a course in postactivism

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It seems to me that in this time of catastrophes followed by catastrophes, as novel viruses prowl the streets, as heat domes and heat waves short circuit air conditioning units, as nation-states struggle to remain relevant political units in the face of geological and technological shifts, and as old rituals no longer ignite the warming fires by which our modern experiments have kept the cold at bay, an unearthly tune might be heard – wafting through the ruins of proud but anxious civilization, unsettling the browning leaves of disillusionment, whispering through traumascapes of exhausted activisms, braiding itself with the sinews of the migrant winds that once powered the sails of humanist progress and confidence.

This arhythmic howl is by turns soft and bodacious, barely perceptible at times and then impossible to ignore. This ‘tune’ is not music, and yet it is the irresistible stuff music is made of. If we listened, we might hear no discernible lyrics, no convenient message – and yet that is the point: this tune is our permission to fail, an invitation to new reformulations of citizenry. The undoing of an acoustic order. A call to delirious depths. What might failure look like? Where might this generative incapacitation lead us? Who are we and who is here with us? I do not know yet. But I suspect that as I try my feet and hips to these seditious sounds and throw my limbs in trust of the abundance of this place, I will be caught by the surprise of the many already dancing with me – for failure is rich, and where there is ‘nothing’ there is much to go around.

Bayo Akomolafe (PhD), Teacher/Host

W H A T   I S   T H I S   C O U R S E   A B O U T ?

For a year and many months, the coronavirus pandemic has swept across the globe like a relentless fever, rolling into cities from Auckland to Zacatecas, touching down in remote villages, haunting the once unbothered intimacy of touch, slinking across interlocked limbs, swimming in mid-air, inscribing African bodies with its biological imperatives, upsetting the confidence of foresight, blowing through heated Euro-parliamentary arguments about the best ways to conduct war, scratching the sky open, building diplomatic consulates in evasively novel variants whereupon its compelling terms of endearment could be enunciated to the human-folk.

In the months since the first vaccines were announced to an exhausted global order, a slightly inflected normal has begun to return against the soundtrack of a persistent viral irruption. The engines are humming; the administrators have rushed to unbox the old tools, to polish the flagpoles, to tighten the old bolts, and reassure every citizen of the viability of the previous. But there’s something different: something molecularly off-track. Not everything has returned the way we once recognized them – not even ourselves. There is a jarring chord of failure – perhaps now amplified – that innervates our once cheery song of things. Perhaps now more than before, our optimisms seem cruel, our postcolonial hopes dashed, our efforts for justice tinged with cynicism. It seems like things want to fall apart. It seems like we’ve been stolen from home. Where do you go when things fall apart, when home has been taken away from you, when the cracks appear?

There are rumours that the cracks are not so foreboding. And that there might yet be a strange abundance in those ruptured places. Legend has it that a stolen people arriving on Brazilian shores centuries ago found a way to weave a posthumanist politics of care, a new theology of smelling and eating and tasting and sensing, a treasonable altar of gods and goddesses in their fugitive terreiros. They shut their eyes and danced with hyphenated deities; they choreographed strange sanctuaries. They stayed with new sites of power.

Perhaps that unsettling counter-imperial strain of failure that reframes the normal, calling for new response-abilities, new dis-abilities, and the making of sanctuaries, stirs in our epidemiologically inflected landscapes, in this age of the “hyposubject”* and the fugitive. Perhaps there is nowhere else to go but into the cracks. Perhaps our deepest activism is this dancing that might yet be.

*hyposubject: A term by Timothy Morton. “Hyposubjects are squatters and bricoleuses. They inhabit the cracks and hollows. They turn things inside out and work miracles with scraps and remains.”

 

To think with the immensely helpful formulations of Peruvian scholar, Marisol de la Cadena, ‘We Will Dance with Mountains: Into the Cracks!’  is a course in postactivism, “but not only.”

This is an animist festival, a subterranean convergence of disarticulated bodies desirous of a new politics, and a cartography project set upon exploring vast terrains of failure as a gesture of refusal in a time when resistance not only feels inadequate to the task of decoloniality but programmatically linked to the continuity of the status quo. 

Into the Cracks!, following 2020’s iteration of the project, Let Us Make Sanctuary, is a carnival of departure in teaching, in creating together, in leaning into the exquisite, in texturing exile, in re-membering with the places that hold us, in making sanctuary. Hundreds of people from across the world, with different cosmovisions and persuasions, gather to lean into the cracks, to try new moves, to revisit the ordinary, to stray generously from the assured. The course emerges as a post-nationalist invitation to fugitive inquiry, local practice, and celebration beneath the surveillance of modern anxieties, motivations, and ethical contrivances. 

This project – should you find your way to it – is your permission to fail.

Inspired by Bayo Akomolafe’s construction of ‘blackness’ as a magical counterhegemonic quest for cracks in the Anthropos, instigated by the African Anthropocene, situated at Afro-diasporic sites of loss and queer power, and conceived as a deepening commitment to a politics beyond state recognition, this course-festival is an effort to spark an end-of-time emancipatory, decolonial, trans-local vocation of making sanctuary that is heavily indebted to the story and emergence of Candomblé spiritualities in Bahia, Brazil.   

Like the most previous version of the course, through curated sessions, shared explorations, emergent rituals, lectures, and side events, Into the Cracks! longs to push toward the unthought, the yet-to-be-tried, and the surprising, by exploring new nuances and complexities in the postactivism field summoned by Bayo Akomolafe.

As before, the longing of the course is to construct an approach/aesthetic that might help us move beyond the stuckness of our justice paradigms, move beyond critique, the exhaustion of leftist politics and electoral dynamics, the self-referentiality of cancel culture, the limitations of intersectional theory and representationalism, the failure of catch-up imperatives that the so-called Global South depends on, our unyielding dependence on nation-states, and our imaginations coterminous with the status quo. Additionally, the course weaves into the fabric of this iteration a post-nationalist ethos – a studied look at the failure of nation-states and the need for new political units that do not depend on the violence of statehood.

Unlike the previous course, this iteration is about practice and cultivation, about not just talking about making sanctuary, but ‘doing’ it – about materializing a practical and modest politics of mutation, of responding differently, and of new cosmoperceptions.     

The course will include lectures/talks by Bayo Akomolafe, teachings by revered guest teachers, open discussions with panelists, exercises, one-on-one encounters, regional meetups and local gatherings of practice, musical and theatrical performances, weaving rituals, and the ongoing prolificity of a research inquiry at the end of time.

W H A T   W I L L   W E   E X P L O R E ?

 

Do not pray exclusively to the ancestors of the land; make room also for the spirits of the fault line, the new gods that scream through cracks with the first musical notes of worlds to come.

 

The pedagogical goal of this animist course is to serve those disarticulated by, distressed with, and disenchanted from, dominant politics and its counteroffensive activisms – those tired of usual ways of speaking, exhausted with forced compliance, and longing for other ways of becoming response-able to these interesting times. The course offers reframes inspired by traditions and insights and readings that present a fugitive break from the usual. In other words, the curricular focus of this course is to put wounds to work, to treat them as portals and cracks connected with larger territorial shifts instead of matters to be eradicated by a dominant mode of being.  

But the aim of the course is not helping people “get it” or arrive at a fixed consensus – the aim is not even to find solutions to our problems; the unique invitation of this festival is to compose a celebratory trans-local politics of going invisible, a postnationalist/posthuman aesthetic of meeting the world differently, a falling-apart-together, a coming alive in another way. We want to track new senses, share recipes of eating and being eaten, invite new smells and sights.

Blackness is the leitmotif of this course. This Blackness is neither a pan-Africanist dream associated with visions of eventual supremacy, repatriation and nationalist coherence nor an Afrocentric blackness, static and essential. It is not exclusively the identitarian adversarial concept associated with the identity dynamics in Afro-diasporic communities, and it is not a universal, disembodied promise of emancipation. In short, this Blackness is not a creature of the state or of justice. This Blackness, while secreted from the histories and stories and losses of black bodies, is the votive oil that marks the end of the “world”, seeks out cracks in the vast terrain of the Human (the Anthropos), and invites decolonial practices of fugitivity. This Blackness is discomfiting: an invitation to touch the threads of complicity without falling into the convenient traps of guilt; an invitation to map desire and struggle with failure. An invitation to struggle – not with the established powers we despise, but with our ironic entanglements with the sustenance of those very powers. An invitation to think. 

Dr. Bayo Akomolafe (again surrounded and often prompted by the silent genius of his children’s noisemaking!) will be the chief instigator curating themes and teachings. Here are some of the themes and questions we are likely to explore:

  • Blackness: Becoming-black is not taking on black skin; it is the often pre-intentional/local flow of processes that enlists bodies of all kinds into the undoing of hegemonic stability. It is the choreography of matter in the unfurling of colonial coherence. Is there a different politics here – something to consider, to contest, to practice, to sit with? 
  • Science as colonial force: As “heat domes” and heat waves become urgent climate events, short-circuiting air conditioners, reminding us of larger forces at work, global warming reasserts itself as a topic of concern during a time when our collective attention has been captured by a raging pandemic and the prospects of going outside, we revisit the epistemological strategy (scientific method) as the co-producer of contemporary anxieties and realities. While being careful about reductionisms such as an anti-science stance, in what ways do our modern forms of knowing – including the scientific method – determine and preserve how crises are made real to ‘us’? Why is it compelling to note that the ways we set about trying to understand and resolve our converging crises are also part of those crises? 
  • Ecologies of trust: In a time of weaponized divisions and deep uncertainties, who do we trust? What do we consider trustworthy? How is trust stranger than we think? 
  • Making sanctuary: How are we being invited into the work of making sanctuary? Who/what is called here? Who are the actors? And what are the promises of these seditious engagements? 
  • The injustice of justice: Is justice enough? What if injustice in order to be itself requires justice to function well? 
  • The shadows of recognition: In what ways do our strivings for recognition reinscribe the legitimacy of statehood and its undercurrents of violence? 
  • Weird politics: In this age of the hyposubject – how might we conceive of, and practice, a ‘weird politics’? 
  • Postactivism: Instead of asking “what do we do about the crisis?”, what does asking “what doings are we already imbricated with?” allow us to do, to notice, to try? How are the cosmovisions of modernity and liberal humanism ‘inadequate’ to the task of responding generously to the tragedies of contemporary politics and the crises facing the city? What do the concepts of postactivism, transraciality, becoming-black, and making sanctuary offer to our movements for a ‘better’ world? What new problems and shadows do they create? 
  • Recovering from goodness: What if we are all embroiled in energetic currents of complicity with the matters we are most vehemently opposed to? What kinds of ethical formulations spring from a rejection of rectitude and a consideration of ‘inclinations’ as fugitive postures for end-times?
  • Braiding whiteness into chromatic strands of surprise: In what ways do our attempts to dismantle whiteness constitute a reinscription of whiteness, and how might a queering of power and identity disrupt the ways we fall into carceral dynamics with dominant and hegemonic bodies?  
  • Candomblé: This Afro-diasporic religion assembles queer figures to mark/make home while its adherents gestate in a foreign place. In these times when home no longer feels welcoming, could the practices of Candomblistas inspire a politics of inquiry at sites of rupture? 
  • An ecopsychology of trauma: If the ‘human’ is dislocated, broken open, can we still conveniently tether trauma to human experiences or reduce it to anthropocentric events? In what sense is a new ‘psychology’ – inescapably political – desired today? 
  • Queer power and speculative strategies for the hyposubject: From acephalous protists making intellectual moves, to telepathic slaves conducting marronage and archetypal gods hiding in the ordinary, is power as controlled and as scarce as our knowledge-making practices tell us, or is realism limited? How is magic a matter of decoloniality? How is fiction a strategy of the fugitive and the hyposubject? How do we move towards totally new im/possibilities given the ways our justice-seeking performances fall into the traps of the impoverished familiar? 
  • How do we collectively weave new temporalities of decolonial practice? What would it take to create a modest local fugitive practice and network of sharing during these strange times? A postnationalist ecstasy? What would it take to move ‘beyond’ critique and cancellations (without dismissing these as ‘evil’ or ‘wrong’) towards creation and conjuration (without constituting these as arrivals or final resolutions)? 
  • Peace: At a time when conflicts and wars trouble international commitments to peace and stability, we want to examine the nature of these commitments, and if we can continue to think about peace in the same ways during a pandemic-distressed Anthropocene. For instance, is there hope for peace in the Middle East? In Africa? What does that look like, and what particular constraints work to reinforce violence? What does it mean for us to desire to “get back to normal” when the normal harbors violent secrets of its own? 
  • Dance! (nothing to add here that has anything to do with words!) 

V U N J A !

 

 

Vunja is a Swahili word that marks the site of strange ruptures but then invites celebration and dance with/in those cracks. You can think of “Vunja” as breakdance – the dance that breaks, and the breaks that instigate dances. In a profound sense, Vunja is what Blackness seeks: breakages, openings in the coherence and purity of the master, cracks in the veneer of confidence, rifts in the vast territorial ‘body’ of the Man. We believe that these cracks are sites of excess where things spill over, where new forms of becoming-together might be cultivated. Vunja is a political and spiritual technology for gathering together, for assembling things in a queer way, for performing research.

This motif of Vunja is the galvanizing force that informs our explorations this year: that is, our political moves, our attempts to bring things together in new ways, our gesturing towards the concept of making sanctuary, our consideration of the rich constellation of concepts related to postactivism, will yield to the gravitational pull of Vunja.

It is therefore important to note that Vunja emerges from and is secreted through histories of denial, exclusion, contrived commonalities within identitarian arrangements, desires, experiments, capitulations to colonial orders, pan-Africanist and Afrocentric formulations, resistance movements and the spiritualities they’ve spawned, fugitive sciences, and situated activisms of ‘black’ bodies in response to white modernity. While it is indebted to and grounded in these issues, these histories and curdled materialities, Vunja is a putting-to-work of an animist/posthumanist metaphysics, an attempt to go ‘beyond’ modern categories and find other places of power.

With Vunja, we find a situated rhythm with no lyrics, something to move to, something to nod to and swing our hips to, something that brings down to earth (and into the cracks!) the atmospheric concepts of “making sanctuary” and “postactivism”. With Vunja, we experience the tensions of becoming-black and play with the yet-to-be-determined hospitality of blackness – a falling-together that materializes as shared gifts and strategies fit for fugitives from the holding cells of our time. Learn more about Vunja as a project of The Emergence Network.

W H A T   T O   E X P E C T

 

Here's what you might expect if you become part of We Will Dance with Mountains: Into the Cracks!

  • Rich explorations and provocative 3-hour live sessions every other Sunday for three months (nine sessions in total between September 12 and December 19, 2021)
  • A large, global cohort of hundreds of co-participants from across the planet weaving a rich tapestry of cross-cultural inquiry and possibilities 
  • Live sessions including a blend of ceremony, playful chaos, inquiry, practice and talk
  • Lectures from Bayo Akomolafe and a constellation of other powerful teachers  
  • A lot of offline exploration, regional meetups (where possible), party-making and ritual-creation in the spirit of making sanctuary
  • Open spaces for discussions and sharing of questions and convictions
  • “Blackness!”, a performance by ‘Abayomi’ a special cohort of participants acting as gut microbiome for the course, digesting insights, instigating new visions and formulations, with-nessing our gathering
  • Specific agoras for Black folks, People of Colour, and White-identified People
  • A Vunja Panel discussing “Strategies for the Fugitive at the Edges!” facilitated by Prentis Hemphill  
  • Post-session notes from Bayo Akomolafe and Jiordi Rosales
  • The availability of a dedicated Care Team
  • An interactive community space for sharing and connecting using the Mighty Networks platform
  • Research meetings
  • Artist collaborations
  • Music, dance and theatre
  • Offline invitations, practices and prompts between sessions
  • Confusion and bewilderment
  • Prayer
  • Emergent curriculum: nothing is fixed or final here. The collective is the more prestigious guru, and the course is flexible enough to listen to your needs and adapt to them.

IS THIS COURSE FOR YOU?

Please read this carefully: this course is not for everyone. And not everyone is invited. This assertion might seem inhospitable and exclusive, but it is a humble acknowledgement of limitations and a modest rejection of an easy, modern, context-less universalism that includes “everyone” or invites “everyone” in without noticing that the very formulation of the invitation, this inclusivism, is already an enactment of exclusions. Moreover, there is no such thing as “everyone” per se; there are specificities, bodies and contexts, needs and desires, commonalities and stories, openings and gifts.

This course-festival, a celebration of openings, a conjuring of descent, a sharing of fugitive strategies, is not about telling the truth or channeling pre-formed universal ideas, and it does not try to wield answers for all; instead, our pedagogical-spiritual undertaking is a rejection of such suspiciously cohesive and totalitarian notions like “Truth” or “World”.

This is inquiry at the edges of the recognizable, practice at the speed of child-like play – not a gathering to confirm what we already know, but a quest to sit with the shocking unthought. Even more critically, making sanctuary (the core concept that continues to be central to the imagination of the course) is for those on the run, those who need to move, those who must leave the familiar behind, and whose bodies have been rendered incapable of proceeding with the current state of affairs. This course is for fugitives – black identified bodies, brown identified bodies, white identified bodies and people all over the world who identify in other ways.

This course is for you:

  • if you know the irony of victory and feel something ‘outside’ our ways of making sense of things is being called for, 
  • if you sense a need for flight from the discourse, politics, and activisms you’ve experienced,
  • if you can weather the storm of edgy provocations that may eat at your sense of the appropriate,
  • if you are working with an organization, and can be supported in a local cohort to explore the themes of this course,
  • if you feel called to sit with others in experimental indeterminacy and possible failure,
  • if you are willing to be hospitable to the uncomfortable, to the bewildering, and to look again at subjects within the confines and clutches of your critique,
  • if you are willing to listen to other worlds outside your own,
  • if you feel desirous of participating in an active research assemblage that makes you more than an audience member at the feet of presumably wiser persons,
  • if you want to bring new questions and provocations to your social justice work and your understanding of today’s politically polarized world through paradigmatically different frameworks,
  • if you feel politically homeless, and you’ve come to appreciate the limitations of the promise of representation,
  • if you are clear on where to go and what to do about a perceived crisis confronting your community – but are still capable of entertaining (and willing to sit with) a suspicion that your clarity may occlude other modes of engagement,
  • if you have questions, lots of them, and would love to contribute these questions to create a commonwealth of fugitivity across the planet,
  • if you can permit yourself to be gifted the rich and emancipatory hospitality of Blackness as excess, then this course just might be an invitation to you,
  • ...if the prospects of co-creating a local/decolonial sanctuary as a way of becoming response-able to and with/in colonial frameworks nurtures your desires for trying the impossible and calls to you.    

 

This course may not be for you:

if your energies are entirely devoted to or substantially invested in forms of resistance and critique that characterize even well-established strands of social justice thought and practice that are of issue in this course,

  • if you are clear on where to go and what to do about a perceived crisis confronting your community – and find no pressing need or urgency to explore other modes of engagement,
  • if your constitution cannot withstand any challenge to your views,
  • if you require professional care and support that cannot be reasonably provided during an online course, given its limitations,
  • If you expect certain ethical formulations, practices, assumptions, identity-based discourses, and gestures unique to your part of the world (or to the politics that you are used to) to be unreservedly adopted by others across cultures, orientations and cosmologies – and if you countenance a refusal of these proposals as traumatizing or evidence of pathology on the part of the ‘refusing other’. 

 

WARNING: We’re serious about this course being an exploration that intentionally includes exploring provocative ideas outside the bounds of what’s considered appropriate or acceptable especially in some social justice circles. The hope and purpose of exploring beyond these boundaries is to find new or different ways of orienting ourselves and/or to uncover insights in our disorientation. Please do not join this class if you think this could be more than you want to hold or if it could touch traumas in ways that aren’t good for you. By joining this course, you are agreeing to question your reactions, opinions, and attachments. Please come at your own risk. Please also read our statement further down regarding ethical considerations and frames.

The 'Bakhita' Project

Bakhita

The Bakhita Project is research at the transatlantic middle. Derived from the insight that we are still stuck in the 'middle' – the infamous Middle Passage that names the journeys that stole bodies from the African continent – the Bakhita Project is an investigation of the materials that compose this stuckness, a revisitation of salient figures and ‘objects’ and forces and dynamics in this interesting place.

As an element of Vunja, the Bakhita Project invites staying with powerful figures, ghosts and bodies – those that are supposedly done with and in the past – in order to reframe the present, to come alive to new imperatives, to host new visitations.

Bakhita's generativity thrives on tracking/following failure to interesting plot twists. As a curated research assemblage, the project sprouts rudely as a disco of wild gestures, encounters and zigzagging movements - a situated inquiry of shared imagination, fugitive storytelling, and becoming lost that derives from Akomolafe's formulations on agency, postactivism and making sanctuary as an end-of-world cartography.

This is not about capacity development; it is about generative incapacitation, about wonder, about surprise, about Abayomi (where Abayomi is the impossibility of total capture, of full enclosure and disclosure, and the condition for emancipation that is not a reinscription of the master's imperatives).

 

W H O   I S   B A K H I T A ?   A   P E R S O N A L   A C C O U N T

 

In 1996, while renovating Mercedes Guimarães’s newly acquired home in the port area of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, hired construction workers dug up several bones. They thought these were the calcified remains of cats and dogs, but Mercedes felt otherwise. “Guimarães joined the worker in the backyard to see the bones. She dug through the dirt with her hands and unearthed teeth.” Guimarães, a 60-something Brazilian woman of Spanish and Portuguese heritage, told a reporter that she “looked at the teeth and immediately knew that they weren’t from a cat or dog. They were from humans” (From The Daily Beast).

She found not just one, but several human bones, belonging to at least 26 Africans, including children. As she would later discover, her home was built on top of an old cemetery where African slaves, weak and sickly from the grueling Atlantic crossing, were interred, their corpses squeezed together for lack of space. Mercedes wanted to remember them, to respect the almost 5 million slaves that disembarked in Brazil, and the 1.9 million that got off the ships in Rio. She created the free-to-visit Instituto Memória e Pesquisa Pretos Novos (Institute for the Memorial and Research of the New Blacks - IPN) – a partner of this course. It remains Rio’s only slavery museum.

One of those persons interred beneath Mercedes’s home was identified by archaeologists as a 20-25-year-old woman, whom the researchers would give the name ‘Bakhita’ after the famed Sudanese slave-turned Catholic saint. Bakhita’s unveiling in 1996 would prefigure the unearthing of a major slave port, the Valongo Wharf, in 2011, where hundreds of thousands of African bones were crushed along with discarded broken furniture and glassware in a mass burial ground of human and nonhuman bodies.

At the IPN in Rio (February 2020) with Mercedes, Petrucio and Camilla Cardoso.

During a memorable speaking tour of Rio and São Paulo early this year, 2020, just before the pandemic exploded, I visited Mercedes and her husband, Petrucio, at the Museum. Mercedes told me stories about Bakhita and what she thinks of the mysterious woman found beneath her home. Mercedes strongly felt that the earth is opening her many mouths in many locations, and that bones are being unveiled everywhere beneath the oblivious flatness of modern progress. I agreed with her, stating that perhaps our work is to fall into those cracks. After our conversation, I went alone to sit by the open sore in the ground, the opening that unveiled other imperatives I had not known. The opening that was Bakhita.

There is a need for fugitive study that goes beyond the limitations of calling out power, whether it be patriarchy, racism, anthropocentrism, sexism, or ableism. There is a need for an approach that understands the agonistic forces that impinge upon bodies, and which restores the self as a current within a larger force field of agency. We need an edge of departure that heeds Bakhita’s invitation to come down beneath the surface. To wade in the water.

meet your host: bayo akomolafe

Dr. Bayo Akomolafe – a philosopher, psychologist, professor, and poet. He is a teacher and public intellectual renowned for his unconventional views on global crises, activism, and social change. 

Bayo dreams of composing a “weird politics”, a postnationalist emancipatory network of making sanctuary as inquiry, a village of technologies for fugitives. 

In 2014, Dr. Akomolafe was invited to be the Special Envoy of the International Alliance for Localization, a project of Ancient Futures (USA). He left his lecturing position in Covenant University, Nigeria to help build this Alliance. Bayo has been Visiting Professor at Middlebury College, where he taught on his own formulated concepts of ‘transraciality’ and postactivism. He has also taught at Sonoma State University (CA, USA), Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada), and Schumacher College (Totnes, England) – among other universities around the world. He currently lectures at Pacifica Graduate Institute, California and the University of Vermont, as an adjunct and associate professor, respectively. He sits on the Board of many organizations including Science and Non-Duality (SAND).

Now living between India and the United States, Bayo is a father of Alethea Aanya and Kyah Jayden Abayomi. He is married to EJ, his dear life-partner of Indian descent. 

The convener of the concepts of ‘postactivism’, ‘transraciality’ and ‘ontofugitivity’, Bayo is a widely celebrated international speaker an award-winning public intellectual, essayist and author of two books, These Wilds Beyond our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity’s Search for Home (North Atlantic Books) and We Will Tell our Own Story: The Lions of Africa Speak. He is also the Executive Director and Chief Curator for The Emergence Network. He is writing his third book about the spirituality and emancipatory lessons of the transatlantic slave journeys, called “The Times are Urgent, Let us Slow Down”. 

meet our guest teachers

a d r i e n n e   m a r e e   b r o w n :   adrienne maree brown is the writer-in-residence at the Emergent Strategy Ideation Institute, and author of Holding Change: The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and MediationWe Will Not Cancel Us and Other Dreams of Transformative JusticePleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling GoodEmergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds and the co-editor of Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction from Social Justice Movements and How to Get Stupid White Men Out of Office. She is the cohost of the How to Survive the End of the World, Octavia’s Parables and Emergent Strategy podcasts. adrienne is rooted in Detroit.

R E G I N A   T C H E L L Y :   Chef Regina Tchelly, 39-year-old Brazilian chef and resident of Rio de Janeiro’s Babilônia slum, repurposes food waste to provide access to healthy food and remedy a broken social system. With her project called Favela Organica, Chef Regina is creating small organic food gardens in Rio de Janeiro, producing local, organic food for the communities who tend the gardens themselves, and promoting a style of cooking that uses the products, including food scraps, to try to influence local people’s eating habits. 

M U N I R   F A S H E H :  Munir Jamil Fasheh was born in Lower Baq’a in West Jerusalem in 1941, expelled from his home by Zionist armed groups in April 1948, and has been living mainly in Ramallah ever since. He studied and taught mathematics and physics for many years. As a result of the 1967 war, he started moving along the path of learning without teaching in harmony with what characterized Arab civilizations: a form of wisdom that stemmed from interaction among various civilizations. In 1981 he went to Harvard and obtained a doctorate in education. In 1987, after the first Palestinian intifada (uprising) broke out, he left Birzeit University and established The Tamer Institute for Community Education. In 1997, he was Visiting Scholar to Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, where he established and directed The Arab Education Forum for 10 years, during which he visited 29 countries and worked with various groups. Since 2007, he has been working with groups in Palestine and Jordan – and, since 1971, has become a major proponent of the concept of Mujaawarah, a social technology of radical hospitality, neighbouring, and inquiry with place.

meet our panelists

One of the nine plenary sessions will host a lively panel of visionaries from around the world in a conversation calibrated to the fugitive sites of power beyond hope, beyond justice, beyond getting even. Called “Vunja: Strategies for the Fugitive at the Edge of Time”, and hosted by Prentis Hemphill – movement facilitator, Somatics teacher and practitioner, and writer – this carnival of voices will explore questions of decoloniality, post-development plurality, how animism and posthumanism inflect and distress the liberal humanist quest for justice, what it might mean to become lost in order to find our way, how we can share/co-create a stranger politics, and what Blackness might allow us do at this time.

P R E N T I S   H E M P H I L L

G E C I   K A R U R I - S E B I N A

J A Y   N A I D O O

A R T U R O   E S C O B A R

M A R I S O L   D E   L A   C A D E N A

V A N E S S A   A N D R E O T T I

M A N I S H   J A I N

C H A R L E S   E I S E N S T E I N

K A D A R I A   A H M E D

R U N E   R A S M U S S E N

A L E X   R O D R Í G U E Z 

A N G E L   A C O S T A

  

meet our team

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A E R I N   D U N F O R D

Course Support and Well-being + Course Management

Aerin Dunford is a writer, upcycling artist, urban gardener and yoga instructor. She is a process consultant at Coquixa Consultores using El Arte del Liderazgo Participativo (Art of Hosting) and other participatory approaches as a basis for her work with organizations and groups of all kinds. Aerin believes that meaningful connection and relationship-building is possible across distance and difference. She is an experienced host in online spaces and enjoys supporting individuals and groups to discover what’s possible in the virtual realms.

Aerin is also the Chief Basketweaver at The Emergence Network, a translocal community of postactivists posing questions such as: what if the way we respond to the crisis is part of the crisis?

Since the death and stillbirth of her son in 2018, Aerin has been called to work with grief in new ways; she has been reflecting, writing and convening others to metabolize loss together. You can read some of these musing on her blog, In the Name of Rafa.

jiordi bio

J I O R D I   R O S A L E S

Creative Producer + Course Management

Jiordi (hebrew variation of the river jordan, meaning to descend or flow down) encounters himself most deeply in places of confluence and immersive study — attentive to the forms of learning that most permit joy, humor, mystery, and contradiction.

Traced by xicano lineages, by way of East L.A. to the Sonoran desert in Northern Mexico, and romani/jewish migrations, Jiordi is most granted breath by inquires into sonic imagination — as a luthier and instrument designer since childhood, he is theologically entangled in the ways that sound is created, how it travels, and the variance of forms through which it is perceived and given meaning.

Jiordi’s current season of work is in discipleship to that which evades the archive. He is a curator for The Emergence Network, and holds an M.A. in Ecology & Spirituality from the University of Wales. Currently living and attending to sanctuary in the coastal mountains of Northern California, he and his kindred are focused on the rematriation of indigenous prescribed-fire practices back to the West Coast.

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G E C I   K A R U R I - S E B I N A

Elder and Vunja Co-Curator

Geci lives in Johannesburg with her partner, kids, lots of books and music, and usually loads of folks passing through (not so much during times of COVID). She is a scholar-practitioner working in the intersection between people, place and technological change. She trained in tech, architecture and planning, and has steadily been unravelling into learning much more (and less) through her role in The Emergence Network. Geci’s career to date has mainly been in the public sector and academia. She is currently coordinating the African Civic Tech Innovation Network, Associate Professor at the Wits School of Governance and an Adjunct at University of Cape Town’s African Centre for Cities. Codename: Super Q. Superpower: Asking lots of questions?

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K A R E N   L E U

Course Foundation Layer

Karen misses being in the womb and hopes to die with a slight smile with the anticipation of returning to it. In alternate universes, Karen is a ninja artist, a professional waffle-maker, and a being with the superpower of making sure all kids everywhere experience love and silliness. Karen likes spreadsheets and questions and hates extreme wealth inequality, reactivity, and writing her own bios.

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J A S O N   L A Y

Tech Management

Jason is a professional mercurial, a quicksilver being pouring ceaselessly from one vessel of fascination to the next. He is first-generation Chinese-American, a student of buddhadharma, a healing arts practitioner with training in bodywork, acupuncture, and EEG neurofeedback, as well as an oracular polyglot fluent in the languages of tarot, geomancy, I-Ching, and traditional Hellenistic astrology. Jason lives with his two cats, Leeloo and Trinity, in St. Louis, MO, and enjoys anime, poetry, podcasts, and fine beverages of many kinds. Currently, he is rediscovering his passion for plant medicines as allies for spiritual and physical healing. Jason is on the staff of Ancestral Medicine founded by Daniel Foor.

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Z H O E   K O L B E

Administration + Logistics

Zhoe Kolbe was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa close to the beautiful slopes of Table Mountain. A spiritual being who is deeply passionate about shedding light into the world and a
curious human in search of how the human experience is integrated with the quantum field as well as embodying one’s sovereignty while living this beautiful human experience.

She comes from a corporate background working in recruitment but has always felt a deep sense of wanting to live beyond the system and the current norms of society, which propelled a journey of self-discovery, unlearning the autopilot beliefs and learning new ways of BE-ing.

She has ventured into jewellery making, crafting handmade concrete jewellery which can be found on concreoandco.org together with other handmade concrete home décor pieces. The concrete
products illustrate the idea that there is beauty in simplicity, transforming a universal material into something brand new and beautiful.

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J O N   M A R R O

Artist in Residence

Jon Marro is an award-winning Artist, Author and Filmmaker who creates whimsical worlds filled with color, activism and inquiry. Led by imagination and unknowing, Jon is a seasoned traveler in liminal spaces and loves guiding people between the mystical and the mundane. He is the founder of Worlds Within Enterprises, a Creative Agency and Production Studio that brings big, bold visions to life through multimedia storytelling.

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V U  T R Ư Ơ N G  H A  A N H

Administrative Support

I'm an enthusiastic un-learner and 2020-WWDWM-dropout. I was borned and raised on the South Central Coast of Vietnam. I enjoy reading books on various topics, fermenting kombucha, playing Chinese chess and trying out new things. This year, I sneak onto the admin team as an intern under the guidance of my respected teacher Aerin. I hope to be nurtured by the wisdom of The Emergence Network team and participants during our time together.
Apart from WWDWM, I'm serving as coordinator of an alternative higher education program The Soil Project and member of VCIL Community network in Vietnam.

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A L E X   R O D R Í G U E Z

Facilitator, The Bakhita Project

Alex W. Rodríguez is a writer, trombonist, and organizer based in Holyoke, Massachusetts, USA, occupied lands originally inhabited by the Pocomtuc and Nipmuc. He currently serves as General Coordinator for Bhumisparsha Tantric Buddhist community and President of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. Last year, he served on the coordination team for The Emergence Network's Wilds Beyond Climate Justice event and later worked with Bayo to develop the research framework for the Bakhita Project. He holds a PhD in Ethnomusicology from UCLA, where his research focused on jazz clubs around the world and the communities that sustain them, based on fieldwork research in Los Angeles, California; Santiago, Chile; and Novosibirsk, Siberia. He also holds a teaching eartificate (not a typo) from the Center for Deep Listening in Rensselaer, NY.

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C A M I L L A   C A R D O S O

Artistic Direction + Aesthetics

Camilla Cardoso is cofounder of Terra Adentro and member of the collective Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures (GTDF). In her researches and work as a facilitator, Camilla explores systemic transition and possibilities of decolonial perspectives - focused on social justice and wellbeing intertwined with the living earth. Camilla is also part of the network TEIA DAS 5 CURAS, a collaboration between indigenous and non-indigenous researchers from Brazil (Pataxó, Huni Kuin, Pitaguary, Fulni-Ô, Tremembé), Peru and Canadá. Camilla also collaborates with TEN (The Emergence Network) on the VUNJA initiative and others projects. Camilla has been working with museums and cultural institutions as a consultant; and as cofounder of the project This is not the truth, she had experiences with investigative video making and has released the documentary-series What is Emerging.

schedule for sessions

For three months, on nine Sundays, from 12 September to 19 December 2021 we'll join each other for live video sessions. (Those without video or internet access can join by phone.) All sessions are recorded and temporarily available for participants.

The sessions are 3 hours.

Live Sessions are held on the following Sundays at 8:30 PM India Standard Time (IST):

12 September | 26 September | 10 October | 24 October | 7 November | 21 November | 5 December | 12 December | 19 December

7am PST/8am PDT (San Francisco) | 10am EST/11am EDT (New York) | 3 GMT/4pm BST (London) | 8:30 pm IST (India) | 1am AEST /2am AEDT Monday (Australia) |

Please be aware that the time of the course will change mid-way through for countries with daylight savings. The anchor time for the course is 8:30pm India Standard Time.

price and registration

This year, in addition to a typical individual application, we are experimenting with a group application which will allow a group of 3-10 people to submit one application. Group applications will be given some preference since it is our desire to foster linkages among those who desire to go off the map together. This course is not meant to be an individualistic journey towards salvation. That said, we also understand that many people who feel drawn towards these inquiries feel very alone in their sentiments and want to join this course precisely to build community and we will take this into account. 

The application is now open through the 3rd of September. Applications will be reviewed by an Admissions Council on a rolling basis. For individuals, apply here. For groups, apply here

This is a paid course.

We offer two sliding scales based on your relative financial standing. The huge range between the two scales is meant to reflect not only the incredible disparity in economic conditions between different parts of the world but also the historical reality of stolen wealth in many different forms generally from the so-called Global South to the North. Ultimately, the payment system is designed for those with more access to wealth to cover the costs of those with less access to wealth; we trust your discernment of how you personally fit into this global economic context.

Convert USD into your currency with this currency converter.

 

S U G G E S T E D   F I N A N C I A L   C O N T R I B U T I O N S

For people with medium to high access to wealth in the global context (as a general rule of thumb: middle class and upper/owning class people in the Global North, anyone with investments or retirement savings, anyone who expects an inheritance):

F R I E N D : $295 USD 

S U P P O R T E R : $585 USD 

P A R T N E R : $875 USD 

 

For people with lower access to wealth in the global context (as a general rule of thumb: most people in the Global South and people who’ve been systematically disadvantaged or are poor/working class in the Global North):

F R I E N D : $50 USD

S U P P O R T E R : $75 USD

P A R T N E R : $100 USD

The different levels marked by ‘Friend’, ‘Supporter’, and ‘Partner’ do not convey any material differences in your experience. They simply mark different contribution amounts within each scale. 

As you decide what amount to pay, we ask that you not only consider your present-day financial situation governed by income but also factors including: 

  • historical discrimination faced by your peoples; 
  • your financial wealth (do you have retirement savings?)
  • your access to income and financial wealth, both current and anticipated (how easily could you earn more income compared to other people in your country and in the world? do you expect to receive an inheritance?)
  • people counting on your financial livelihood including dependents and community members
  • and the socio-economic conditions of your locale (relative to other places in your country and in the world)

If you feel challenged by the financial requirements of participation, please reach out to us: courseteam@bayoakomolafe.net

 

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accessibility

The live course sessions on Sunday will be conducted via Zoom. The sessions will have live transcription through Otter and we will also provide a copy of the transcription a few days after the session. Because Otter is an automated transcription service, we can’t guarantee its accuracy. There will not be verbal or text descriptions of visual material and the sessions will not be translated into any other language. We reserve the right to record all the sessions.Tthe video, audio, and chat file from the live sessions will be provided within 48 hours of the session to all the course participants. 

The live sessions will have several hundred people on them and they may sometimes have a chaotic quality to them. For example, there may be moments when everyone is invited to unmute and offer a prayer or speak gratitude. This can be very loud and jarring for some. Also, the Zoom chat is almost always left on – some people find this very helpful as a way to interact and others can find it very distracting (it is possible to move the Zoom chat out of the field of view but this requires a few extra steps.)

Participants will have full agency in deciding their level of engagement with the live sessions. They can choose whether to have their camera on or not, whether to call in with their phone, and whether to join breakout rooms. No one is ever forced to speak in front of the crowd. 

The other platform we’ll be using for the course is Mighty Networks. Mighty Networks is a social networking platform where people can post text, audio, images, videos, or links and these can be viewed in a ‘feed’ similar to Facebook. Engagement on this platform is completely optional. Mighty Networks also allows for self-organizing where people can create their own groups and determine their own rules of engagement inside these groups.

For other questions to determine if this course can work for you, please email courseteam@bayoakomolafe.net.

ethical considerations and frames

You are likely to meet persons on this course who do not subscribe to your thesis of social justice, who will not share practices that you consider to be well-established around gender and race, who may not see eye-to-eye, and who have different ideas that may be troubling to yours. You may believe that those persons’ beliefs reflect a domination or colonizing way of thinking, and you may or may not be right, or there may be a way of understanding that is beyond right and wrong. In any case, we invite you to make this meeting a site of research that allows for questions and unknown outcomes. 

We hope that our community can collectively cultivate a space that holds many more questions than answers. A space that is tender, interesting and interested, charged, haunted, new yet ancient, exhausted yet fertile. This course may be called racist (or some other kind of ‘-ist’) by some and it may be labeled as bypassing by others, but perhaps there are other possibilities beyond these binaries as well.

We Will Dance with Mountains is not Euro-Americo-centric, but multi-perspectival and aspirationally decolonial. We want to lift up important cultural perspectives beyond those heavily shaped by European colonialism and US American imperialism. Our explorations will draw from happenings from different places in the world without dismissing the specificities of local concerns and places of power. We believe that engagement with these issues and social realities are important and we invite participants to embrace this engagement. 

We also recognize that contemporary popular decolonial discourse, especially centered in the US, has established forms of protocol that are meant to make mixed spaces ‘safer’ for minoritarian bodies and target groups seeking recognition within dominant cultures. While we are deeply committed to prioritizing the well-being of those who’ve been most extracted from, we are also wary of reproducing hegemonic structures of compliance that override one’s ability to practice discernment, to be accountable to other compelling forces, and to think differently. At the heart of this course is the longing to seek other places of power beyond the State, rather than recognition from its center. And yet, we must also “mind the gap” (Brené Brown) between where we are and where we long to be, and practice attention towards those who suffer the most as we strive to get there. How do we consider and care for those most historically exploited in our cohort without calcifying our encounters through fixed-solutions, reifying colonial sense-making? How do we safeguard such a sensitive process from the fumblings of whiteness? There is inherent risk in our choice not to rely purely on identity-based protocol, and to commit instead to a politic of Blackness, of tricksterhood, of Vunja. We ask everyone in the course to hold this decision with sensitivity and dignity.

The organizing and research teams are also committed to our own learning journey and want to stay open to all that we don’t know and can never know. The tensions between some of the theses and research goals of the course: between a politics of visibility and imperceptibility, identitarian and molecular, are acknowledged – not treated as binary tensions but overlapping and supplementary possibilities. To this end, we do not dismiss identity politics, but seek to work within that space. 

We wish to create plenty of room for divergent narratives to sit, perhaps uncomfortably, next to one another, while also insisting on a basic level of mutual respect. We also want to question the centrality of some of these narratives, including those that seek comfort in humanity’s oneness or that hold our different social identities as fixed, rigid objects. We want to lift up a complex, ever-changing, entangled world that contains multitudes. We encourage people to find their own ways of relating to what’s offered in ways that serve their journey. This may or may not mean agreeing with this body of work or continuing with the course. 

Each session is framed as a provocative question, a reading of multiple theses and insights, exercises and conversation, prayer and silence and dance and performance – none of these things (nor the things that Bayo says) are to be understood as “Truth”; that would be a demotion! We invite disagreement with and healthy challenges to Bayo’s teachings. We distinguish a healthy challenge from an unhealthy attack in this way: the goal (conscious or unconscious) of a healthy challenge is to make all parties stronger, whereas the goal of an unhealthy attack is to take down, cancel, or destroy. 

We deeply value participants’ emotional security and well-being and at the same time, we cannot promise safety. Sanctuary in no way refers to a sense of safety. The community of participants will hold many differences in worldviews, politics, belief systems and backgrounds. If it’s important to you to be in spaces where you can trust that people will share the same political analysis or worldview, this is not the right place for you.

care statement

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We Will Dance with Mountains is designed to be a highly experimental un/learning journey. The outcomes of this convergence are unknown and emergent.

In creating this container, we are consciously opening to the fugitive and the trickster, to the provocative, the unexpected, and the rogue – even with our longings to practice sanctuary-making

Those of us on the organizing team imagine that the community of participants in this course will espouse many different cosmologies, worldviews, political opinions, cultural backgrounds, and so on. This may mean that tensions arise. These tensions can lead to new insights, possibilities, and connections; it can also lead to conflict, fragmentation, and even trauma. We ask that you try to hold these tensions generatively and experience them as potential places of growth. 

We have developed a set of community guidelines to support us throughout We Will Dance With Mountains. These include the following kinds of practices: 

  • Share generously. This experience will call for you to share your stories, dreams, questions, failures, ideas, and challenges. Speak what needs to be spoken. Speak with an awareness of the impact of your contributions on the group. Please share openly and honestly while trying to stay connected with heart, mind, body, and spirit.
  • Stay with the trouble. Try to be constructive. Sit with the possibility that we don’t know what’s needed and we don’t have the answers. Can we soften the urge to fix, solve, or transform our reality? Try to observe, listen and honour what is shared without trying to explain, advise, or offer solutions. Keep in mind that conflict is not abuse. If conflict arises and/or someone expresses something you don’t like, consider if there are constructive ways of engaging. Be aware that various cultures have different ways of communicating and engaging in conflict. Some may be more passive, quiet, or avoidant while others may be more direct, expressive, or assertive.
  • Aim for kindness, settle for curiosity or even avoidance. We do not need to come out of this experience as friends. Still, try to be kind and compassionate to one another. If that feels too difficult, try to stay respectful and curious. If that feels too difficult, then maintain a safe distance and carry on. 

The full set of guiding principles will be shared with participants upon their acceptance.

While each person is responsible for their personal experience, we also invite an awareness of our entanglements and our impacts on each other and the larger whole from the outset. We invoke the spirits of mutual care. Our intention is to create a context in which we can continually practice cultivating curiosity and skillful means within the complexity of our unfolding relationships. The organizing team also recognizes the importance of offering minimum, elegant structures to support the community in navigating challenges, conflicts and emotional difficulties that may arise from this experience.

We Will Dance With Mountains is not a safe space, but we aspire to support one another and co-create a container (albeit a broken one) where we can all take risks together. 

One such structure is the WWDWM Care Team. The Care Team is a group of volunteers – and fellow participants in the course – dedicated to providing care and protecting this community in its intention to come together and create an experimental space. Care Team members are experienced in supporting conflicts and people experiencing strong emotions, especially in cross-cultural contexts. Care Team members are available to anyone experiencing strong emotions or desiring support through conflict and will also moderate and respond to any concerning remarks within the community forum. 

sponsors / partners

 

frequently asked questions

When does the course meet?

Live Sessions are held for 3 hours on the following Sundays at 8:30 PM India Standard Time (IST):

September 12 | September 26 | October 10 | October 24 | November 7 | November 21 | December 5 | December 12 | December 19

7am PST/8am PDT (San Francisco) | 10am EST/11am EDT (New York) | 3 GMT/4pm BST (London) | 8:30 pm IST (India) | 1am AEST /2am AEDT Monday (Australia) |

Please be aware that the time of the course will change mid-way through for countries with daylight savings. The anchor time for the course is 8:30pm India Standard Time.

What technology do I need to participate?

The live sessions are held via ZOOM, a video conferencing platform. You can participate via the Zoom program or application using a computer, tablet or cell phone. You can also call in via phone using one of many international dial-in numbers.

The course content including session recordings, readings, and any additional materials will be available on the website. We will also be creating a Mighty Networks platform for all course participants to serve as an optional place where participants can connect, dialogue, and share content with one another.

Is this course meant for everybody? Will everyone who applies be accepted into the course?

No. We would like to retain for ourselves some agency in determining those we feel are a right fit for this exploration. We have taken pains to identify those we feel are “called” to explore and research with us. Please take your time to acquaint yourself with these criteria. Potentially, this course applies to people of all races, bodily orientations, persuasions, faiths, and ages. However, it is our suspicion that this course is likely to benefit those who feel politically homeless in these times, whose curiosities overwhelm their convictions, and who are capable of and willing to work with others within multiple formats (including agora conversations, provocative lecture-style/village talks by Bayo Akomolafe, experience-based exercises, research clusters and more). Additionally, we will hope for a culturally, cosmologically, and geographically diverse class from around the world. We may not always be successful at making useful selections: like you, we are limited, embodied and situated. Our efforts are modest. But we will listen deeply and prayerfully, hoping that this moment - bigger than our boundaries and selection algorithms – will call those it seeks.

How much time should I expect to spend on the course?

Live sessions are three hours long, at least twice a month. Between those sessions you might join a small group call or research meeting, and you may choose to participate in the online discussion (on Mighty Networks). In the past, we've had participants show up quite actively and gain immense insight. Others have participated in less active ways and still enjoyed the experience. We look to you to decide how much engagement will create the experience you desire. If you commit to the course and find yourself taken away by unforeseen circumstances, we do provide recordings of each session.

Why pay for this?

In the spirit of full disclosures, and in alignment with my own emergent (and imperfect) practices of living 'in the small and in the gift', I want to share that the costs of this course will go into paying for its setup, maintenance, and ongoing support. It will also go into supporting me and my extensive family of many mothers, sisters, children, and wife. This course is a creative and honest expression of my motivational and physical needs – a way I am privileged to open space for the otherwise while being sustained in the time-consuming work that it entails.

Is there a curriculum, and are certificates awarded as evidence of completion?

No. As a recovering academic, I (Bayo Akomolafe) am acutely aware of the way certain modes of learning exert such a claim on our attention, that we forget there are other ways of learning. Certificates, diplomas, and whatnot are aspects of a larger political-economic order that privileges a few to the exclusion of many, and grants access to abundance only by colonizing and occluding other paradigms of learning and well-being.

Regarding the curriculum, we run a fluid-structured learning format that is responsive to the emergent, spontaneous needs of participants. Instead of a cold curriculum that is about progression through topics, we have a compass of inquiries and shared adventures – a foretaste of which registered participants are furnished with. However, if you find you are only able to decide about participation based on the availability of the 'compass', do visit my website where a contact form is available.

I feel completely exhausted by social media platforms like Mighty Networks… if this course is so fugitive then why are you relying so heavily upon these mainstream technologies? I can’t take it!

It’s true, Mighty Networks is inherently problematic in the way that it choreographs certain types of facebookish encounters, righteous debates, and other such narcissistic configurations. And yet, it also allows for deep sharing, convenient communication, and has been proven as a very useful organizing tool for the course. We recommend you utilize it in whatever form works for you, without relying on it to fulfill your every need for belonging and witnessing. Meanwhile, we are working on designing our own platform for future encounters.

R E F U N D S   /   W I T H D R A W A L   P O L I C Y

Short of your personal displeasure with the content of the course and other unique cases (which we will consider deliberately if they arise) there are very few situations in which we might provide refunds.

There’s an inescapable simultaneity involved with all the actors on this course: by offering this platform, we do not only ‘touch’ you, you touch us – and other participants. It’s a mutual infection. You will come to shape the course simply by showing up, just as much as the course will shape and mark you inexorably. As such, if something does happen along the way – precluding you from continuing our relationship – understand that you cannot be replaced.

So while we have no strict ‘no-refund’ policy as other online courses do, we invite you to consider that the energies you’d have brought with you, as well as the seat you’d occupy (to the exclusion of other potential participants) represent real stakes.

We reserve the responsibility of turning down requests for refunds or offering partial refunds. Any request for a partial refund must be made before the second live session of the course (Sept. 26).

 

R E M O V A L   P O L I C Y

In the interest of protecting this fragile and amorphous community and its intentions in coming together, we reserve the responsibility of removing individuals from the course who are disrupting the process in a way we deem destructive. Any decision to do so will be made very thoughtfully and with great reservation.