Wednesday 15 April 2015

Nicci Attfield reflects on South Africa and AoC work 9 April 2015

 ....'I think it's true that the ideas are shaping and changing because of the AoC work.  It's a little bit difficult with my writing, because writing about social sculpture and taking part in AoC are two totally different things.  AoC is about freedom, sensitivity, awareness and agency (because we speak and share, and because we connect to a wider community, as one of the children pointed out so intuitively).  And the questions I am asking have also emerged because of Agents of Change.  I've been learning about food, and how it was controlled through agriculture as a way of moving people into industry.  I have also been learning such a lot about the social impacts of development on communities.

In South Africa, so many communities are struggling because of the development of mining and one group of people said that if you want to take a way a community's identity, then you chase away the ancestors.  If you do that, the community will die off.  The woman then explained that the ancestors live on a particular site that is going to be mined.  She explained that her community will be destroyed because the ancestors will leave or abandon them.

My overall question now is how human and environmental rights intertwine?  Can we ever fulfill our human rights if we mistreat the environment?  And how do we get to understand different ways of being so that we can understand that there are not only single ways of being in the world (the ones we might be most familiar with through education).  As I'm sitting and watching or listening, I am increasingly beginning to understand that the way that we are living isn't right.

AoC has been very lovely because it attracts very diverse people.  Everybody feels as though it's okay to take part, and there is a lot of freedom to speak and share.  I haven't seen anything like this before, and particularly the openness.  My previous ways of looking at difference may just have perpetuated the divides between people.  I'm understanding that realizing this was a part of my process, and a part of working reflexively.  I also realize that AoC has changed my life in many ways, and that even as a person who studied diversity, I now have greater insights into different ways of being or living with the world than I had before.  And this is why I really believe we are doing something very good for all people who want to reflect, share or listen to themselves or other people'....

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