as partners in grundtvig we have been able to undertake many activities that would not have happened otherwise:
- 16 learners travelled to partner countries to meet others engaged in the same area of study.
- 4 faculty members travelled twice each to partner countries making a total of 24 mobilities
- Additionally we were able to support many local activities
→ tuition to people from partner countries was funded- 11 grants were made
→ tuition to people studying in the UK was supported- 21 grants were made
→ 9 meetings were hosted in the UK some for dissemination of learning, others for partner meetings to study and learn together. Others to plan how to put into practice our learning from our partners
There have been many personal outcomes for people, there have been strong relationships formed between people who have paricipated in the mobilities, some people are continuing to visit each other. People from the UK have participated in non English events and used translation to do so. There are extracts from the participant reflections below.
The UK training programme as a whole has learned much from its partners leading to the establishment of a Process Work centre in Edinburgh and the beginnings of a London one.
We are considering instituting a festival of process work similar to the one in Poland.
The whole training programme has been reviewed in the light of our learning over the two years and will be completely changed in 2012. It will become more sustainable at many different levels, environmentally, individually for staff and learners, financially.
The ash cloud added a level of uncertainty as one of our main events for 2010 was cancelled however it was rescheduled and took place in april 2011.
Staff have benefitted immensely from working with colleagues from partner countries and there have been strong bonds formed, this has been across all partners and is particulalry moving as the pertnership has led to a different level of cooperation between the UK and Ireland made more possible by the involvement of poland and slovakia.
Reflections from learners on mobility to Poland June 2010
I definitely learn a lot and big part of the learning happened on observing and practicing. I loved the exposure to the culture and thinking of ‘Process Workers mind. I have had a great and profound experience on group process, I am still touched and processing some of those experiences. Many of the concepts have now a real depth in me, for example, how one individual can influence and even change the mood or atmosphere of a group. With awareness and fluidity one can facilitate the enfoldment and bring coherence and deep understanding to all. So I learn more about moods and how can I take responsibility for my participation. I had a healing and reviling interaction with a gate keeper within myself, and found out how big part of my personal myth is related to my journey as woman. All the exercises brought home another part of my self to be welcome, I feel bigger than before. Working with the process mind was fabulous and brought greater clarity and insight to my project in Brazil. It inspires me deeply the practice of presence and awareness, accessing the information available all around us.
Not speaking the language or knowing much of the culture, invited me to awaken all my senses awareness much more than I would normally. The communication happened in a much more attentive way. We worked on East and West issues, and been in Poland made this work much deeper and real. Also the experience supported me on the better understanding about diversity and privileges, like being minority, speaking or not the language and its challenges, appreciation, trust the translation… But the main learning I think was the witnessing of the process in a country and its people so shaped and affected by the war and communism. For me a Brazilian woman, living in the north of Scotland and in my thirties, these was an amazing experiences.
Crossing immigration borders was challenge for me, both ways, but worse was the English border, where I almost lost my flight waiting for them to check my passport and visa. Even though theoretically it is not required of Brazilian to have a visa prior traveling, there is often a sense of suspiciousness and mistrust in the atmosphere. That hurts me. The way I facilitated for myself was by first feeling deeply my own pain and then dreaming on the fears of jobs been taken by foreigners, terrorism, need for safety and for prevail of culture for example. I found compassion in my heart and I used to communicate and answer questions.
Basically, I feel expanded and able to include and understand more.
The group processes we had around east and west, took me to places within I have never touched before. I bring the process of south and north, poverty and marginalization. Bu in my close family history there isn’t such a painful memories and experiences from war. I welcomed that part of human history within myself through feeling its pain. And now I know how to access when needed as meta-skill.
The PW learning takes part in communities and each community is different the same as every individual is different .
Since starting my studies in PW, I have done most of my learning in the UK, I have also been to the intensive in Portland, Oregon, the community weekend in Paris and the Europe matters on Slovakia. Learning in one location is not enough, I would say that the field experiences are different and for me, going to Poland was very significant. I met and learnt with polish students. I got to know them. It was the first time for me to travel to Poland as well. The polish school is very well organised and very advanced in the PW training. The Polish school has 20 years of existence, they now have 50 students in phase I and 50 students in Phase II. The Polish school is part the History of PW , how it emerged, evolved and still evolving.
At the intensive, there were representatives from the Irish school of process work, the Slovakian school and the UK school, there has been discussion about how to improve cooperation and sharing of skills between the different schools. I am glad that I had this opportunity to be part these discussions. One of my dreams is to create or set up a PW oriented centre in Burundi. This calling came to me during the intensive in Poland. In Poland not only they have the PW school but they also have PW centres in different parts of the country. This again was a great learning for me. As I said earlier this was the first time that I was travelling in Poland, so travelling to a country where I had never been before was a challenge for me. I don't speak polish either.
When I landed to the airport in Gdansk, it was about midnight. I had to adapt quickly , make connections and get to find out about accommodation facilities for the night. I quickly made a connection with a local Taxi driver who has been very helpful. He took me to Gdansk city centre where I found an accommodation for the night. The same taxi driver made me aware that, as a black person in Gdansk, I should pay attention and be careful about certain individuals who do not like black people or foreigners, that was another level of awareness about the issues of racism.
Another bonus was that we learned a huge amount about the amazing creative learning spirit of the IPP Polish School which has 100 students and there are lots of ideas we could follow up here. We could share these ideas on this string if people are interested and consider which ideas we could follow up with our students.
During the intensive, I had an opportunity to talk to other students about their lives and they asked about my life to. I was the only black African person present there. One of the students got interested in me and asked me how I felt about being the only black person in the group. I said that I didn't see myself as different at all.
I live in a very diverse community in the UK and the rules and regulations of the country have been adapted to accommodate this diversity. The individuals attitudes towards diversity are still to improve, and this will only happen if we as individuals accept to accept this diversity and recognise that “the other person is me” even though they might look different, do things in a different way eat different food,etc. In Poland I haven't seen much diversity but I felt that the diversity can also be an issue in relation to the country's past history.
It gave me the chance to explore my own projects, personal and public, with students from different backgrounds and nationalities. It was useful to notice how some of my personal concerns and directions are shared by others. The work in groups gave me good opportunities to find out about other’s concerns. Working via translation in Polish and English emphasised the importance of language as both a barrier to understanding and an opportunity to overcome such barriers.
The biggest challenge for me was to take ownership of the colonialist past of my nation, how this is reflected in my attitudes toward peoples of other nations and my lack of awareness of the resulting privileges that I continue to take advantage of. Voicing my feelings around this issue was helpful both in my own development and for the understanding and compassion of the whole group.
It helped me to feel the importance of historical differences between the experiences of different nations in Europe particularly. It is easy to overlook this diversity because people have similar aspirations, want to fit in with a common future, and do not like to dwell on past hurts and injustices, or complain about those that persist.
I think I will be more sensitive to such cultural issues when working with groups or relationships between people of different national origins. It will affect how I perceive my own cultural background and reactions.
A Polish student asked me for help in her difficulties with reconciling her religious beliefs with Process Work’s apparent sympathies with shamanism. She felt unable to be open about her beliefs with her fellow students and teachers. I wondered if this difficulty was influenced by the suppression of religion during the socialist era. This conversation led me to consider whether Process Work theory pays enough attention to deeply held religious beliefs and the value (in particular) of Christian teachings on healing and self-development.
This is basic stuff but somehow I have a different understanding of it now. i also learned a bit about Poland and how Polish people have related to and still relate to Western Europe and to the English language and, finally, I learned some difficult things about myself and the things that block me and prevent me from fulfilling my plans - about my own difficulties with people especially with approaching people. I got some tools and discovered parts of myself that will help me to work with this - but it's an ongoing process.
It was greatly enhanced by having to go to Poland to do it. As a Scottish person I was very much in the minority. The majority of people at the seminar were Polish. It was great to hear about what Polish students are doing with Process Work. They're so engaged in their communities and so entrepreneurial. I was inspired and encouraged by this. It was also good to have another and different experience of being foreign. We were very, very welcomed and yet some of the processes showed us very starkly how angry Polish people are about the privileges we enjoy in the West, about the dbisparity in wealth and about the history - Polish people feel betrayed because they were not supported when invaded. It was painful to learn and I'm grateful for it.
I have also been dreaming of this seminar in poland, so i would like to add my dreaming.
there was an ease in going to poland, with thanks to grundvig, to the organisers of kasha in poland and eva, kiro and stanya here. and thanks to our teacher Jean Claude, Arlene, and Joanna and Michal in poland for a wonderful programme of studying the 'cutting edge of process' - staying so close to our own processes yet looking across at the other - in the form of organisation and social issues that arise in every organisation.
It was a great privilege to assist at this training, to unfold my own facilitation and teaching skills as part of a team of 5 that pat mentioned below. for many years i have worked largely alone as a school teacher, coping with large numbers of pupils in over sized classes. Having had this experience and support of teaching in a team, it has given me such a delight and confidence in my skills. since my return i have taught a few days in a school, over 120 children a day, children who dont find it easy to settle in a group, like alone experience learning - yet i felt relatively at home in my role, and connected though briefly with my colleagues there and had a pretty good teaching experience with each class.
Language, landscape, music, food, beauty of the people, way of doing things, war history and communism, architecture, social issues, relationship with money, social and cultural rank, racism, welcomed and not welcomed implicit cultural codes, and other things I don’t know how to name it. I notice diversity in all of those things. I feel expanded and more inclusive. I also notice that I brought diversity to Poland, by being the only Brazilian woman around, for example.
Thank you! Thank you!
As I said earlier, I believe that diversity is a key to resolving conflicts in the community. My dream is to develop a learning on diversity in all its forms and use my skills to raise awareness about it and hopefully make others aware of how diverse we are as communities but also as individuals.
When in another country I feel a need to understand and be accepted by its culture, in a way that is never necessary in my home country. This was important in making me aware of the perception of my British nationality and how this affects my relationships with other Europeans in many subtle ways. Experiencing the struggle to speak in an unfamiliar language was also important.
It's difficult to put words to this. I think I have a better understanding of how different the experience of Polish people and people from other countries around the world is from that of people from the UK when we travel abroad. Being foreign is a very diverse experience and is influenced not only by the reasons for being foreign (e.g. whether you choose to move to a new country and the different reasons for that or are a refugee, asylum seeker) but also the relative rank of your home country and your new country and the language(s) that you speak. I'd been thinking about these things for a while before going to Poland but being in Poland I had an opportunity to hear, first hand, the experience of Polish people travelling to the West in decades past - the pain and humiliation of the rank differences.
Reflections from Dublin, Ireland
Apart from the seminar itself, it was a great experience for me to meet and learn with Irish and Slovak students that I didn’t know before. It’s always a great asset to learn from each other and exchange experience.
The seminar was about leadership and management and my learning will benefit me and my organisation. My employer was interested to read my notes from the course.
As a leader learning to look at own personal psychology in relation to the outer environment is useful. As Arny said “a leader must be able to give up her position and admit defeat and her fault, but he/she must also realize that he/she is an important and inconsequential to the entire development of the group”.
The facilitators referred to this as stepping back, we had a number of exercises about learning to step back. This does not happen suddenly, one has to train and develop the attitude of stepping back.
Meeting new people that you have never met before and learning to work with them in a short period of time is always challenging. It always takes time to meet and connect with people. Connecting is important and its always challenging. I personally have to adapt to the learning atmosphere of where I am at a given time this means that I constantly change even if the change can be minimal. I can now say that I am learning to adapt myself to these changes as they happen.
Diversity is my main interest, I am always thinking about how diverse I can be as an individual. I try to welcome all parts of me and this not easy to achieve.
When I meet some body new to me, it’s an opportunity to learn about diversity too. I always think that I am meeting the other part of me that I don’t know or that I haven’t discovered yet. The same way I surprise myself with my own behaviours sometimes, I also develop curiosity when I meet a new person .
Diversity is endless and enjoyable.
My dream is about building strong communities around me and in the world. I have now made contacts within the Irish school, and I will definitely have an opportunity to work closely with them.
Reflections from Slovakia
The learning opportunity in Slovakia was fascinating for me as I was able to learn about the similarities and differences between the culture in the UK that I grew up in and the post-communist culture in Slovakia. During the second world war in Slovakia and the communist times that followed the end of the war, opportunities to explore spirituality were rarer than in the UK where various different spiritual and religious traditions were available since before I was born. It was interesting and inspiring to see how spiritual interests continued despite oppression in Slovakia, including visiting the only working Synagogue in Bratislava which had been provided with police protection during a high holy day service. It was also interesting for me comparing how the family and society I grew up in allowed me the freedom to explore and choose my own preferred self-learning path whereas regardless of support from family or others that I may have had, if I was born in Slovakian society there would have been an expectation upon me to conform to certain interests and goals and to focus energy on supporting the “working people” and not individual/spiritual experience.
It was challenging to try to learn in a foreign language environment however I was greatly helped by Slovak friends who were willing to provide running translation during the seminar.
I learned about my privileges coming from a multi-cultural culture compared to the more mono-culture of Slovakia during communist times and the importance of freedom to follow one's choices as well as support for all diversities to be included so that we can support a deeper democracy to flourish.
This has inpsired me to study to become an awareness facilitator and run seminars and therapy that helps people to appreciate their inner diversity as well as the diversity in their cultures and so support and cherish the freedom to learn alongside each other about how to create a better world
It was unexpected for me to meet a personal connection in Bratislava to my own background in that the seminar was being held on the same street as the only working synagogue in Bratislava and the seminar was being held on a high holy day. Witnessing the persistence of the Jewish population in Bratislava even after oppression during second world war and the communist era helped me appreciate the importance of being free to choose our personal path of self-learning and having support to follow those paths and be grateful for the support I received from Grundtvig,
The entire experience of travelling to Bratislava, within the country, staying there and spending time with Slovak participants gave me a feeling sense of the atmosphere of the country and a sense of the people, the culture and history. I spent a few days after the seminar getting to know the place more and went on an historical tour of the city learning about the culture and history of Bratislava. Also it was a good opportunity to network and get to know the process work students based there as well as Polish process work students, who also attended the seminar.
Meeting with process work seminar participants and students from Slovakia and Poland and getting to know them more, the culture, the history and therefore what shapes the psyche of people from this part of the world has helped me better understand diversity issues. On a more subtle level, taking in the atmosphere of Bratislava and of the seminar group, which consisted mainly of local participants.
It’s reminded me about the importance of bringing an attitude of openness, interest, curiosity and also an awareness of my privileges as a UK citizen and relative rank differentials with other countries.
The extent of the welcoming atmosphere, warm reception and hospitality, friendliness and care taken by the hosts and also the internationalism and popularity of process work, as well as the passion for it in Eastern Europe. I learnt about the spirit and growth taking place in this work in Slovakia and Poland. I feel very grateful to be so well taken care of by our hosts and for this Grundvig experience.