Sunday, 21 December 2014

Nicci Attfield Reflects on 2014 and AoC , 20 December 2014

I've been working with James on Agents of Change in South Africa, and he's been guiding and helping (mentoring our work) over here.  About a week ago, I was doing some reflection on AoC and activism, and what I have learned from social sculpture.  The work with Agents of Change has had massive impacts for me, and these have happened in a very positive way.

 I feel very inspired by social sculpture, because it's different to other forms of activism, and it has helped me a lot.  I'd learned a lot about social injustice and privilege, but I've realized how talk of inclusion or multi-culturalism sometimes relates to capitalism and the capitalist system. I started to feel uncertain about  this concept a year a go, but I wasn't sure how to explain this fully.  I know know that it focuses on how to include people within a system which (our AoC discussions believe) are not helpful to people or to the world.

Without being able to untangle the need for a deeper respect for humanity and the environment from capitalism, the system perpetuates itself.  And it restricts the ability of people to respond in creative ways, because it imposes the belief that Western logic, prestige and status are the values to fight for.  Through Agents of Change (which interconnects with my growing interest and questioning around indigenous spirituality and traditional healers), I've learned that there are many ways of being within the world, and so many ways of sharing.

 Agents of Change has been incredible because it has created a platform without hierarchy. All people are valued as a part of our process, and everybody is considered to have the ability to share.  AoC acknowledges systemic and environmental  injustice, but puts the voices of the participants into the centre on an entirely equal footing.  It introduces a sense of community where different people with different perspectives can speak and share.  And the other participants (including me) get to see how there are different ways of being within the world without anybody being seen as right/wrong/more or less powerful.

I've been very interested in traditional healing as a way of re-connecting with body and spirit, and a means of seeing the world of animals, earth, body and air combined with community and prayer (the sweat lodge introduces all of these things), and I enjoyed the way that healers bring a sense of possibility and a focus on 'now' combined with a sense of community.  But as James and I have recently been sharing, this happens with Agents of Change too.  There is a beautiful awareness that reality is in transition, as a part of a process, and that by using imagination, we can shift and create new contributions to the world.

It's refreshing to be a part of a system which  as acknowledges the need for transformation and then gives equal space for freedom and choice of how to work towards a better future.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

AoC SA Science Center 17 December 2014

Today, we had two groups:  the teens who wanted to come along, and then the Science Centre kids who took part.  I ran two groups.  Rita was questioning the fears that come up when you realize that you want to change your life, because there is no going back.  Rita wants to bring changes and she met with some resistance, and she was upset by it.  She ended up feeling anxious.  I know this anxiety (and the resolution happened for me at Moulie Point while I watched the waves), and so I thought it was important to facilitate and share it so that she could find resolution.  The group ended up showing each other support and offering to be there for one another in times of doubt, which was lovely.  I think the AoC group means a lot to the teens.

Everybody who supports me is a blessing and those who don't want to support me make me want to show them that they are wrong because I can do it, I am greater than I look.  I know I have great things ahead of me.  Negativity is something I want to get out of my way (Rita).

Drawing inspires me.  Follow your heart and you will succeed.  Never listen to what people say about you.  (Jemima).

I am very grateful to have the support that I do in my life.  When I feel supported it makes a big difference to the situation I am facing.  I can automatically cope better.  I know that no matter how things turn out I will have friends and family who care about me.  When I think of support I think of rope.  Rope holds things up and keeps things strong.  My friends and family are my rope (Danny).

I feel anger and despair at the lack of value for life.  I want to share beauty.  I realize that art is my voice, and that is alright.  (no name).

Sharing anxiety today reminded me of how I started to feel anxious because I saw the world differently and my beliefs started to change.  I knew I had to find space for them, and now something new is coming to life.  Anxiety is a part of change, I think, and support means such a lot when you share and connect with people who think like you.  Creativity is so inspiring and it helps you move beyond anxiety.  But anxiety is a part of our process, and the way that we can help and support each other means a lot.  It is a very valuable part of the process (Nicci).

And the kids....I ask the kids what they value about being outside.  These are their reflections:

I love flowers.  Flowers are my best.  (Carla)

I think flowers are really beautiful because they really brighten the world.  Flowers are really, really beautiful!  (Tarquin)

I like soccer because when I am on the pitch, I am at home.  I love the king protea but I couldn't find it today (Daiyaan)

Keeping what you love close to you is so important.  Photos of family, children, life.  But we keep money close to us, and I have seen something new today (parent).

I like to be outside because there is more air.  I like flowers.  I like to play soccer.  I like games.  I like my friend Carla.  (Shayan).

Thank you for this work and images- Nicci, Danny, Jemima, Carla, Rita, Tarquin, Daiyaan, Shayan  and thank you to the Science Center in Cape Town for having AoC.