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Moving Feminist Activism from Father State to Mother Tree
This blog and mentorship process are dedicated to those of you who want to use your feminist activism to help create societies that honour people and planet but are unsure about how to do so in these rapidly changing times.
It's dedicated to the disillusioned, but still passionate.
Those of you who really care, but can't hide your doubt.
It's for people who feel there could be more joy in creating justice and more laughter in being a feminist.
For those who have lost their grounding but are open to the idea that now is the time to learn to fly.
It's for those of you who are burned out but don't know how to stop.
And those who are starting out but looking for a map, or a compass, or someone to say something about how gravity works around here.
It's for those of you who had hope, but seem to have put it down somewhere...
It's for the people who are full of energy, but don't know where to place it.
And those who have been taught the future is built on policy, research and evidence-based practice but feel the heavy absence of poems, stories and song.
It's for the bold-hearted who know there is always kindness in truth.
Those who are tired of silos and DONE with debates.
It's for anyone who ever wondered why this work can be lonely
And for those who can easily doubt systems, but will never give up on people.
And it's dedicated with gratitude and love to the ultimate feminist teacher - Mother Nature
"The old woman, she's already won. She knows it. You know it. And now I know it too."
An extract from 'Stories from a journey towards a different kind of activism' by Nina Burrowes and Cynthia Ellis
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This is an invitation to share in these next steps together. To connect as people who want to serve and build. To ask different questions and make space for the emergence of new processes to support our desires for justice. To help each other with our grief so that we can discover what lies on the other side of it. To learn new ways of being and doing so that we can meet this moment, and the ones that follow it, with our grounded, connected, beautifully creative selves in community with others.
A mentorship process for feminist activism
If you are interested in applying for a mentorship process with me please read all of the following information and fill in the form below.
I'm offering a two-year no cost mentorship process with me for up to 10 people. We'll mostly work 1-2-1 but possibly also connect with other people I'm mentoring from time to time. We can connect online 6 to 8 times a year. I am happy to support you in your 'activism work', offer any relevant experience that I may have to challenges you are facing, and act as a holding space as you reflect on your own process as an activist. I have particular strengths as an activist - I'm very interested in community building, ceremony and rites of passage, working with nature as both an activist and in the healing process, alternative justice processes, the use of the arts (theatre, comedy, film and illustration) as part of change, and the use of circle in creating healing and community. If your activism is linked to any of these then I would imagine we could both learn a lot from a process together.
Your feminism and mine
No one is going to be checking any feminist credentials at the door. I'm not overly interested in what you've read. This process won't be focused on feminist thought and I have no interest in feminist opinions. I am massively invested in feminism as a process - how you can live feminism in your relationship with your work, your self, and others. So expect a mentorship that is all about process and not about intellectual ideas.
What your 'activism' is
I would like to support people (or small teams if it feels appropriate) who are engaged in any kind of open-hearted feminist activism. An ideal fit would be activism that centres building or imagining ways to create community or alternatives to our current state systems and institutions. People whose work is more 'Mother tree' than 'Father state' (Before applying, please read my blog post 'The master's tools will not save us when his house comes tumbling down' to understand what I mean by this). You may be focused on community building, environmental projects, the use of nature in the healing process, or building alternative processes of justice, health or education (in which case you may be interested in my work on healing from injustice). You, or your team, may be currently focused on the state and institutions in your work but interested in being supported in a transition towards work that is more 'Mother Tree', in which case I would be happy to provide a mentorship that focuses on this transition.
A note on language - you might not normally describe what you're doing as activism, but if you're actively involved any of the activities I've listed above then I would say that qualifies as activism but it's fine if 'activism' not a word you especially identify with.
This mentorship scheme is offered a no cost. However, everyones circumstances are different and some people have access to budgets for their professional development. If we agree that your particular circumstances mean that the support I'm offering should be financially supported by your current employer or funder, then we will have a conversation about asking for that funding. Our process together will not be contingent on getting that funding.
I'd be happy to work with student activists on campus if you still have 2 years left at university. If you were interested in being mentored around your studies rather than campus activism I feel that the existing university structure of supervision is already set up to offer you support with this and 'another supervisor' might muddy the waters of the support you're getting. After university you may well step into a space that has very little to no support on offer - I feel that you would get more out of a scheme like this at that point - so please think about applying for mentorship when you have left university.
You need to be over 18. I don't mind where in the world you are located but our online calls would need to be during UK working hours. I don't mind if you're starting out, or if you're at the other end of your career and this is more of a peer-mentorship situation. I don't mind if you're employed, funded, or making it up as you go along. I would prefer to support people who are already actively engaged in some kind of activism work rather than simply interested in heading in that direction. If activism is something that's simply an aspiration for you at the moment think about applying when you are further down the line. In the meantime I hope you can get a lot from the blog posts on this page.
The ask from you
I ask that you really engage in the process and would be willing to reflect and share as we go along. I will need both of us to be open to reflect on how the mentorship process is going and willing to consider that it should come to an end if it's simply not working out for one or both of us.
What I'm not able to offer
I would expect a process like this to involve a lot of personal growth, but this process isn't offered primarily as a place of healing. Part of our conversations together will be to reflect on your current sources of support and what may need to be added to that. Our process together won't be the right place to work through significant trauma issues.
My activism work is not what a lot of traditional change-making looks like which means I'm not able to support people with writing funding applications, networking with funders, research methodology, connecting with the media, connecting with or lobbying government or institutions, policy making, or improving your own personal brand or social media profile. I also probably won't be a good fit for you if your activism work is focused on 'changing attitudes' or traditional awareness-raising campaigns.
If you have read all of this and think this scheme isn't a good fit for you I hope you still get a lot from reading the blog posts. If you have read everything, think we would be a good fit and would still like to apply please fill in the form below.
I am only able to offer a very limited number of places so please don't be too disappointed if your application isn't successful this time. If the process of supporting the first cohort of mentees goes well I will be offering this process for a long time to come.
We all need support for our growth
I love being able to give to others. I love offering support, spreading the word about a great resource, or making donations to people who I think are doing good work. This is my honour and my privilege.
I like to receive support too. It tells me that people care about my labour and that they want me to keep on doing what I'm doing.
If you're able to offer some financial support for my work please make a donation to The Consent Collective and/or tell people about the resources we offer to help people understand consent and heal from trauma.
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