Lizzy Cooper Davis, Day 1
PART 1: ENTERING
At the start of the Institute, faculty, staff and participants all begin the process of Entering community. Although UBW is in the Building phase of a long-term relationship with New Orleans, the Brooklyn-based company is careful to remember their place as guests whenever arriving in the city to do their work and treat each arrival as a new moment of Entering. For participants, even though some live in New Orleans, all are Entering this new SLI community for the first time. The company is also careful to facilitate a gradual entering process for participants and considers the application process, suggested pre-Institute research and all pre-Institute communication to be crucial to their successful Entering.
In the first chapter of this section Davis offers a “thick description” 1 of the participant experience of Day One of the Institute. By focusing on Day One – with its emphasis on welcoming and orientation rather than explicit curricula or learning goals – Davis highlights the subtle and perhaps subconscious ways core values and principles are enacted, embodied and imparted even on this most basic of days. Intended to compliment discussion of the explicit teaching and learning in the broader Institute structure, her chapter reflects on the practice, modeling and experience of implicit teaching and learning and the ways these experientially communicated structuring values lay the groundwork for the later success of core SLI components (EBX, Asset Mapping, PISAB, Movement for Movement Building, Performance, etc.). In the following chapter Assaf documents and examines the pre-Institute retreat for faculty and staff. She focuses on leadership, the preparation process of the faculty, and its impact during the SLI. She gives an overview of the pre-retreat training, draws out key learnings, and summarizes positive faculty response. As this was the first time a pre-retreat and training was possible its documentation and assessment offer particularly useful insight into UBW’s pedagogical approach to the Institute and the invaluable benefits of designated preparation time. Given the EBX framework for community engagement, having such time set aside to ensure a thoughtful entrance into the city and the SLI experience is an essential part of UBW’s values and principles-based practice.
1 Thick description is a term popularized by cultural anthropologist, Clifford Geertz to describe an interpretive approach to “doing ethnography.”
“YOU ARE HERE:” ARRIVAL, ORIENTATION & BEGINNING BY LIZZY COOPER DAVIS
“I’m still processing day one.” – SLI-2010 Participant in her application for SLI-2011
Friday, July 30th 2010 One hundred and two artists, community leaders, students and teachers have gathered at Tulane University in New Orleans for a ten-day Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) hosted annually by Brooklyn-based dance company, The Urban Bush Women (UBW). Participants have answered application questions about experiences of and aspirations for artful community engagement and have now come from out of state, out of the country and down and around these New Orleans streets to learn and practice arts-based movement-building strategies while reflecting on and strengthening core values and principles. Told that our work together will examine large and small systems of health and sustainability, we’ve come prepared to enter, engage and build this SLI community. As suggested in a letter sent in advance about conducting pre-institute research, we’ve watched recommended film clips about the relationship between illness and inequality, reflected on self-care strategies seen in our communities, families and selves, and brought the materials and mindset necessary to tend to the health and sustainability of the earth through mindful consumption and minimal waste production. We’ve applied, we’ve prepared and now finally we have arrived. (Appendix B: SLI-2010 Welcome Packet.)
Although coming to learn with a dance company, some of us have never taken a dance class while others have extensive dance training. Many of us enjoy expressing ourselves with our bodies while others are less accustomed to bodily articulation and feel more at ease with words. Some of us are here for the first time while others have participated in this Institute before. Some of us are teenagers here because our friend, teacher, mentor, program director or aunt suggested (or insisted) we attend. Others of us are adults looking to gain or strengthen understandings of the relationship between community, arts, and organizing. Most of us are women or girls. Most of us are people of color. Many of us are surprised to see so many different ages and experiences gathered here and some wonder if this diversity will hinder the productivity of the group. All of us are eager and anxious, curious and skeptical, nervous and trusting, excited and (after significant delays at most major airports) exhausted. None of us knows exactly what the coming days will bring but, placing our faith in the guidance and leadership of The Urban Bush Women, all of us know bodies, minds and spirits will certainly soon be dancing.
We arrive for registration in Tulane’s dance studio and are oriented, not only to the logistics of location, but to the values and principles guiding the work to come. We are given folders filled with the expected maps, schedules, contact numbers and directions but the first pages in the folder’s left and right pockets read (boldly and simply), “Create Dance” and “Create Community.” Offering suggestions on how we might integrate those two directives is another page listing UBW’s core values:
- Validating the Individual
- Being a Catalyst for Social Change
- Building Trust Through Process
- Entering Community and Co-Creating Stories
- Celebrating the Movement and Culture of the African Diaspora
- Recognizing Place Matters (Appendix C: UBW Core Values)
These values and fuller descriptions of them are posted on the walls of the studio on oversized paper large enough to be seen from any location and at any distance. The studio’s mirrors, usually a key orienting feature and teaching tool in a dance class, are covered so it is the constant reflection of these values rather than images of ourselves or others that we can expect to see when looking up for clarity, goals or guidance during our 10-days together. Although we will surely be learning from each other and from the expertise of the company and staff, without mirrors to designate the teaching front of the room and its learning back (and the hierarchy of knowledge such an arrangement suggests), this space facilitates collaborative learning and art-making framed by principles and values rather than mirrors of correction, assessment and critique.
We are soon greeted by UBW’s Founding Artistic Director, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. She invites us to inaugurate the space by sharing and joining our voices in “This Little Light of Mine,” the song made anthem by Fannie Lou Hamer and others of the Civil Rights Movement. We’ve yet to introduce ourselves or learn each other’s names but already we’re asked to sing. Hearing the day-one shyness in our voices, Jawole holds up her hands to stop us almost as soon as we’ve begun: “Wait, wait, hold on. Now, it sounds like some folks aren’t sure about whether they want their light to shine.” Through smiles and laughter we concede this hesitation to fully sound ourselves into the space and Jawole explains that our volume should reflect, not a confidence in singing ability, but a commitment to participate. Reminding us of songs sung during mass meetings, sit ins, arrests and incarcerations, she explains that movement songs were not intended to simply pass or ease the time but were powerful tools purposefully used. Whether sung to sound and strengthen support, embody and amplify collective power, celebrate accomplishment or refute and resist defeat, collective singing was used “to draw up energy to do dangerous work and tend to the group.”
We begin again and rather than showcase talent or admire expertise we now sing to run sound through the body of this new community, weave it together with expressions of intent, and discover what our collective voice might be. As the song and Jawole’s instruction suggest, the strength of the group depends on the commitment of each individual. Unlike other black freedom and resistance songs such as “We Shall Not Be Moved” or “We Shall Overcome,” “This Little Light of Mine” is what Bernice Johnson Reagon calls an “I-Song.” You cannot sing it without making a personal commitment because the “I” in its lyric doesn’t allow you to hide, defer or disappear into a “we.” When we sing again, our voices begin to reflect this commitment – a commitment to be present, a commitment to listen and share, a commitment to lend our energy to the group, and a commitment to find the harmonies of collective sound rather than the dissonance of individuals battling to be heard. In this first SLI moment art is not offered as adornment, spectacle or the property of an accomplished few but is framed as an integral part of building and practicing community. Lifted by the musical lessons and legacies of the Civil Rights Movement, this song and our sounding of it become our invitation, invocation and initiation into a tradition of artful movement making reliant on the sophisticated utility of cultural tools.
After singing the group into existence we meet our community hosts. We are first welcomed to New Orleans by local UBW collaborators, then to Tulane by university partners, and lastly to the Institute by SLI company and staff. This welcoming highlights that, whether participant or faculty, we are each entering communities not our own; Those coming from out of town are asked to be mindful of their entry into New Orleans, those unaffiliated with Tulane are reminded to treat this space as a gift, and those new to the Institute are invited to enter and build this year’s SLI community anew. Whoever we are and whatever our role during these ten days, we will each look to our hosts for help in understanding where we are, the work we will do, and how we might mindfully move with the curiosity, humility and gratitude of a guest.
[I]if we’re talking about “Entering Community,” I really wanted [participants] to feel that we were living that value. And that’s why it was important for Stevie and Takema, [our local institute directors], to welcome people. I really like it when presenters – not everybody does this, as you know – when a presenter will welcome the audience, and then invite me to speak. As opposed to me starting out speaking and then welcoming the audience.” – Jawole Zollar
After recognizing our hosts in order to more mindfully enter this SLI community we are given some tools to help us begin to build. Participants, faculty and staff are placed in pre-determined groups of ten, each of which will be responsible for a particular task to help the Institute move more smoothly during our time together. There is a group to keep our space clean and our work on schedule, a group to take attendance and facilitate off-site transportation, a group prepared to tend to our health and wellness in case of injury as we stretch our bodies and minds, a group to keep us abreast of events happening in the city and plan a post-show celebration as fabulous as the city itself, a group helping us tread lightly by going green, and a group asked to listen closely to the entire SLI community, its stories, and the motion and emotion of its movement-making body in hopes of capturing narrative content for our final performance. These groups will not only expedite logistics but will facilitate processing and reflection as well. We are told we will return to these Task Groups daily, to think of them as our “home base” and to take advantage of the opportunity they afford for more intimate connection and conversation. This division and assigning of tasks, facilitated opportunity for deeper processing and (as quickly becomes apparent) careful attention given in advance to which of us might be best suited for which task, tells us we are here, not only to talk about community, but to examine and enact strategies that allow communities to succeed and thrive. We are here to become a community.
“What turns a casual gathering of people into a clear and purposeful group is a Task.” – Dr. Denese Richards, IWES pre-Institute training on group dynamics
After this orientation to the logistics of location, the values framing our work, and the hosts and structure of our new community we’re given time to unpack and rest before reconvening for a “performance offering.” Upon returning to the dance studio, those expecting the formality of a performance are surprised by the informality still remaining in the space. Registration tables have been removed but purses and backpacks still line the sides of the room. Drummers have set up in the corner but sit casually in street clothes talking with friends. Dancers, dressed more for class than for performance, warm up in plain sight in hallways and corners. The room has not been transformed into a traditional performance space and we are not transformed into mere audience. We are not seated in the dark waiting to watch those in the light but remain together in one room, all equally present.
Through playful and smiling words recognizing and celebrating our diversity, Jawole welcomes us again:
Good afternoon! Welcome! Buenas tardes! Bienvenidos! Bon jour! Bienvenue! Mabuhay! Habari Gani! ‘Sup! Where ya at?! Heeeey! Welcome to UBW’s 10th Summer Leadership Institute in 2010 in New Orleans, LA!
Her words are met with cheers of excitement and anticipation. “I can’t believe it’s Jawole Willa Jo Zollar,” one young dancer whispers to her neighbor.
I can imagine you’ve had trials, challenges and tribulations to get here. Let’s celebrate the success of your accomplishment to get here because you are here! There were many sacrifices to get you here – personal, family, community and historic sacrifices that made it possible for us all to be here together, in this moment, at Tulane. Lets take a silent moment to honor those sacrifices.
As we move from excited cheers into reflective silence a deepening engagement is palpable. Some bow their heads or close their eyes, others look around the room with excited smiles while some look down with eyes filling with tears. Rather than leave parts of ourselves at the door for the sake of collaboration or some pre-determined goals, we’ve been asked to bring everything in. We’ve been told our struggles are welcome, our histories are invited, and our individual biography-textured arrivals are celebrated. Many of us have become expert at picking and choosing which parts of ourselves to put on despite the multiple roles we always and inevitably inhabit. We put parts forward and leave other parts behind based on who we feel we’re expected or needed to be given the requirements of the task at hand, the expectations of the community we’ve entered, or our assumptions about what it takes to collaborate, learn or lead: When I’m a teacher I cannot also be a student; When I’m a mother I cannot also be a daughter; When working towards building community I cannot also be in struggle; When cultivating strength I cannot also acknowledge my weaknesses; Once arriving I cannot also honor my journey; And when working with you I cannot bring all that is me. But Jawole’s invitation challenges us to more fully and honestly arrive. Our full selves have been welcomed, each individual validated, and as we drop into this silence of honoring and reflection the air fills with a collective gratitude for this allowance to be whole.
Texturing this gratitude, however, are fears of what a full and complete presence might entail. We have arrived. We are here. Now what?
You have come from far and wide, near and dear, and we are here together. Some of you are returning to the Institute, for many of you it is your first time, many of you are veteran travelers, many of you are less traveled and possibly anxious, not only about traveling alone but about what this experience is going to be. Past participants may be saying, “What’s going to happen this year? Will I find my place?” New participants may be saying, “What is this going to be about? Will I fit in? What did I sign up for? Did I make the right decision?” You. Are. Here.
This naming of our doubts allows some defenses to dissolve and, through the recognition and allowance of past struggles as well as current confusions, buzzing minds are blanketed with a trusting ease. Jawole’s words suggest the release of anxieties about why we are here or where we may or may not go together. Our multiple questions of concern, discomfort and resistance are transformed into a single statement of presence, patience and acceptance: We Are Here.
Many of you are leaders that create, run or participate in programs. Throughout the institute you may experience thinking, “Well, I wouldn’t do that that way” and “Why are they doing things like that?” and “Why is she in charge?” and “I sure wouldn’t handle that in that way.” I ask you to hold on to those valuable thoughts, write them down to offer for our last day of evaluation, and after you write them down let them go and embrace the experience and learning you are having so we create a community of action and not a community of complaint. You. Are. Here.
We are asked to commit to full participation – to relinquish attachments to previous roles or tendencies to avoid rather than engage discomfort through the distancing of critique. Our expertise is recognized yet we are also reminded to invest in the experience, process and practice of this present moment. The productive forward motion of this group will come, not from assertions of expertise, but from a willingness to be present and listen. This is not, however, to suggest that there will be no leaders. As we learned when singing “This Little Light of Mine,” harmonies sometimes emerge from our equal participation but other times comes from a willingness to fall back into supporting roles as others step forward to lead. When singing, we were best able to find balance when our listening was at its sharpest, we were equally invested in leadership and follow-ship, and our commitment was to the success of the group. Here again Jawole is asking us to suspend judgment and, as we did with our singing, build trust through process.
After this addressing and honoring of the individuals gathered here and request that we trust the process, Jawole’s attention shifts to the work ahead of catalyzing personal, communal and social change.
Our focus and purpose is to answer the questions, “How do we create healthy sustainable communities? How do we care for self in order to be the best leaders in our communities? How do we create optimal conditions for our mind, body and spirit to soar to its full potential?” We will answer these questions together from the wisdom in this room and the New Orleans community. And that includes you. We are Here… Together.
Not unlike the impact of replacing mirrors with values, our assumptions about where knowledge might sit and how learning might flow are challenged. It is not only through the expertise of the company and staff or the knowledge and experience of guest teachers but through our cultivation of all the assets and wisdom gathered in this room that we will find our answers. We are not allowed to recline into the posture of a passive student, but are compelled to offer ourselves as both learners and teachers, novices and experts, individuals and community members. Shifting from the personal statement “you are here” to the collective statement “we are here,” Jawole emphasizes that it is only once each of us has fully arrived that we, the community, can truly emerge.
Jawole next introduces faculty member Vincent Thomas who will perform his solo, “Come Change.” “The piece,” Jawole says, “uses the beautiful words of writer Arundati Roy. I would like to read those words:
‘Civil unrest has begun to erupt in the global village. The time has come…. Perhaps things will become worse and then better. Perhaps there is a small god up in heaven readying herself for us. Another world is not only possible, she’s on her way. Maybe many of us won’t be here to greet her but on a quiet day, if I listen very carefully I can hear her breathing.’”
She takes a deep breath, gestures for us to join her and as if enacting the words still hanging in the air, our breathing begins our own listening for and creation of Roy’s new world on the way. The stage has been set for Vincent’s dance and our coming work by this breath, by Jawole’s invitation to fully arrive, and by the moment’s suggestion that we are intimately and bodily connected to the change we hope will come. Using our slow collective breathing as his cue, Vincent begins his dance. It is set to an expert mix of original music, Roy’s voice reading her text and a male voice wondering aloud what might happen if “everybody told their story.” It is a danced meditation on and summoning of change and an embodied extension of Jawole’s welcome and introduction to the Institute.
“I’m interested in the amazing intelligence of groups when space is made available for the wisdom of the group to emerge and lead.” -Zollar
After Vincent’s solo, journalist, filmmaker and native New Orleanian Lolis Eric Elie shatters any presumption that we might use Tulane’s space but ignore the city in which it sits – a city still recovering from its near drowning after Katrina five years ago and its violent contamination by BP just three months ago. He begins by saying, “I grew up about fifteen blocks from here and while I have a demonstrable incompetence in the world of dance what I can do is tell you about my city.” He describes the unique slave history of Louisiana and how it ensured a black culture like no other in the country – one that has always been inextricably linked to building community and recovering from crisis. He suggests a deeper look at New Orleans movement traditions such as the bold masking and parading of the black Mardi Gras Indians, the celebratory mourning of the jazz funeral, and the reclaiming and redefinition of space articulated in every note, every step, every improvisation and spontaneous joining of a second line. These cultural practices, so often the object of tourist gaze, desire and consumption, are expressions and tools of community building and resistance. The history he offers asks us to consider, not simply the fragility of the ground on which we stand due to recent events, but the powerful assets the city can contribute to our discussion of artful social engagement and change. At one point, speaking specifically of the city’s architecture, he urges us to “always look above the first floor.” This phrase becomes a mantra of engagement for many throughout the remainder of the Institute for its suggestion to always look beyond what is offered, always engage more deeply, and always look more closely. Lolis reminds us that we are not removed from the politics of location by just cause, good intentions or the protection of Tulane’s walls. Brining us face to face with UBW’s core value “Place Matters,” he echoes and reshapes Jawole’s earlier invitation to embrace and be present to where we are. We Are Here.
The next offering is UBW’s “Walking With Pearl… Southern Diaries” (2004), a piece that Jawole explains was inspired by the widely influential but largely under-recognized dancer and cultural anthropologist Pearl Primus (1919-1994). Primus’ choreography addressed such issues as sharecropping and lynching and her anthropological fieldwork in the rural south, the Caribbean and Central and West Africa allowed her to study the art and function of social and ritual dance. “Walking With Pearl” engages Primus’ choreography and writings from the 1940s and through its focus on black sacred movement and the social, emotional and spiritual struggles from which they emerge, it dives into the heart of black culture and explores its ability to caress, ignite and hold a people.
Jawole explains that the piece is mostly about the movement, rhythm and release of “Shouting.” Originating in the Caribbean and US South, the Ring Shout was a worship practice of the enslaved and emerged from efforts to reconcile African cosmology and American Christianity. Often taking place outside of or after a church service, Ring Shout participants moved in a counter-clockwise circle while singing songs of worship or prayer to the rhythms created by their shuffling feet and slapping hands. During a time when their dancing was forbidden and considered blasphemous in religious settings, the Ring Shout’s subtle footwork fell strategically outside European definitions of dance and thus smuggled the movement so integral to African cosmologies into black American prayer. Within the safety of the Ring Shout expression ranged from supplication to joy and from flailing grief to trance-like prayer but the circle, its motion and its song remained constant. The circle of the Ring Shout facilitated a range of deep expression and release essential to the health and maintenance of the community.
Jawole describes “Shouting” as “an African American tradition of survival and expression, of release, of letting what’s at the bottom come to the top” and as the UBW dancers engage Primus’ choreography and words we see them do just that. In addition to a physical enactment of “Shouting” we also witness an emotional expression of “shouting” as histories of struggle are engaged and the pains of entering and accepting such a violent past are expressed and released. Towards the beginning of the piece we hear Primus say, “I went into the South as a performer, a researcher” and through the company’s danced dialogue with history we see what it might mean to equate art and inquiry in this way; It is through their bodies – through the exploration of Primus’ choreography, the Ring Shout, the movements of working the fields and the physical and emotional movement of a struggle against racialized oppression – that we see company members inquire into and seek to understand their shared histories. The piece moves from laughter to despair to triumph, through the joy of moving together and the power of struggling together, and like the ethic articulated in the Ring Shout itself, we witness a community welcoming of and able to support the experience, expression and release of pain. The piece is fearless in its physical and emotional demands and by the end sweat drips over chests heaving with exhaustion, bravery and commitment. During our standing ovation members of both the company and the audience wipe away tears.
Taking inspiration from the community ethic articulated in the Ring Shout, “Walking With Pearl” offers an extraordinary demonstration of a circle strong and flexible enough to sustain, inspire and heal. As an introduction to the Institute, this performance offering says: This space will challenge you to take great risks, to strive for elegance and strength while risking failure and falls. But the circle will catch you and the collective will support you. Your anger is welcome. Your laughter is welcome. Your tears are welcome. The vulnerability of your stumbling and the fullness of your strength are welcome. But your compassion, your generosity, and your bravery are required.
The final performance offering is from the New Orleans-based African dance company Kumbuka. They offer dances specific to the African populations enslaved in New Orleans and after Lolis’ introduction to the city we can imagine their performance in the eighteenth-century marketplace of Congo Square, now a park on the edge of the French Quarter. At the end of their performance they get us all up and dancing and lead us in a second-line across campus to dinner. Each of the offerings we have received – Jawole’s welcome, Vincent’s solo, Lolis’ history, UBW’s engagement with the past and Kumbuka’s dances of local history – have deepened our understanding of UBW’s core value of Celebrating the Movement and Culture of the African Diaspora. As we have seen, these dances are more than mere movement techniques. They are cultural practices holding histories of survival and strategies for inquiry, community building and resistance.
Reflecting on the night’s performances, one participant confides in another, “I can’t do that!” She’s said aloud what many think but keep to themselves. But the challenge laid out by these offerings of commitment and creativity is not to match this demonstration of technical skill but to stretch our bodies and minds into our own most elegant and expressive postures. To reach for the unreachable and trust that exquisite discovery will be found in that gesture. Fed by these offerings we find ourselves imagining what we could do with that level of commitment, of abandon, of ferocity. We have been challenged and wonder how we will rise.
We (participants, faculty and staff) share a celebratory meal that has been prepared just for us and finally have some time to meet and talk. As we eat and in keeping with the now established value of honoring what has come before, what has set the stage, and what is in the room, veteran UBW member Christine King is honored. Jawole makes a speech to thank her for her friendship, collaboration and work and the dancers perform a playful song they’ve written about her. Modeling our constant inhabiting of multiple roles, those who participants had perhaps come to see as leaders – as the epitome of teacher or elder – are now seen giving tearful thanks to one of their own.
Exhausted with arrival, orientation and this abundance of feedings, everyone finally goes to bed – most to their dorm rooms just across campus and some to their own homes or to the homes of friends. Some express intimidation. Some talk of an excitement they expect will keep them from sleep. Some, having come for artful organizing tools more than dance training, worry that they’ve made a terrible mistake. Others who have come to dance are awed and surprised by the depth and multiplicity of engagements offered and expected. Most are inspired. Many have shed tears. All have moved into and through arrival, orientation, song, an articulation of task, individual honoring, collective welcoming, a calling to be present and a challenge to fully arrive. And in addition to all this, we have witnessed and begun to understand the extraordinary strength, flexibility, articulation, intelligence, bravery and commitment required to make and build movement.
We have begun.
Structuring values and principles in Day One:
- We draw on the EBX framework in structure and practice – Research and self-reflection are required to thoughtfully Enter a new
community – Developing tools for mutual accountability and shared responsibility is
necessary to sustainably Build community
- We believe community is strengthened by each individual’s full presence and holistic engagement (personal biography and the presence of mind, body & spirit)
- We believe art articulates community aesthetics and ethics
- We embrace multiple roles: teacher, student, organizer, leader, mentor, mentee, elder, etc.
- We value embodied learning & movement metaphors for movement building
- We stress the importance of affirmation, honoring & celebration
- We recognize that wisdom resides in the group and model leadership through facilitated dialogue and collaboration rather than instruction
- We value diversity (multi-generational, differing backgrounds and expertise, etc.) believing that with multiple minds come deepened experience and broader knowledge
- We remember UBW’s core values
- We create the container and believe the circle will hold us, honoring the ethic of community inherent in the Ring Shout.
- We value the process of continued risk, fall and recovery over assertions of stability, believe the wobbling is the balancing and that being pushed off balance will enhance rather than inhibit the group’s ability to perform and succeed. Chart 1: Structuring Values and Principles Implicitly Communicated on Day One
The Five Stages and Values of Day One I. Arrival Values: Research and self-reflection are necessary preparations for entering a new community; There is powerful learning and productivity in multi-generational collaborations.
- Pre-institute Research: the importance/requirement of pre-institute research and
reflections on the goals of the community we are about to enter and build b. Discovery of the diversity of the group II. Orientation to Community Practice Value: The SLI will both examine and practice values-based, sustainable community- building.
- Introduction to Core Values: Reflective practice is facilitated by core values rather
than mirrors b. Singing together to inaugurate the community: Art as aesthetic and ethic c. Introduction to sustainable and accountable community structuring: NOLA as host &
SLI community as guest; divided into “task groups” to facilitate a mutually responsible and accountable SLI community. III. Invocation and Invitation (Zollar and Elie’s speeches) Value: Leave nothing at the door and know where you are; Valuing personal biographies and Place Matters.
- Our diversity is celebrated b. Personal biographies of triumph and struggle are welcome and necessary; The
strength of the group depends on the full presence of each individual c. We resist desires to cling to the past or the future through questioning and critique
and succumb to the possibilities inherent in our co-presence in the now d. “The wisdom is in the group;” “the amazing intelligence of groups when space is
made available for the wisdom of the group to emerge and lead” e. Recognize and honor your host community IV. Offerings and Expectations for Engagement (Vincent’s “Come Change,” UBW’s
“Southern Diaries” & Kumbuka) Value: As faculty and staff, our investment in this community and the success of its work is equal to yours. We bring full commitment, full passion, offer our full assets… and ask that you do too.
- Art as reflective practice and inquiry: Vincent’s “Come Change;” “Southern
Diaries;” Pearl Primus as “a performer, a researcher.” b. Ethic of community inherent in the Ring Shout: The power of the circle. Struggle is
valued as much as triumph; The circle will hold you and is strengthened in direct proportion to the participants’ bravery, generosity and willingness to take risks. c. “European forms use form and structure to diminish emotion and elevate abstraction;
African diasporan forms use emotion and story to define structure… which is diminished as lesser.” Zollar d. Place Matters – Kumbuka e. Emotional generosity and bravery in the work. V. Honoring, Affirmation & Celebration Value: We are all teachers and students, mentors and mentees. Awareness of these multiple roles facilitates healthy community building.
- Honoring Christine/emotional transparency b. Shared Meal Chart 2: The five stages of the first day and the implicit values communicated in each