Over 80 of our Bootcamp and Everyday Activism alumni attended our Communities of Resistance conference earlier this month. Read on to find out everything that we got up to...
Self defense, self care, salsa, and screen-printing made up just four of the many activities that took place during our 2020 Communities of Resistance conference last week. Over 80 activists came down to London for the 2-day event, and all workshops were entirely designed and facilitated by members of our community. We had individual campaigners turn up who stretched back as far as our very first Bootcamp. The conference was also attended by many participants of our Everyday Activism program.
The conference was full of joy, hugs and laughter, as well as providing a vital space for our community of activists to reconnect, recharge and plan their campaigns for the year ahead. See below for some of the highlights.
Bootcamp 17 graduate Ian, founder of May Project Gardens, led an immersive self-defence class for activists. He led the group on a walk through the local area, and shared his top tips for dealing with hostile situations. According to Ian, the main ways to keep safe are: be observant of your surroundings and follow your intuition! “Martial arts is an art form,” he said. “You never know what’s going to happen in life, so it’s good to know the basics.”
We also had a session led by disability rights activists and Bootcamp graduates Magda (see her blog here!) and Eleanor (see website here) on intersectionality and accessibility. Disability is so often an afterthought in campaign organising, which shouldn’t be the case. Magda taught participants about the social model of disability, summed up beautifully by one attendee, Jo: ‘We are disabled by our environment, not by our bodies’’. If you want to learn more, check out Sister of Frida’s toolkit here.
Bootcamp graduate and artist Allison led a session on Arts for Activism, which began with a talk on how various artists have used art for social change. Participants were then invited to create their own slogans using screen-printing techniques, with issues ranging from FGM, education, Roma and asylum-seeker rights. After attending the session, Kauser said: “Art is so important because it can transcend language barriers, but the communities that need it the most often have the least access”.
Other sessions on Day 1 included a community massage workshop led by Everyday Activism graduate Iffat, reminding the group how important healing is in building change. We also had an excellent unconscious bias workshop led by Bootcamp graduate Jo; an informative session on working with Parliament led by Bootcamp graduate Mevan; and a thought-provoking ‘Resisting the Hostile Environment‘ panel chaired by Campaign Bootcamp’s Head of UK Programmes, Tara, and featuring Bootcamp graduates Bethan, Aliyah and Maggy.
Storm Ciara hit London on the second day of conference, but it didn’t take away from an incredible second day of talks, workshops, and intense learning.
We started with a session led by Bootcamp graduate Raluca, who showed us how to ‘Follow the Money’ through an introduction to online investigative journalism tools. Through presenting an in-depth example of the investigation into a corrupt Romanian mayor, Raluca proved how investigations can form a key part of successful campaigns. They also showed us how to use different resources, from archives to social media to data visualisation software, to dig into an issue and then get it out in the world so people can take action.
At the same time, co-founder of Decolonising Economics and Bootcamp grad, Noni, ran a session on ‘Creative Vision Boards for Self-Care’. They said: ‘The systems we live and work within are ones of extraction. I want us to explore how we move from relationships of extraction to nurturing relationships that nourish and protect our energy.’
Participants reflected on the past year, and explored the ways in which they could slow down, protect and preserve their energy, resisting the expectation (internal and external) to put their whole selves into their activism all the time.
After the lunch, Inclusive Salsa teacher and Bootcamp graduate Calu encouraged us to connect with and freely move our bodies. After a long weekend of workshops, discussions and strategising, this was the perfect way to end the day
That’s it! It was great to see everyone who came along, and a big thank you to all the brilliant people who facilitated a session. We do a Communities of Resistance conference every year, so if you are an alumni of one of our trainings, then please come along next year! And if you’re not part of our community, why not apply to come on one of our Bootcamp residentials?
Applications for our spring and summer camps are now closed. Thank you to everyone who applied! Applications for our autumn camp will open this summer. We’re also in the process of thinking about how to take our training online. If you’d like to power up your activism with Campaign Bootcamp, please sign up to our newsletter to hear the latest updates by clicking here.
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