This page will have updates surrounding enlivened learning, including events, talks, publications, meetings and any other changes to the site.

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11th of August 2014

Hello friends!

We thought we would send another update to let you all know what we have been up to.  It’s been a very busy few months for us since the end of our journey in October 2013. We have made our base in rural Oregon for the last few months as we go through the almost equally intensive process of making sense of the kaleidoscope of experiences of the previous months and the rich variety of materials we collected to make our films and write. We recorded over 140 hours of film, with over 80 interviews, visited 21 places in 10 countries and have over a terabyte of material, which we have been diligently backing up and keeping in multiple hard-drives. Our journey has also been beautifully intensified by  the birth of our son in early March. It’s been a delightful time of learning with him, seeing the world through new eyes. This has also meant that the rhythms of editing and writing have been dramatically altered.

 

Our pace is picking up again and we decided to write from the present and share the journey of what it has been like to transform the materials from our year of visiting all of these amazing innovative places of higher education around the world into a series of films (see post). We plan to continue writing about places further on in our trip that we still have not blogged about – to write about them as we are finishing drafts of films.

 

We have been working with a committed group of interested and passionate co-editors that have been with us (virtually), providing wonderful insights and ideas, transcribing  and translating interviews.

 

We have re-worked our timeframe and wanted to let you all know how this is emerging.  It has been enormously helpful for us to work on shorter films before the feature-length as we are becoming more intimately knowledgeable with the footage we have as we share themes and insights with others.  Our goal is to have final drafts of six short films by November and to edit our feature-length film by February 2015.

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 25th of July 2013 Friends, It has been an intense few weeks since we launched our campaign to raise funds to finish the Enlivened Learning documentary.  During the campaign we were busy travelling between several university initiatives and meetings around India. We have also been joined by co-traveller, Marina Leitner here, who has been working with us in the project for many months. The last time she joined us to visit and learn from places was in Brazil. India - Navdanya Seedbank white wall art Whilst in India we have been visiting three exciting universities Navdanya/the Earth University (near Dehradun), the Adivasi Academy (rural Gujarat) and Swaraj University (Udaipur, Rajasthan) as well as attending a number of meetings. One of these was the wonderful Learning  Societies Network (mostly annual) Unconference, this year held in Pune. Here we had the chance to meet hundreds of inspiring people working on environmental initiatives, organic agriculture, alternative education and many other wonderful ventures across India. tour with andy sophie us walking by the rice

India, Navdanya, tour of the rice fields

Navdanya, was the first place we visited. It is located in Doon Valley outside of Dehradun, where Vandana Shiva helped to start Bija Vidyapeeth (the Seed School) or the Earth University and a Grandmothers’ University initiative. There we were filming, participating in many discussions, gardening (weeding) and learning much about the farm and the amazing seed bank (over 630 species of rice) – we also were able to record a conversation with Vandana which was wonderful and thought-provoking. A key learning for us at Navdanya was the importance of diversity – in foods, crops, knowledge and cultures. Knowledge from grandmothers, farmers, indigenous peoples are the source of knowledge that informs all scientific experiments (soil, natural pesticides, natural farming, multi-cropping) in a cyclical process (informing each other). They combine local and scientific knowledge and are doing wonderful things in the field of organic agriculture. We have been thinking about and have had discussions with people visiting about the parallels between monocultures in agriculture (mono-cropping) and monocultures in ways of thinking, knowing and being (the opposite of diversity) which are dominant in universities. Here is a link to Navdnaya’s site: http://www.navdanya.org/earth-university

adivasi academy - wall of languages
India, Adivasi Academy, wall of languages

The second place we visited was the Adivasi Academy in a village called Tejgadh in rural Gujarat, a couple of hours east from Baroda. The Adivasi Academy (Adivasi meaning indigenous in Hindi), is one of the key places in India devoted to the country’s indigenous communities (in local terminology, both Tribal and nomadic peoples). This place is a center of learning, research, arts and culture. This place was founded by Dr Ganesh Devy, a wonderful and generous literature professor who became interested in the plight of Adivasis and in India’s rich linguistic diversity many decades ago. Dr Devy then spent many years learning from Adivasis in Gujarat and elsewhere in India before founding the Academy as a response to local needs. The Academy is involved in a number of exciting and pioneering projects, including a People’s Linguistic Survey of India, which has mapped out the country’s rich linguistic heritage and diversity, currently counted at 870 with over 800 of these being associated with Adivasi communities! Adivasis make up around 10% of the total population of India. Adivasi Academy - planting marigolds Planting marigolds with children living and studying at the school that is part of the Adivasi Academy in Tejgadh Here we began to make the connections between the ecological and knowledge diversity we mentioned before to linguistic diversity and ways of knowing and being in the world they contain. What was also exciting about this place was how though its roots are as a higher education initiative, it has since expanded in response to local adivasi communities needs – health clinic, a ‘living’ museum where there are art and music workshops and festival gatherings, 66 non-formal education centres around Gujarat, legal advice, self-help groups (over 200) – and the dreams and plans continue to emerge. Here is a link to their site: http://www.adivasiacademy.org.in/Default.aspx adivasi school - Young students speaking with us at one of the non-formal education centres in Gujarat The last place we are visiting for our project in India, and where we are writing from now, is Swaraj University in Udaipur, Rajastan. The principle of self-directed learning guides the ethos at Swaraj (an old Hindi term made famous by Gandhi and others meaning – amongst many possibilities – self-[or home]-rule or self-mastery).  Swaraj University grew from Shikshantar:  The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development that was established 15 years ago and has generated and co-created many community and localization projects in and around Udaipur over the years – all of which challenge dominant models of development that value profit-making above everything else (by placing emphasis on people and the planet before profit).  Both Shikshantar and Swaraj University place emphasis on unlearning… udaipur - shikshantar sign Swaraj University place draws 15 to 20 khojis (seekers, rather than students, in Hindi) every year for a two-year programme where they “get exposed to and then gain mastery in livelihood streams of action-knowledge that are based on principles of ecological sustainability, localization, social justice and social innovation” (from Swaraj website). This happens through a series of workshops, mentorship periods and learning journeys. swaraj - koji activity Khojis at Swaraj University starting the day with a group storytelling activity The khojis go between periods of collective learning and working on their own projects, supported by a network of mentors, their peers and a group of core facilitators. During the time we have been here the khojis have been engaging in a series of learning tasks in the city, around entrepreneurship and eco-initiatives. We did a few days of filming in and around their beautiful campus outside the city too. swaraj - udaipur, khoji mela …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 8th of April 2013 Friends We thought it was about time to write another update. We are still catching up with our experiences from our travels in this blog whilst on the road. Our writing will be moving between Brazil and Chile for the next posts. In the meantime we have left the Americas and crossed the Pacific to Australia and New Zealand. Our commitment to openness on this journey has led us to unexpected and beautiful new experiences in Australia and New Zealand already with wonderful new friends. Where we are A couple of weeks ago in Byron Bay, just south of the Gold Coast in Australia, we took part in the Economics of Happiness conference (15-17 March) meeting many inspiring people active in various countries engaged in thinking and developing practices and projects around localisation in terms of food production, economic and financial systems, community development and education. We helped facilitate a workshop, Alternatives to Schooling, with our friend Manish Jain, who co-founded Shikshantar (2000) and Swaraj University (2009) in Udaipur, India, (we will visit Manish and Swaraj University in June), and with Julie Gassner who is a senior teacher at Kinma an alternative school in Sydney (we will also visit her and Kinma at the end of April). We will write more about the Economics of Happiness conference soon. We have been invited to visit a number of people and initiatives through our participation at this gathering in Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. Here in Australia, and New Zealand, we will also be visiting a number of people and initiatives which we will write about soon. Also, we have been invited to give a seminar on our project at Monash University in Melbourne on the 17th of April. The title of the seminar is Re-imagining the University as Emergent from Place. And, we will be visiting the Aobriginal Arnhem lands northeast of Darwin for 6 days to visit and learn from the Yirrkala Arts Centre and Buku Larrngay Mulka Project (Buku Larrngay means “the first rays of the sun on your face at sunrise” in Yolngu and Mulka means “a sacred but public ceremony” also in Yolngu, one of the local Aborigine communities). Update on the Documentary We are getting to the stage of our journey where we are planning the next stages of the project. One key element in our travels has been the documentary we are making. We have gathered over 60 hours of footage and about 30 interviews with students, teachers, and others involved in initiatives or in the educational field across these different countries. We will be visiting several other places and filming much more over the next few months. Following the end of our journey we will need about five months of editing, translating and postproduction before releasing the film. Given that we are entirely self-funded for this trip we thought we would launch a crowdfunding campaign to help us finish the film. This means we will put our project out there (on the indiegogo.com site) and hope that people who are interested will join us on this project. We hope to start this campaign in the middle of May and will put more information about this over the next few weeks. We would love to have your help in this and spreading the word. If there is anyone keen on helping us (fund-raising, with the documentary, any aspect of this blog website or any other part of this journey) do get in touch. We are getting together a team of editors, translators, transcribers, musicians, sound mixers, web designers and programmers so we are very keen to hear from you if you are keen! …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 5th of February 2013 Friends, Writing in the blog about our experiences takes a bit of time when you are on the road. The logistics of  moving around, organising our next steps, getting in touch with people and having time and space to be reflective in our writing  are constant challenges, which we are embracing and learning from(it makes it that much more ‘enlivened’…). With that we are in Rio de Janeiro at the moment but are quickly catching up with posts that reflect our experiences in Peru. We wanted to add this post here to draw your attention to some news this month and some updates to this site. This month we have been busy recording a TEDx talk which will take place at the University of  Bath on the 9th of February. See http://www.tedxbathuniversity.co.uk/ We will not be there but the organizers have been interested in our project and asked us to record a video of the talk and send it to them. We will make this available on the site soon, as well as other videos.  The event is being streamed live and there are many inspiring speakers. In early January, we were joined by a co-traveler Marina Leitner, who studied her MA in Education with Kelly in Bath. Marina has been visiting a number of initiatives with us here in Brazil, has also started contributing to the blog and helping us learn and use social media. Marina has also been translating our posts into Spanish, a really important task for us to connect between the places and the people in the countries we are visiting. Another co-traveler who has been helping us is Alan Mandel, Udi’s brother with whom he has worked on a number of documentary projects.  Alan has also been contributing in various ways, creating the image of the project above and also helping us with the website, social media and soon, with the films to be made in the project. If you want to help the project in any way, or come and learn together with us, let us know!  The more the merrier! In case you are not there already, we are adding more regular updates, photos, locations and links on our Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/EnlivenedLearning We have added more resources, including links and texts on our resources page: http://enlivenedlearning.com/resources/ We have added more maps and resources on our maps page: http://enlivenedlearning.com/maps/ We are also adding a News section to the blog where we can have more regular updates on our whereabouts and any developments on the journey, project or website: http://enlivenedlearning.com/dialogues/news/ Lastly, this month we have visited the Escola de Comunicação Crítica da Maré, a critical communication school in one of Rio’s largest favela, there we also visited the Museo da Maré, one of the first museums emerging from a favela in the world. Also this month, we spent a few great days at the Escola Nacional Florestan Fernandes, a higher education initiative developed by the Landless Workers Movement, one of the country’s, and some say the world, largest social movements struggling for agrarian reform and the livelihood of rural workers. We will be posting on this soon as we are almost up to date with our writing from our time in Peru. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 30th of January 2013 Friends, This month we have been busy recording a TEDx talk which will take place at the University of  Bath on the 9th of February. See http://www.tedxbathuniversity.co.uk/ We will not be there but the organizers have been interested in our project and asked us to record a video of the talk and send it to them. We will make this available on the site soon! This month we have been joined by a co-traveler Marina Leitner, who studied her MA in Education with Kelly in Bath. Marina has been visiting a number of initiatives with us here in Brazil, has also started contributing to the blog and helping us learn and use social media. Marina has also been translating our posts into Spanish, a really important task for us to connect between the places and the people in the countries we are visiting. Another co-traveler who has been helping us Alan Mandel, Udi’s brother with whom he has worked on a number of documentary projects, has also been contributing, creating the image of the project above and also helping us with the website, social media and soon, with the films to be made in the project. If you want to help the project in any way, or come and learn together with us, let us know! We are adding more regular updates, photos, locations and links on our Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/EnlivenedLearning We have added more resources, including links and texts on our resources page: http://enlivenedlearning.com/resources/ We have added more maps and resources on our maps page: http://enlivenedlearning.com/maps/ Lastly, this month we have visited the Escola de Comunicação Crítica da Maré, a critical communication school in one of Rio’s largest favela, there we also visited the Museo da Maré, one of the first museums emerging from a favela in the world. Also this month, we spent a few great days at the Escola Nacional Florestan Fernandes, a higher education initiative developed by the Landless Workers Movement, one of the country’s, and some say the world, largest social movements struggling for agrarian reform and the livelihood of rural workers. We will be posting on this soon as we are almost up to date with our writing from our time in Peru. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 8th of April 2013 Friends We thought it was about time to write another update. We are still catching up with our experiences from our travels in this blog whilst on the road. Our writing will be moving between Brazil and Chile for the next posts. In the meantime we have left the Americas and crossed the Pacific to Australia and New Zealand. Our commitment to openness on this journey has led us to unexpected and beautiful new experiences in Australia and New Zealand already with wonderful new friends. Where we are A couple of weeks ago in Byron Bay, just south of the Gold Coast in Australia, we took part in the Economics of Happiness conference (15-17 March) meeting many inspiring people active in various countries engaged in thinking and developing practices and projects around localisation in terms of food production, economic and financial systems, community development and education. We helped facilitate a workshop, Alternatives to Schooling, with our friend Manish Jain, who co-founded Shikshantar (2000) and Swaraj University (2009) in Udaipur, India, (we will visit Manish and Swaraj University in June), and with Julie Gassner who is a senior teacher at Kinma an alternative school in Sydney (we will also visit her and Kinma at the end of April). We will write more about the Economics of Happiness conference soon. We have been invited to visit a number of people and initiatives through our participation at this gathering in Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. Here in Australia, and New Zealand, we will also be visiting a number of people and initiatives which we will write about soon. Also, we have been invited to give a seminar on our project at Monash University in Melbourne on the 17th of April. The title of the seminar is Re-imagining the University as Emergent from Place. And, we will be visiting the Aobriginal Arnhem lands northeast of Darwin for 6 days to visit and learn from the Yirrkala Arts Centre and Buku Larrngay Mulka Project (Buku Larrngay means “the first rays of the sun on your face at sunrise” in Yolngu and Mulka means “a sacred but public ceremony” also in Yolngu, one of the local Aborigine communities). Update on the Documentary We are getting to the stage of our journey where we are planning the next stages of the project. One key element in our travels has been the documentary we are making. We have gathered over 60 hours of footage and about 30 interviews with students, teachers, and others involved in initiatives or in the educational field across these different countries. We will be visiting several other places and filming much more over the next few months. Following the end of our journey we will need about five months of editing, translating and postproduction before releasing the film. Given that we are entirely self-funded for this trip we thought we would launch a crowdfunding campaign to help us finish the film. This means we will put our project out there (on the indiegogo.com site) and hope that people who are interested will join us on this project. We hope to start this campaign in the middle of May and will put more information about this over the next few weeks. We would love to have your help in this and spreading the word. If there is anyone keen on helping us (fund-raising, with the documentary, any aspect of this blog website or any other part of this journey) do get in touch. We are getting together a team of editors, translators, transcribers, musicians, sound mixers, web designers and programmers so we are very keen to hear from you if you are keen!