German and in English!

[Unten kannst du die Informationen auch auf Deutsch runterladen!]

What is Earth Forum?

Earth Forum links inner work and outer action. It creates a social space for uncovering our ‘agendas for transformation’ and enables a lived experience of our capacities as agents of change to shape an ecological and humane future.

Earth Forum is an ‘instrument of consciousness’ and module in the University of the Trees: Lab for New Knowledge and an Eco-Social Future. Like all research, modules, practices and actions in this alternative, mobile university it is in tune with Joseph Beuys’ perception that ‘every human being is an artist’: social sculptors working with the ‘invisible materials’ of thought, discussion and speech to shape our own lives and social forms that will enable us to be the social freedom-beings we potentially are.

Earth Forum is a process in which everyone can participate!

Every human being has the capacity to see, to reflect on, and to share the pictures in their mind: of the past, of the present and the future. Sometimes we forget that practicing this imaginative, reflective ability is a key form of capacity building that enables both empathy, creative perception, and connective vision. Earth Forum is a process of creative imagining and exchange that enables us to go beyond swapping opinions, argument, and debate. It enhances two important capacities: the capacity to imagine and the capacity for active listening.

Earth Forum has no preconceived outcomes or agendas. Earth Forum generates social substance with which we can work as individuals and as a group. It enables an experience of thinking together that at the same time enhances our individual experience. Earth Forum works well with people from organisations and networks who have similar commitments and values; as well as for groups of people who have very different ideas and values. It is also a useful processfor bringing together stakeholders involved with one area or territory, but who have very different ideas and ‘takes’ on what progress or sustainable development might mean. In these situations, Earth Forum has been a creative way of bringing people together who are not readily listening to each other, to really experience each other’s different perspectives, and then to allow new solutions to unfold. Earth Forum is based on the understanding that we are ‘emergent beings’ who need to allow things to unfold and at the same time shape and direct this unfolding.

Whether you are a youth leader, communicator, government official, activist, farmer, scientist, entrepreneur, teacher, member of an organisation, decision-maker, artist, learner, community leader, or any other citizen, Earth Forumis an opportunity to creatively engage with others in your community, group, or from completely different situations.

Earth Forum is a social space that emerges in working imaginatively together

The process is designed for 5-12 participants and, depending on situation, can last 2-3 hours or up to a full day. It can be done in many different contexts and situations, as appropriate to the group’s needs.

Earth Forum so far...

Earth Forum was developed for the 2011 Climate Summit in South Africa, linked to the Climate Fluency Exchange project. Since then it has collaborated with many other initiatives including Citizen’s Art Days, Berlin; the Überlebenskunst programme at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt; the Art and Social Practice Group, Mumbai, CSR workshops and the Pune Biennale, India; Böll Foundation workshops and conferences, Berlin; the Green Party congress, Düsseldorf; Creative Challenge, London; the Earth Conference in Ireland, the Making a Difference-Asia event in Hong Kong for hundreds of young ‘change-makers’, and recently for an international network of 120 leadership and social development consultants. Thousands of people have taken part in the Earth Forum process in South Africa [17 towns and villages], Brazil, [São Paulo], Germany [Berlin, Bonn, Kassel, Dresden, Hannover, Munich], India [Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai], China [Hong Kong and Mainland] and the UK [Oxford, London, Sussex, and Exeter] and more than 100 people have been trained as Earth Forum guides or ‘Responsible Participants’. We are currently exploring links to scale out the Earth Forum process to enable thousands of people to be trained in this experiential knowing, capacity building, social emergence practice.

Earth Forum Training: becoming a 'Responsible Participant'

Earth Forum [EF] participants who do the EF training to guide the process for others are described as the 'Responsible Participant'. As a Responsible Participant you can offer Earth Forum for groups and organisations in many different contexts, as:

  • a capacity building process for enabling new vision towards the shaping a humane and ecologically viable future
  • an experiential process for coming to our senses
  • a listening space to create the conditions for working with difference, and for multi-stakeholder groups to ‘live into’ the consequences of different, sometimes conflicting ideas
  • a generative space for social emergence and deepening social space
  • an imaginative space for becoming agents of the future.

After this training, you will be an Earth Forum Responsible Participant, but you will still need practice and support. The best way to become a skilled and creative Responsible Participant is to do it, if possible in pairs, and then to reflect on the process, in dialogue with yourself, with others and with us. We will provide you with an Earth Forum Logbook for Responsible Participants to support this reflective process.

Prices for the training are on a sliding scale.

Concessions: £150-300 / €170-340 Full price: £400-600 / €450-680

As part of the Earth Forum training you will receive a certificate and an Earth Forum Responsible Participant handbook. This will support your ongoing use of Earth Forum. In addition, you can buy an Earth Forum Kit, which includes an oiled cloth in a bag and a UOT band. This kit can also be shared with others.

Price for a complete kit: £50 / €56

Loose cloth with bag: £40 / €45 Loose UOT band: £20 / €22,50

The location of the training will be Headington Hill Campus at Oxford Brookes University.

Facilitators of the training will be Annelinde Kirchgaesser and Markus Stefan, with contributions by Shelley Sacks. Annelinde and Markus have been working with Earth Forum since 2013. As Responsible Participants, they have guided processes in different contexts, languages, and countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK. Also, they helped develop the Earth Forum Handbook for Responsible Participants and the 4-day training format. Over the last three years Annelinde and Markus co-facilitated several Earth Forum trainings with Shelley Sacks, who originally designed the process.

Next to their work with Earth Forum, Shelley, Markus, and Annelinde are directors of the University of the Trees: Lab for New Knowledge and an Eco-Social Future [UOT:LAB]. The UOT:LAB is an alternative, mobile university and not-for-profit social enterprise. Earth Forum is one of the UOT:LAB’s ‘modules’. The team also works together in the Social Sculpture Research Unit and teaches on the Masters in Social Sculpture and Connective Practice at Oxford Brookes University.

For more information in German or English and to sign up, contact Markus Stefan: markus.stefan@hotmail.com

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