In Conversation

Our online programme of talks and interactive workshops brings together activists, academics, practitioners, artists and community leaders to share their insights and lived experiences. We offer these events to our GEN members (for free) and the general public (for a voluntary donation).

In Conversation Workshop: Stories & Spaces

Discover the art of storytelling and its profound impact on our lives and connections with the world in the “In Conversation Workshop: Stories and Spaces.” Explore the traditions of storytelling, from ancestral practices to present-day expressions, and learn how to become both tellers and re-tellers of tales within your communities. Facilitated by Rowan Salim, a geographer passionate about anthropo-ecological harmony, this two-part series delves into personal narratives in the first session and local myths and legends in the second.

Over two sessions, you will develop your storytelling skills and connect with diverse practices worldwide. Embrace the power of stories to shape understanding, foster shared narratives, and celebrate our roles as custodians of the land.

Session 1: 28th February, Wednesday

Session 2: 6th March, Wednesday

Timings: 13.00 – 15.00 GMT

 

Read more and sign up here.

An Intimate Discussion on Food Sovereignty poster

An Intimate Discussion on Food Sovereignty

Food sovereignty is about the right of communities to self determine their food systems. It advocates for locally grown and culturally relevant food that centres health and nutrition outside the dominant models of global industrial food production. Cultivating food sovereignty is essential, not only for our individual and communal health, but also for preserving our heritage, both spiritual and cultural. It is an essential ingredient to build stronger and sustainable  foundations for future generations.

Our speakers, who both engage with food sovereignty through embodied and personal practices, led An Intimate Discussion on Food Sovereignty, exploring food sovereignty as both a personal and political act, and as a tool for resistance and activism. Being embedded in local and indigenous communities, they have learned strategies of self-preservation and survival, enabling and creating networks of solidarity and exchange around food sovereignty and food justice that transcends borders.

Date: 30th October 2022

Time: 19:00-20:30 BST

Ethical Journalism and Meaningful Storytelling for Social Impact

In a mainstream mediascape dominated by narratives of conflict, polarisation and domination; new forms of ethical reporting and collaborative filmmaking are emerging. With the intention of breaking the status quo and shifting the old paradigms of extractivist storytelling, we discussed unconventional and pioneering ways of meaningful storytelling in partnership with local communities and social movements for wider planetary healing and sense-making. 

Our speakers explored and redefined the boundaries of new media today, as they shared and reflected on their projects: Ballad for Syria, Ait Atta: Nomads of the High Atlas, Writing with Fire, Ukraine’s foreign fightersGUTTED and the constructive journalism platform, amongst others. Informed by their visions and processes of production and dissemination, this GEN in Conversation invited participants into an inspiring storytelling journey, whilst providing tools for effective campaigning, advocacy, activism and social impact, through first-hand accounts that span across continents and communities.

Transformational Leadership, Regenerative Activism and Navigating Uncertainty

Transformational leadership is when ‘leaders and their followers raise one another to higher levels of morality and motivation’, as defined by leadership expert James MacGregor Burns. Transformational leaders stimulate, inspire and help their followers grow as leaders and achieve extraordinary outcomes. 

During an invigorating conversation, we explored what it means to be a transformational leader, how we navigate the intersecting identities of ourselves as leaders and individuals, how we negotiate the boundaries between our activism and our personal lives, how we put regenerative activism into practice, what transformational leadership and regeneration may look like in such uncertain times, and more!

Date: 16th June 2022

Time: 16:00-18:00 BST

Analysing integrated management in socio-ecological systems- Expert workshop

Cultural landscapes are complex socioecological systems, both in theoretical and practical terms. Carrying out integrated management in these landscapes is an endeavour which requires a set of conditions, knowledge, skills, partnerships and a vision worth dissecting amongst practitioners of this kind of management.

In this GEN in conversation online event, coinciding with the end of the Marrakech Harvest Festival (May 2022), we reflected on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that integrated management entails. Through a participatory workshop, we interacted with a variety of NGO representatives, socioenvironmental practitioners and activists, as well as academics interested in exchanging ideas, tools and reflections surrounding integrated management in biocultural and socioecological systems. We used a situational analysis (using a SWOT matrix), followed by an interactive discussion on how to positively transform and improve the current management systems.

Date: 27th May 2022

Time: 10:30-13:00 CEST

Art as Environmental Justice: Social and Creative Interventions for Planetary Healing

If we are to avoid irreversible global warming that will have devastating economic and social consequences for the world, “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” are required. This was the conclusion of a special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in October. We – the collective “we” – have been given 12 years to arrest climate change. The message is clear: everyone is responsible for creating a more environmentally sustainable world. And the arts and cultural sector is no exception*. 

This In Conversation with multidisciplinary artists and creators Sujatro Ghosh, Guy Reid and Nadia Tahoun explored the role of art in helping us form opinions, educating us about the truth and shifting our worldviews. Together we discovered how films, immersive experiences and artistic activism can have a leading role in tackling climate change and addressing social and environmental justice. 

Date: 24th May 2022

Time: 16:00-18:00 BST

Communities of Care: What Do We Mean By Community Anyway?

The word ‘Community’ is everywhere and used with ease. Building community has become a go-to solution to our collective challenges, from climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, or the ‘loneliness epidemic’. A word used to bind a group of people with common experiences together, in reality, a community is as complex and nuanced as the people who make it. An incomplete, facile or romanticised understanding of what a community is and how it affects the lives of people in diverse societies can lead to the detriment of many well-intended community efforts.

So what does it really mean to build a community of care? Is it a place, an organisation? Or is it a feeling or a set of relationships? What does it take to build a community and hold it together? What does it mean to be a community member? And what can you do when your community doesn’t see eye to eye?

On Tuesday 26th April 2022 at 16:00 BST, Global Environments Network held a discussion about what it means to build communities of care. The featured panelists were individuals working to revive, build or maintain their own communities, both virtually and in-person, in close and more dispersed contexts.

Present and Future of Pastoralism – Film Screening and Roundtable

Extensive livestock farming and nomadism are probably amongst those traditional livelihoods that are facing greatest challenges in our times, with a continuous weakening and disappearance of herders, flocks and migration routes, amongst others. Such rich knowledge and practice is being eroded by rapid socio-environmental change and a multitude of factors, many times without taking into consideration how such practices directly connect to sustainability, resilience and adaptability, all of them essential for the many threats we currently face. The High Atlas Cultural Landscapes Programme of the Global Diversity Foundation has been collaborating with transhumant and nomadic populations in the High Atlas for more than 7 years in order to support communal pasture land governance, civil participation, livestock health and traditional cultural practices relating to subsistence mixed agro-ecosystems where livestock is an essential component.

On 20th May 2022, from 11:30-14:20 CEST, we conducted this event online and at the Emerging Business Factory in Marrakech, coinciding with the start of the Marrakech Harvest Festival (Spring 2022). We screened the award-winning documentary “Ait Atta: Nomads of the High Atlas”, produced by Karma Motion and GDF in 2020. This was followed by an informal roundtable discussion on the present and future of pastoralism and transhumance.

Rites of Passage in the 21st Century: Maintaining, restoring and reviving initiation practices to address our planetary crisis

On Thursday 16th December 2021, we hosted a roundtable discussion about Rites of Passage in the 21st CenturyThe featured panelists are individuals who are working to revive, reinvent or maintain rites of passage in their communities. Some of the questions explored included:

  1. What kinds of rites of passage exist in the world today – whether reinvented or rooted in tradition – to support young people and adults as they move through key life phases?
  2. What elements of rites of passage truly support young people to transform into mature, competent adults, or for adults to become wise elders? (What is the necessary content, versus the form?)
  3. How can we co-design and incubate new rites of passage that maintain the powerful content our ancestors perfected, but in new forms more suited to the present? (Which, for example, might encompass all gender identities and their fluidities?) How can we support the communities we live within to maintain, reinvent or revive meaningful rites of passage locally?

Creative Strategies for Change

On 16th November 2021, GEN hosted a workshop, facilitated by Suzanne Dhaliwal, on creative strategies for change. We explored power and privilege mapping, to develop creative campaign strategies for sustaining our earth and supporting resilient communities.

Colonial conservation and uneven development: The struggle for radical transformation and alternatives

The fortress conservation model persists in many parts of the post-colonial world, and carries with it a belief that biodiversity protection is achieved through creating ‘pristine’ ecosystems free from human disturbance. This top-down conservation agenda, created, funded and heavily lobbied by the Global North, rarely involves meaningful community consultation and traditional knowledge practices, which only intensifies power imbalances. On the ground, this results in a heavily militarised form of conservation, driven by destructive ‘guns, fines and fences’, where communities pushing back against this neo-colonial model are conceived as ‘anti-conservation’ and are further disempowered and in many instances, demonised.

On 25th August 2021, Kendi Borona, Milka Chepkorir, Suzanne Dhaliwal and Ashish Kothari shared their first-hand experiences of the ways Indigenous Knowledge and community-led education can revitalise our human connection to land and build resilient, thriving societies.

Communicating in Times of Polarity

On 3rd November 2020, Irina Feygina and Sandhya Dave explored the psychology behind polarisation and the deep identity processes that lead us to take strong positions and defend them vehemently at the event ‘Communicating in times of polarity’.

Following this, Irina and Sandhya led two interactive workshops:

17th November 2020: Can conflict and polarisation be a doorway into growth and connection? A hands-on training for transforming inner and outer challenges into empowerment and discovery, with Irina Feygina.

1st December 2020: Deeper Listening to Polarities Within the Body An interactive, deep-dive workshop to explore further the topic of polarities from a deeper body-heart-mind perspective, with Sandhya Dave.

What does food mean to me, you, us?

On 8th July 2020, Constanza Monterrubio Solís, Mama D Ujuaje, Gary Martin and Merelyn Valdivia Díaz shared their journeys and the transformative experiences which sculpted and informed the approaches they now take with food issues they engage with. Through the lenses of biocultural heritage, critical food advocacy, Community Centred Knowledge, local product commercialisation and Farmer Field Schools, our speakers weaved stories and experiences which sit at the intersections of justice, power and resilience.

Following this, we collaborated with the Community Centred Knowledge collective to hold the first iteration of The Food Journey. Held over three sessions (4th, 25th and 28th September 2020), this fully immersive participatory workshop allowed participants to delve deep into the history and travels of food, plants, people and traditions, drawing on the knowledge and experience of all taking part.

Weaving land, life and justice within, through and beyond colonisation