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A journey through education initiatives re-imagining what it is to learn

Releasing our new film! ‘Re-learning Hope: A Story of Unitierra’

Releasing our new film! ‘Re-learning Hope: A Story of Unitierra’

Posted by on Jul 1, 2016 in all posts, on the road, Universidad de la Tierra | 0 comments

It has been a while since we last wrote here and we have much to update!

We have been busy finishing our second film in the Enlivened Learning series – ‘Re-learning the Land: A Story of Unitierra’. RE-LEARNING HOPE is the story of Unitierra, an autonomous university in Oaxaca, Mexico that is immersed in, and has emerged from, the social and indigenous movements of the region. The film tells the story of this emergence of Unitierra and its powerful critique of traditional education and development. The film is a hopeful example of how communities are taking control of their own learning and shaping an ecological path for their communities amidst a context of violence.

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Painted mural on Zapatista house in Oventic. photo by Kelly Teamey

The film, which we made in collaboration with participants in Unitierra, raises a host of important questions related to the purpose of education and what it takes to create a deep ecological consciousness and connection with our communities. As participants in Unitierra learn together and with local communities they re-weave the social fabric and ways of living that are more autonomous and in balance with their local ecologies.

‘Re-Learning Hope’ also explores how we can learn autonomy and community living from indigenous peoples. The 500-year struggles of indigenous peoples’ in Oaxaca and Chiapas against the imposition of other ways of life are inspirations Unitierra has taken to heart. Amidst the multiple crises we are all experiencing, in our economies, political institutions and communities, Unitierra is promoting ways of living and learning together that is inspiring, showing us that another world is indeed possible.

For more of our writing on our experiences in Unitierra and Mexico click here.

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Gathering of Kindred Folk Re-imagining Higher Education!

Gathering of Kindred Folk Re-imagining Higher Education!

Posted by on Ago 12, 2015 in all posts, on the road | 0 comments

As you may be are aware, there is a knowledge movement slowly building all over the world, an emerging network of lets call them Eco-versities for now – of people and communities reclaiming their local knowledge systems and imaginations to restore and re-envision learning processes that are meaningful and relevant to the call of our times, that cultivate new stories and possibilities, that re-connect and regenerate diverse ecological and cultural ecosystems.

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From the start of our adventures in this landscape of these diverse ecologies of knowledges focusing on Higher Education emerging around the world we dreamt: – what if these places could share their experiences, knowledges, their learning approaches amongst and between themselves and strengthen the beautiful and important work they are all doing?! What even more wondrous and powerful transformations could occur! As we visited places across different countries, as well as writing and making films, we took on ourselves the role of traveling story-tellers – telling stories to people we met of the other places we had visited and what they had been doing. Some links between places started to emerge through this as people and places begun to hear more about each others’ work.

Now that our physical journey to many of these places has come to a rest, as well as carrying on writing and editing the films, we have put our energy into that original dream.

We are really excited to have co-created with Manish Jain from Swaraj University (Udaipur, India) a Gathering of Kindred Folk Re-imagining Higher Education! This ‘Re-Imagining Higher Education’ event will gather more than 50 other leading visionary-doers and thinkers from more than 20 countries at Tamera Peace and Research Centre, an eco-village in southern Portugal this August (from the 20th – 26th).

We are gathering this group from a variety of learning places around the world – to share experiences, wisdom, insights and challenges to learn about how transformative learning is being imagined and enacted in each place. Our primary focus is to bring together people who are hosting or who are deeply involved with ‘alternative’ or ‘post-traditional’ places of higher education, or who are somehow re-imagining higher education in their work. Many of these have emerged from different social movements, ecological movements and indigenous communities.

During the six days we will spend together in Portugal we will host an interactive process through a structured un-conference format where there will be a lot of time for sharing and co-creating with self-organizing sessions and open-spaces. Our intention is to co-create a gathering that can propel this movement forward, where stories are shared, creative sparks fly, and friendships and alliances are woven. We hope to be able to explore common emerging themes such as sustainability and social justice; unlearning and decolonizing; indigenous ways of knowing; healing; gift culture; re-engaging community, nature and the built environment; local media; literacies; the question of certification; mentoring; rites of passage; right livelihood and social/eco entrepreneurship, and many others. We will keep you posted on how the event goes on our Facebook and Twitter page. We will also let you know how you can participate in this emerging network.

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Launching our first film! – ‘Re-learning the Land: A Story of Red Crow College’

Launching our first film! – ‘Re-learning the Land: A Story of Red Crow College’

Posted by on Jul 8, 2015 in all posts, Canada, on the road | 2 comments

relearningtheland2015 We are thrilled to be releasing the first of our series of films this month – ‘Re-Learning the Land: A Story of Red Crow College’!

It has been quite a journey from the time we started in our first visit to Red Crow College in Alberta in September 2012, then a second visit in 2014 where we deepened our relationship to this place and the people we met all of whom we have learned so much. We continue to be affected and inspired by all these experiences and are so grateful to all those we met in Alberta, who collaborated in the making of this film.

Between these visits we also launched our Indiegogo campaign (whilst well underway in our journey) and are really grateful to all those who contributed to make this project possible. ‘Re-learning the Land’ is the first of a series of films we are editing based on this journey. We are also deeply grateful to all those in the ‘Artisans of Meaning’ team – our co-creators of these films who have been with us on this journey. We hope you enjoy this film – it was made with love and a deep respect for a way of knowing and learning premised on the building of relationships – to the land and its beings, to our communities and to the deeper parts of ourselves.

Our hope when we set out on this journey was to tell stories and experiences of these wonderful places and people who have been creatively re-imagining learning and education. Our intention was to offer a platform for these films that we felt could offer inspiration and be a trigger for critical and creative reflection, conversations and action amongst people whose dreams and questions resonated with those of the people found in these films.

  Screen Shot films websiteWith this in mind we have built a website which will host our films and have supporting materials for those of you who may feel moved to host your own screenings and conversations for this film or any of the films to be created. You can find all this on http://films.enlivenedlearning.com

Here is a synopsis of the film:

RE-LEARNING THE LAND is the story of a Blackfoot community in southern Alberta, Canada, and how they have re-taken control of their education system within Red Crow Community College. The film traces the decolonization of their learning and the development of an innovative program, Kainai Studies, within Red Crow College, the same site as a former Residential School.

The Kainai Studies program is reclaiming and teaching to a new generation the Blackfoot knowledge system that sustained their community on their land for thousands of years.

The film, made by directors Udi Mandel and Kelly Teamey and in collaboration with members from the Blackfoot community, raises a host of important questions related to the purpose of education and what it takes to create a deep ecological consciousness and connection with our local environment. By witnessing how students and faculty within Red Crow College are re-building relationships with the land around them, we see a greater sense of purpose, confidence and identity from amongst those participating and learning within the Kainai Studies program.

  ‘Re-Learning the Land’ explores how education can be used both to wipe out particular ways of knowing and lead to suffering, as in the case of residential schools, or else to promote healing and a transformation of individual and community through a reconnection to history and place. Based on a very different cosmology, set of values and ways of teaching, ‘Re-Learning the Land’ is a subtle exploration of how an indigenous way of learning can create transformational relationships with the land, its beings, the community and one’s own self.

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