Updated: Sep 20
Last week me (Meg) and Freya went to a call organised by our funders at Challenge and Change (by the Blagrave Trust) and it was a great session! We got to meet a load of the other young people working on similar stuff, and explored our visions and ideas for the future. I thought I’d write a blog on it because then y’all can try this process out yourselves if you want :0))
Blagrave invited the guest Andre Anderson from Freedom and Balance - a radical art college-he led the session and got us all looking at things from different angles. It was all about working out our vision in through creativity- we all had some pieces of paper and drew out our ideas.
We started by drawing a picture of a person (a stick person hehe) . This was us, or the people we are trying to talk to. The idea was to write where the person is at the start and what their needs are. For us this is a dissonant young person who is stuck in school. Their needs might have been stuff like ‘they need to believe they can create change’ or ‘they need connection to a story bigger than themselves’ and ‘they need community and space’ !
Then we drew an arrow from this person
to another stick person in the future- and Andre made a really cool point about rather than thinking about ‘past, present and future’ we should think about ‘past present and possible’ - asking ourselves “what is the possibles we want here?” . That way you are dreaming big but not putting expectations on things and recognising the things that are outside your ability. So for us the possible is a disobedient young person - someone in community, breaking the rules, imagining bigger, running spaces and doing actions. 💥
Then we turned the paper over and wrote at the top “VISIONS/SENSATIONS/INSPIRATIONS” . These words are a way of thinking outside the box with your mission- so a vision is an image you have of the future which excites you even if you can’t quite put it into words or if it’s not a direct result of your mission- for example Andre spoke about a vision of people on his estate talking together about things they’d been writing- and that this was part of the vision for Authors of the Estate (a Freedom and Balance project) long before the name or project emerged. So we all sat and wrote/ drew some of our visions for our projects - Freya shared with everyone a vision of a youth led space for other young people, think climbing walls and music and cool convos. It’s such a good way to vision because it gets you so immersed in it- super inspiring and gives you a taste of the possibles.
The next word we focused on was sensations- what are the feelings we want people to have on this journey, and not just like ‘inspired and happy’ but like drawing on specific experiences or moments in our lives that felt important. So for example I wrote about a time in April 2019 at XRs rebellion when I was running through empty London streets late at night with shopping trolleys filled with art materials, speakers and friends. We had music blasting and we were taking the stuff back to the main office- and it felt like that cheesy ‘anything is possible moment’- so that feeling we wanna help people create! (Random side note- one time some of us played this game where u write a word and other people have to define it and we came up with ‘bringlefizz=that feeling you get when you’ve gotten away with something a bit naughty’- we want some more bringlefizz!)
And then the last word at the top of the page was ‘inspirations’ - not like basic ones eg other cool movements and stuff- but things that are out there- no direct relationship but the vibe is right or something key we want to take away from it. So for example- if you want your space to be like a Wu Tang Clan album. So we all got thinking and came up with a load of funky ideas- everything from X-Men to marshmallows to big family meals. It was a really cool way to vision :0))
So then we looked again at the mission, and talked about the levels of where we wanna go. We drew a half rainbow and it had 3 levels - the highest one is our biggest level- end goal, the lowest one is where we are at right now/what we can achieve to start with, and the one in the middle which is well, in the middle. It was cool to think about how you can achieve your mission even while working on a lower level- and Andre made the point that everyday there are a hundred touch points to be following your mission- every time you answer the phone and every time you send an email you can be actively choosing how you do that. We also talked about how our work has to be agile- full of energy and flexible.
Finally, the last exercise of the workshop was to write our vision in one sentence, using the frame “in (insert group name here) we will be finding ways to...” I wrote :
In DISOBEY we will be finding ways to break the broken rules so that we can write new ones together- taking people from dissonance to disobedience.