Ecologies of Transformation (2021-2023)

A temporary MFA at the Sandberg Institute, researching how art and embodiment can create social change. Curated & led by Camille Barton.

Defining what Ecologies of Transformation is (the temporary masters program at the Sandberg Institute, created & offered by Camille Barton) & telling what we do there is not easy. Maybe the core research question is how art making & embodiment can create social change. We go through experiences & stories that offer growth, and we move a lot.

On our second semester we moved a lot with Joy Mariama Smith, working on vibe, touch, boredom, care, collaboration, reflection & more.
Went deeper into The Resilience Toolkit (Nkem Ndefo) with Char Azad & Wangũi.
Ama J. B. Johnstone brought Towards a Black Ecopoet(h)ics.
We had our dear Victoria McKenzie for impactful meetings.
Joyful Militancy, Sci Fi for social change, Liberation Psychology, Atomic Habits.

Meenadchi's teachings on Non-Violent Communication.
Clowning w/ Robyn Hambrook & Aisha Ali in Activist Clown Toolkit.
Then a Clown Intensive with Sabine Choucair of Clown Me In. How playing together is key in building community.
Grief rituals with Camille Barton & each other; things to compost & re-orient.
My dear Lucie Gérard joined me in sharing our offerings on Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown.

Lina Bravo Mora gave us space to move with clay.
Evan Ifekoya took us through Portals & Rituals.
Trauma Informed Principles were conveyed by Camille Barton, touching our work where it engages with others.
Assessments after-care as restorative yoga with Jessica Ludascher.
We moved & broke glass with Ivan March as we talked about the lessons of festival & club culture, Camille Barton offering their learnings as well.

D'bi.young Anitafrika came and took us to places through all the elements, to be continued in Costa Rica.
And we showed up to transform our conflicts in the loving container of Mar Maiques Díaz.

Photography by Dora Lionstone🌻
@doralionstoned

Works in the images by:
1 - @julietdavisdufayard__ “What is the mother material of the soil?”
2 & 3 - @lina_brvmr______ “Landing”
4 - @emmavanbokhoven ‘s Dutch pre-colonial folklore / ancestral oracle deck
5 - @malabadii3 “Transfer the Belonging”
6 -Effy Fu Yuanyuan’s “Dear Human”
7 - @seanclaudetheblackstallion333 Fractal Embodiment, A Somatic Movement Research Lab

Photo 17-12-2021, 15 49 48.jpg

On our first day together, moving within the space, making eye contacts & Camille said: “Acknowledge that the person before you wants to be loved & accepted as they are. They went through pain and loss in their lives.” Jules & I teared up looking at each other.
 
This is how we wrapped the first semester of Ecologies of Transformation:

Char; our bodies hold a lot. Green, red, blue, purple. Settling signs got visible. Yawns & stomach rumbles are now great news to me. Melt instead of mirror. Self-regulate. Witness resiliently.
 
Kai Cheng Thom; moving through conflict choosing love. Reaching the window of transformation. “The opposite of trauma is choice.”
 
Sage Crump dropped by! “Cultural work can change material, political, tangible reality.” & “All organizing is visionary fiction.” (a.m.b.)
 
Victoria McKenzie; Into the soil. Interconnected architecture; also of mycelium. “Decentralization is life-affirming.” Focusing on the imagination of the new.

Gregory; non-violent communication. Seeing shadows through trauma informedness. Shared mirrors.

Wangũi wa Kamonji; we moved with the frames of white supremacy as well as antidotes to it. Visited different pluriverses.

 
Nicole Bindler; navigating states of polyvagal while flocking, we merged & aligned for the protest. Leadership organically shifted.
 
Caroline Woolard of Art.Coop brought solidarity economy; community ownership + democratic governance. “Art is not neutral. It either upholds or disrupts the status quo, advancing or regressing justice.” - adrienne maree brown

Joy; expanding our moving ground. Paying attention to when “no” pops up in the body. Our assumptions & embodiments. We guided each other through the rain with mushrooms on the way.

 
Camille Barton; artist as an agent of transformation. Rituals embedded. Searching for colonialism in our bodies, moving it out. Composting. With Nagaré, giving us so much despite the institutional hardships. Grace Lee Boggs question hovered: “What time is it on the clock of the world?”

Jazzy. Paula. Sabrina. Lina. Mala. Effy. Nikolitsa. Jerrold. Sean-Claude. Juliet. Emma. And me.

EoT group photo by Dora Lionstone.