Dear friends of YIP,
It has been a while. We hope you are soaking up the summer sun in the North and enjoying the cosiness of winter in the South. A lot has happened here in Ytterjärna since the last Newsletter. Nineteen curious, passionate, unique individuals have made it to the other side of YIP – alumni territory!
We had a beautiful closing ceremony and we look forward to telling you more about it. But first, we would like to backtrack to May when the trees were still bare, and share with you some stories about the Self-Designed Curriculum (SDC) and Personal Initiatives. In this block, the Yippies transition from participants to organisers. They take on full responsibility for their time, collectively and individually designing their days. There was a lot of sports, movement, singing, painting, discussions around Money, Power, Privilege and Oppression, and Communication. Contributors were also invited – Disa Mineur held a conversation on Womanhood and Relationships and Michaela Glöckler shared her knowledge on the current situation around the COVID Vaccine. Many topics were explored!
The block culminated in a week of Personal Initiative Presentations, which we like to describe as stargazing – a moment to witness and celebrate each individual in their inquiries. Thank you to everyone who joined the presentations online!
We hope you enjoy reading and you can expect to hear from us soon with the final Newsletter from YIP13.
In this newsletter you will find:
• Self Designed Curriculum by Michael Chiunda
• In what ways might Embodyment bring (me) Freedom? by Anna Morter
• Exploring the Power of Filming in Challenging Narratives by Christopher Becker
• Pins & Needles by Mimi Matamoros
• Learning Placement Podcast: Part 2 by Mimi Matamoros & Lilith Wūller
• Non-Verbal Testimonials by Pauline Wenzel
• One more week to Apply for YIP14!
A Collective Poem
To kickstart the Self-Designed Curriculum (SDC), each person wrote a few sentences on their hopes and intentions for the collective during the SDC. The sentences were arranged into a poem, reminding us of how we wished to work with each other during this time.
Fluid rhythm of working individually together, then as one whole, supporting each other as one collective community,
Always interconnected and intertwined tightly then loose, softly then strong.
Kindling a will bonfire.
I really hope that we will still be able to see each other. Even if it will be busy.
My intention for the group is that every week we have some sort of community activity.
To create a supportive united group that takes care of everyone whilst living in diversity.
Being aware, gentle and listening to each other.
Move and play together.
That we encourage and support each other.
Lightness, joy and play.
Listening, trust, respect, staying in relation, having fun.
Bring motivating and inspiring, supportive energies.
Collaborating on a storytelling project that sticks to either one or many of the global realities. Audio/Visual.
Hope that each initiative holds each other and makes a positive supporting net.
Spending time as a group in the form of singing, games, HU HA HI, nice volleyball games outside with sun and happiness.
My aim for this time for this group is to do fun activities like theatre, singing, dancing that brings us together.
Let’s be like a permaculture garden.
Giving each other support to thrive.
To find support in each other, the joyful sun and the deep blue fjord.
Meet each other new and nourish our community with openness and love.
I knew exactly what I wanted to do for my Self Design block. As a group, we had meticulously mapped everything out. To the letter. Okay, maybe some moments were spontaneous, but still brilliant!
Quite literally the Hive was buzzing with activity: solo projects and community projects that all of us could sign up for. From physically stimulating sport sessions, to social conversations that provoked the mind, to spiritual massages, it felt as if the block was as full and rich because the schedule drew its magic from the various personalities that were hosting.
The Yippies stepped into the 4 weeks with determination, excitement, uncertainty and, just as important, each other. As you may have guessed, the success of such a block is dependent on participation, showing up and support from your community. A lot of snacks were shared during this block (it needed to be said!). Music, postcards, ceremonies, videos, conceptual shoots, short stories, online networks among many personal and community projects were created.
The practicalities seemed to be a mashup of all the nuggets we had been learning throughout the year here at YIP. If you (the reader) have been keeping tabs on us you should know the Global Realities, The Collaborative block, The Initiative Forum and when we went to our Learning Placements. All those learnings crystallized in our projects and morphed into something that felt greater and important.
By Michael Chiunda
Personal Initiative: The Body as Medicine
IN WHAT WAYS MIGHT EMBODYMENT BRING (ME) FREEDOM?
I find freedom
When I step outside
As the soil
Push up between my toes
I find freedom
In this presence
The privilege to observe
To step into and out of
Flesh and bone
Stepping and moving
In the body
That’s where I find freedom
Giving myself permission to be kind
To every living thing
Is it not so hard
This simple act
The body and freedom
Seems to be simply
What is already there
Letting it come
Letting it be
Letting it go
Creating an opening for what is
I have found freedom
I wonder if I will ever find freedom
By Anna Morter
Personal Initiative: Exploring the Power of Filming in Challenging Narratives
How can I advocate for social justices, diversity and understanding? This is a question I’ve been holding and exploring for several years.
Going into YIP there were two things I wanted to explore further: writing and film-making. Film-making seemed to be a great personal initiative for myself… But what should I film?
Back when I was at university I thought of creating documentaries as a way to challenge dominant images in our western culture about African countries and their diverse cultures. At that time, this was a dream – one of the crazy ideas that I would play with.
When we came to the point of deciding our YIP Learning Placement, I chose to go to Kufunda Learning Village in Zimbabwe. To be totally honest with you, at the time of deciding, I was relatively indifferent to the place. It was only a couple of weeks later that I understood my choice: I can connect my crazy idea of making a documentary about an African culture with my Learning Placement in Zimbabwe. I was so happy about that. Not only had I found my personal initiative, but also a great intention for my Learning Placement.
Now that I had a personal initiative in which I saw a lot of purpose and which would be part of bigger work that I want to do in my life, I had to start… and that was not that easy, especially because I had no experience filming or video-editing. Throughout the YIP-year we needed videos for several occasions like the crowdfunding campaign for the Learning Placements and the Initiative Forum. So I took this opportunity to start experimenting and practicing conceptualisation, script writing, directing and editing.
However, when the time came to go to Zimbabwe I had many doubts… What stories do I want to tell? Who am I to do such work? Am I able to tell stories through film-making? For whom am I doing this project?
Once I arrived in Zimbabwe, it became clear what stories I wanted to tell – I wanted to show the amazing work of Kufunda learning village and the beautiful encounters I had with the people there.
I came back with around 8 hours of footage and many more memories.
As we stepped into the self-designed curriculum I could only think of one thing, editing this documentary I was envisioning for over a year. This was an exciting and challenging process with ups and downs and a lot of hurdles to overcome. More than once, I was completely absorbed by the process of creation. I couldn’t think of anything else, other than my script, the footage, and the vision I had for my documentary.
Having the Personal Initiative Presentations at the end of the self-designed curriculum helped me in knowing that I had a fixed amount of time for the first creational process. At the end, I could present a draft of my documentary called Perspectives.
If you are curious about the draft, here is the link: https://youtu.be/msxqDsF-irs
I would be very happy if you have any feedback you would like to share with me. For that you can either leave a comment on YouTube or send me an e-mail to [email protected].
Looking back on the entire process of my personal initiative, a lot of unexpected things happened that allowed me to connect a lot of dots that I had never thought of. Thus, I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to step into film-making and to implement the vision I had for more than a year. I learnt A LOT not only about filming, writing and editing but also more importantly about myself, my own biases, and my passion to create.
By Christopher Becker
Personal Initiative: Pins & Needles
My Experience with Hosting Sessions about Topics of Power, Privilege, and Oppression
I called my personal initiative Pins and Needles. I use the term pins and needles, meaning the uncomfortable transition period between numbness and feeling, to try and capture some of what I felt during the process of working with my initiative. One way I have come to understand the sensation of pins and needles is as an intense sensation of disorientation. In a way, it feels like the part that is waking up is trying to find where it is in relation to its surroundings. I’ve noticed that if it’s my leg or foot that has pins and needles, when I try to put weight on it, I’m not able to stand and my knee just buckles. I found that these physical sensations of pins and needles run parallel to some of the emotional reactions I experienced while diving deeper into the topics I worked with over the four weeks of the self designed time.
Before continuing with this article, I would like to say that I am writing this as someone who is a white body learning about topics of power, privilege, and oppression. The following part of the article is me sharing my learning process through hosting sessions about white supremacy and race. This is a learning process I continue to be in and these sharings are part of this process, not a conclusion. So, that being said, if this raw processing of such topics may be challenging or triggering for you, then please consider if this is something that you would in fact like to continue reading.
My initiative was looking and feeling deeper into the workings of power, privilege, and oppression; more specifically with the topics of white supremacy, race, polyamory, and intimate relationships. I worked with these topics in group sessions as well as independently. The triad of power, privilege, and oppression (P.P.O.) was presented to us, YIP13, as a course, brought by Didintle Ntsie, during the global realities unit in the fall. I chose to work with these topics through a desire to explore placemaking, specifically placemaking in the sense of community building. I chose to focus on community building by working with our micro community at YIP; creating spaces where we can confront challenging topics, such as white supremacy and polyamory, that are important to be aware of and work with in order to support each other.
For my initiative I decided to host a P.P.O. session every Thursday, over the four weeks, and to focus on a specific topic each week. After the first session, with the topic of white supremacy, I realized I needed more than one two-hour session on the subject. So, in the end, session one and four were dedicated to confronting internalized white supremacy (specifically in white bodies), and session two and three were dedicated to conversations about polyamory and non-monogamous relationships.
I learnt a lot over these four weeks. For example, during the process of preparing and hosting the two white supremacy sessions I realized how much I gravitated to a desire for sense-making in the session, wanting to be able to grasp the concept first and then discuss. When I hosted the first session on white supremacy, whether I would have admitted it at the time or not, what I was trying to do was to conceptualize white supremacy on an intellectual level. I was trying to give people an overview, with comprehensible terms and different perspectives through articles or podcasts to give a well rounded understanding of what white supremacy is. Something that I realized is that white supremacy as an ideology is one thing, however, the multiplicity of ways in which white supremacy is manifested has far more dimensions and incarnations than can be held, understood, or included in an “overview” of the concept of white supremacy. And although in the first session I wasn’t attempting to encompass all manifestations of white supremacy into a two-hour time slot, by bringing the topic as something that could be understood on a basic intellectual level from which a more in depth understanding could be built off of, I was entering into the conversation with the intent to bring clarity to a subject that cannot be processed or understood with clarity.
In the second session I tried to approach the topic of white supremacy from a more feeling/ body perspective. In this session we listened to a podcast, titled “Notice the Rage; Notice the Silence”, with Resmaa Menakem who is a trauma specialist and speaks about how white supremacy lives in the body on a cellular level. After listening, we did a reflection round and tried to identify, as specifically as possible, when, during the podcast, did our body tense up and what might have been the fear connected to that reaction. After having a conversation with a mentor of mine during this process, we also thought it best to continue weekly sessions through the month of July guided by the work book “Me and White Supremacy” by Layla F Saad, as this work takes time and repetition.
I am very grateful that I was able to have a space where I could practice holding challenging conversations. I have only begun my learning process in regards to these topics of power, privilege and oppression as well as ways to host spaces that can hold them. One of the learnings I will take with me from this time is the importance of collaboration and mentorship.
By Mimi Matamoros
Non-Verbal Testimonials by YIP13
As part of her Personal Initiative titled Invitations, Pauline created a series of Non-Verbal Testimonials of YIP featuring YIP13. She asked each person to respond to the following questions non-verbally:
1. How would you describe your YIP experience?
2. How was your first week at YIP?
3. What are you taking with you from these past 10 months?
Learning Placement Podcast: Part 2
by Mimi & Lilith
Here is the 2nd podcast of a 3 part series we, YIP13, have created to give you a small taste of our learning placement experiences. Over the 3 episodes Mimi and Lilith (the hosts of Live from the Beehive podcast that debuted at our Initiative Forum) will discuss some of the different experiences had by YIP13 during this time. We hope you enjoy hearing about our adventures!
If you missed Part 1 click here.
One More Week to Apply for YIP14!
While the Yippies were busy working on their Personal Initiatives and self-organising collective activities, we on the Team were busy spreading the word about YIP and landing the curriculum for YIP14. We’ve been having inspiring conversations with Contributors for next year and the program is becoming more and more complete. We look forward to releasing the curriculum for YIP14 on our website within the next few weeks!
Keeping to YIP tradition, the current Yippies also helped creating content to invite future Yippies. Drones, large orange YIP14 letters, singing, non-verbal invitations, and the beautiful Ytterjärna campus were involved. YIP13 also hosted an online Outreach Power Hour, inviting the YIP alumni network to join in a collective effort to share our stories of YIP. Thank you very much to all of you who joined!
Applications for YIP14 are OPEN until JULY 1st! Please continue sharing your YIP experiences with those who you think would benefit from attending the program.
If you would like content to share, you are welcome to use the following:
Thank you for your support!
With much gratitude from the YIP team
In the next Newsletter you can expect:
• Outdoor Experience
• Integration & Final Reflections
• Closing Ceremony