Year Report OtherWise Foundation 2018-2019
â€˜â€˜OtherWise stimulates critical engagement by questioning the status quo and exploring alternative pathways towards a more environmentally and socially just world."
Contents Year report 2018-2019
Chapter 1 - Organisation
Chapter 2 - Activities of 2018-2019
Chapter 3 - iWEEK Summer School
Chapter 4 - Research Mediation Program
Chapter 5 - OtherWays Program
Chapter 6 - Finances
Foreword This year alternative written to foundation.
OtherWise has had a pathways to a more give interested readers Next to this, it is also
beautiful and inspiring year where we together explored environmentally and socially just world. This report is an opportunity to keep track of the developments of the a way for us to document our endeavors over the years.
With a vibrant, almost 20 year history of student engagements, this will be an important future reference of people engaging in OtherWise Foundation as participants and/or generally interested people. This yearâ€™s report for the academic year of 2018-2019 will provide insight into the program and events from last year. The OtherWise team grew this year with three new board members and the annual change of coordinators took place. The common understanding of the OtherWise identity continued to emerge, which not only made our organization stronger, but also resulted in a highly engaged group of people working on the ideals of OtherWise. In Chapter 1, one can read a general overview of the program of 2018-2019 where our key themes are described, which were: Non-Violent Resistance; The Commons; Gender, Diversity & Inclusivity; and Inner Sustainability. Chapter 1 also includes the vision and mission of OtherWise, our team and collaborations with other (student) organisations, volunteers and interns. In Chapter 2, we review the program more in-depth and each event is shortly described and reflected on. In Chapter 3, the annual iWEEK summer school is reflected upon. The next chapter, Chapter 4, contains the Research Mediation Program, including its events such as the Alternative Thesis Fair and a training on Participatory and Visual Research. OtherWise also continued to provide links between alternative research projects (theses or internships) and students by providing a platform through our Otherways program as described in Chapter 5. Our final chapter of this year report gives an overview of our financial resources, our revenues and spendings. We look back to an active year, a year in which OtherWise Foundation was blessed with a stable team of incredibly inspired people with a common understanding of what the direction of OtherWise Foundation is. We could not have executed our activities without the valuable partnerships OtherWise holds with Boerengroep and other GAN organisations, and with many (grassroots) organisations in our network. Also we could not have done the work we do without the funding and facilitation from Wageningen University. We would like to thank our partners and main sponsor for their vital contributions. I have been involved in OtherWise Foundation in the board for the last 2,5 years and it inspires me to be an engaged student, inspiration that I aim to share in later stages in my life. I have witnessed OtherWise flourish every year, and therefore I am very proud to offer you this report and reflect on the past year. Also there is a lot to look forward to next year, as OtherWise will celebrate its 20 years lustrum in March 2020. I hope that OtherWise Foundation will continue with this enthusiasm in organising events and creating spaces for debate, connection and action for many years! ~ Inez Dekker Chairperson of OtherWise foundation
Chapter 1 Organisation 1.1 The program of 2018-2019
OtherWise organised many activities in the academic year of 2018-2019, summing up to 34 organised activities, including a capita selecta on Non-Violent Resistance, a training on Participatory Research Methods and the iWEEK summer school. Also we were present at different markets, namely the (winter) AID market, the sustainability market and the Veste board market. This year, our events included movie nights, lectures and panel discussions. Besides these more general formats, we also organised more interactive events such as trainings, inner sustainability workshops, and a poetry evening. We organised many hands-on activities as we deem experiential learning important and believe it to oftentimes be a much more effective way to stimulate critical thinking and integrate new perspectives. The program overview of the past year will be discussed below. Detailed reviews of the activities can be found in chapter 2. The 2018/2019 year plan contained 4 main themes: Non-Violent Resistance, The Commons, Inner Sustainability and Diversity, Gender and Inclusivity. The iWEEK was a part of the Inner Sustainability theme. We are very proud to have executed the year plan exactly in the way it was developed in the summer of 2018, and even organised more activities besides those that were in the planning.
Non-Violent Resistance The 3 ECTS capita selecta on Non-Violent resistance was very well received. It took place from the end of September to the end of November. In this course students learned about non-violent ways in which people take matters into their own hands and actively embody or promote creative alternatives to the status quo. Also students were encouraged to create their own nonviolent action, and five students did take up this challenge. The course was aimed at 3rd year BSc and MSc students and was composed of seven evening sessions. The capita selecta was a collaboration between OtherWise Foundation, War Requiem Foundation (Bridge to the Future Conference) and the WUR departments of applied philosophy (PHI) and disaster studies (SDC), which was established in the previous academic year when we organised our first Capita Selecta themed “Moral Compass”. Mali Boomkens (coordinator) was the main organiser of the course. Next year we will organise a capita selecta about ‘Resistance, Power and Movements’ together with trainers from Build Your Movement and WUR teachers from the SDC department.
The OtherWise team March 2018
Top From left to right: Louise van der Stok (Board) - Inez Dekker (Chair) - Vaishali Joshi (Board member) Samira van der Loo (Coordinator) - Aryo Veldman (Board member) Bottom From left to right: Margherita Marinelli (Secretary) - Mali Boomkens (Coordinator) And missing on the photo but just as important to mention: - Lucie Sovovรก (RMP coordinator) - Hanna Spanier (treasurer) - Preethi Sreedharan (former secretary) - Lian Kaspers (coordinator iWEEK)
The Commons Three lectures were organised about commons, namely ‘The Commons’, ‘Food Commons’ and ‘Our common Land’. Commons are all resources, social structures, businesses and assets that are shared and held in common. In the commons series, we examined the benefits and pitfalls of commons, including the ‘tragedy of the commons’ and the design principles of Elinor Ostrom. The series attracted a relatively small group of students, that were very engaged in the topic. The lecture on ‘Our Common Land’ was very well received, as Henry Mentink inspired students by his vision of moving the economy from a scarcity- and fear-based economy to an economy that is based on trust and sharing. Samira van der Loo (coordinator) was the main organiser of the events on commons. Next year we will follow-up on the commons series by organising a series on ‘New Economy’.
Diversity, Gender and Inclusivity In the theme of Diversity, Gender and Inclusivity, OtherWise organised the movie screening of Wadjda around international women’s day, the excursion ‘Wageningen goes to Amsterdam Women’s March’, a workshop ‘Cultivating Diversity’ on visual storytelling and a poetry night on Diversity and Inclusivity in the One World Week. The movie screening of Wadjda and the excursion to the Women’s March were done in collaboration with Amnesty International. The events were very well received and sparked discussions about modern feminism. The poetry event was a great success as it was truly a bottom-up event, in which students shared their experience of diversity and inclusivity. The theme of Diversity, Gender and Inclusivity is a very important pillar within OtherWise, as it is about social justice and equal rights for all humans. Inez Dekker (chair) and Samira van der Loo (coordinator) were mainly involved in the organisation of events on this theme. Next year we will continue to organise events about Gender and Diversity.
Inner Sustainability Inner sustainability was the biggest theme of the year. We organised 8 workshops, three inner sustainability talks and the iWEEK summer school around this theme. In these events, the foundation was laid by the work of Joanna Macy (environmental activist, Buddhist and deep ecology scholar) who stimulates feeling the losses we experience in the environmental crisis and turning our grief into active hope. In the workshops, we actively engaged students to (re)connect with the natural environment and with each other. In the inner sustainability talks, we stimulated dialogue and gave space for students and teachers to share their experience of the climate crisis and how they cope with negative information about the state of our planet. Especially the talk with Matthijs Schouten was very inspirational for students. Lian Kaspers, Mali Boomkens and Louise van der Stok were the organisational team and used their expertise to guide students in finding their own resilience and strength in facing the climate crisis. Next year the inner sustainability workshops will continue, but less frequent.
Participatory and Visual Research: a Hands-on Training OtherWise also organised a 4-day training on Participatory and Visual Research as a part of the RMP program. Lucie Sovova (RMP coordinator) was the main organiser of the training. For more information see chapter 3 on RMP.
Other activities An activity that also should receive some special attention is the event on ‘Science and Subjectivity’ that was organised in May 2019. Examining science was not a main theme this year, but next year we will organise more events on knowledge, science and opening up space for students to reflect on what science is and how it shapes our reality. Furthermore, this year OtherWise was involved in the VoedselAnders Karavaan in late September 2018. The VoedselKaravaan reached many students in raising awareness about the value of local food and the related social aspects. The dialogue with Michiel Korthals ‘Goed Eten’ was very fruitful. The VoedselAnders movement is about the transition to a sustainable equitable food system. OtherWise will keep involved in activities of VoedselAnders. In January 2019, OtherWise organised a farmers market in collaboration with Boerengroep. It was a success in the sense that we made connections with local farmers and students got to know local farmers and producers as well. However, we think farmers markets are more in the domain of Boerengroep, who are active in bridging the gap between the science and practice of farming. Therefore we decided to stop organising farmers markets next year. In a broader sense, OtherWise will not focus on agricultural topics as much. Some activities are not mentioned here. For all activities, see chapter 2.
1.2 Organisation Vision The vision of OtherWise has now been stable for the past two years, and the identity of the organisation is strong, however remains complex. We focus on social and environmental justice. OtherWise celebrates diversity and we recognise the interconnectedness of social and environmental issues. A more elaborate description of our vision ans mission can be read in our yearplan for the academic year of 2019-2020.
Visibility and promotion We have become more known in the Wageningen community, especially because of our series on inner sustainability. We organised many events that were promoted well by putting up posters and flyering. Sometimes there were three OtherWise posters on poster boards in university buildings and student housing, which made OtherWise very visible. Also we invested in OtherWise T-shirts this year, to become more visible at our events. Furthermore collaborations with other organisations such as Amnesty International Student Group made us more visible, as we reached a different audience through their network. Next year, we decided that our website needs to be more clear and we are considering to start using Instagram for promotion purposes.
Community building Besides our regular activities, we organised volunteer drinks and open lunches. These were generally not so successful as very few people turned up. Therefore next year we will not put our efforts into organising getto-know-otherwise events as much, we will mainly talk to students at our events to attract new people to the organisation. Also we find that due to our increased visibility students now come to us and email us to see how they can contribute to OtherWise. This year, we did have the support of several volunteers (read more under chapter 1.3: Team).
Global guest program We decided this year to sharpen our focus by letting go of the global guest program. The main reason for this was the lack of financial resources to support Suzanne van der Meer and keep her motivated. Also, we feel that it is important to focus more on our main purpose of the organisation, that is to organise extra-curricular activities for students.
RENEW This year OtherWise has let go of RENEW, which was a part of OtherWise for the time that Jurre Zwart was a coordinator. RENEW focusses on ecosystem restoration and will continue as a separate student organisation.
1.3 Team The year of 2018/2019 started with a coordinator team consistent of Mali Boomkens, Samira van der Loo and Lucie Sovova (RMP). Samira and Mali collaborated in organising the major part of the activities. Lucie was responsible for Research Mediation Program, mainly focussing on the training on Alternative Research Methods. Mali Boomkens is urrently no longer working as a coordinator, and Lois Markusse is a new coordinator at OtherWise, starting from september 2019.
In september 2018 Kris Deveria left the board, and also Jurre Zwart left as a coordinator. They both continued to be active in RENEW. In september 2018 Preethi Sreedharan joined the board as a secretary. She left the board in april 2019 as she found a fulltime job. In February 2019 Aryo Feldman, Margherita Marinelli and Vaishali Joshi joined the board. Vaishali left the board in september 2019, but Aryo and Margherita remained board members. In July 2019 Anastacia Korner and Mieke van Opheusden joined the OtherWise board. Below is the current composition of the board and coordinators. We also would like to give a special thanks to our volunteers, who helped at several events: Arvyn Hagnini, Elena Pauic, Ioana Musat, Daniela Chavarria, Francisca Virtuoso, Tejal patil, Gloriya Marinova, Shoumeet Biswas, Jan Derksen, Trang Vu Ngoc. It is a great loss to us that Arvyn Hagnini is no longer among us.
OtherWise team September 2019 Top
From left to right: Lucie Sovova (RMP coordinator) - Aryo Feldman (Board), Samira van der Loo (Coordinator) - Lois Markusse (Coordinator) - Anastacia Korner (Board member) Bottom From left to right: Inez Dekker (Chair) - Margherita Marinelli (Secretary) And missing on the photo but just as important to mention: - Louise van der Stok (Board member) - Hanna Spanier (treasurer) - Mieke van Opheusden (Board member) - Lian Kaspers (coordinator iWEEK)
Chapter 2 Activities of 2018-2019
In this chapter you will find a complete overview of the activities that Otherwise Foundation has organized over the past year.
4.1 Activity overview See the next page for an overview of all activities. ISP is short for Inner Sustainability Practice. IST is short for Inner Sustainability Talk.
4.2 Activities of the past year Summer AID info market Date: August 22nd Location: Arboretum Participants: hundreds of first year students This year too OtherWise Foundation was present at the Summer AID information Market. This market has been and will remain an important moment for this organization and many others to present themselves to the new students that arrive in Wageningen at the beginning of the academic year. OtherWise Foundation distributed seedbags with bee friendly flowers to communicate to new students what OtherWise is all about: a healthy environment and the belief that everyone can take initiative in an inspiring way.
Regreening documentary screening: No word for worry Date: August 26nd Location: Building with the Clock Participants: 30 As a part of the Regreening, OtherWise Foundation organized a documentary screening that follows the story of Hook, one of the last sea nomads from the Mergui archipelago outside Myanmar and Thailand. The documentary was about the Moken tribe, that is under threat. The sea nomads have never held a national citizenship, they have no legal rights. In the modern economic order, the Moken are restrained from harvesting the tree needed to build a Kabang; a traditional boat. Their indigenous knowledge is slowly being lost. The documentary raised the question on how this peaceful tribe could stand up for their rights when their language has no words for „mine“, „take“ or „want“ – and not even a word for „worry“? After the documentary there was a lively discussion about the tension between the preservation of this cultural heritage and indigenous knowledge of the Moken versus nature conservation efforts that prevents the Moken to cut down trees for the boats that they live on.
Open lecture by dr. F. Kaulinkfreks: “Street Politics – A Method for Non-Violent Resistance?” Date: 25 september Location: BBLTHK Participants: 70 Partners: SDC and PHI chairgroups This open lecture was the celebrational launch of the Capita Selecta course on Methods for Non-Violent Resistance, to which we invited philosopher and anthropologist dr. Femke Kaulingfreks to speak about the politics and the non-violent acts of resistance, more specifically on her work on different forms of political involvement by revealing the role of ‘street politics’. Her freshening enthusiasm and sharp and intellectual points alongside a diverse audience in terms of age, gender and cultural background certainly enhanced a lively and stirring discussion at the end. We are happy to have collaborated with the public library in letting them host this lecture. Not only did it allow for such a rich diversity in guests, but also communication and collaboration went very smooth. A good reason to keep them on our list for future events. Before the start of the lecture, we got together with the Capita Selecta class, at that moment still a group of 18 students, to do some introduction games and to present the whole program of the course. It felt good to break the ice and start working on group-building.
Capita Selecta “Methods for Non-Violent Resistance” (CPT-92403) Date: 25 September – 7 December Location: mostly in Leeuwenborch, and once in Clock Building and the Public Library Participants: 18 at the start, 12 in the end who have received credits Partners: SDC and PHI chair groups This year we organised a Capita Selecta again, with a link to the Bridge to the Future Conference in Arnhem on 21 September 2018, that was themed “Non Violent Resistance”. We felt an even stronger connection to that year’s theme and decided again to work closely with Gemma van der Haar (SDC) and Leon Pijnenburg (PHI) to develop this course. We had agreed on leaving most of the space for the content and responsibility in coordination of the course to OtherWise, based on the evaluation of the Capita Selecta “Moral Compass” which we organised in 2017. Coordinator Mali and chairperson Inez worked closely together from early spring 2018 to design and prepare the course. The end result was a course consisting of 8 sessions (including the optional conference visit in September): -
One open lecture by dr. Femke Kaulingfreks in the public library of Wageningen One theoretical lecture by Gemma and Leon at campus Three interactive sessions on methodologies o “The Work that Reconnects” facilitated by Lian Kasper o “Theater of the Oppressed” facilitated by Susanne Prak o Interactive case study lecture on Rural Resistance in Colombia by Julian Cortes (PhD) and an introduction to “Dragon Dreaming” by Elske Hageraats Creative action plan design session facilitated by project management coach Hanna Buschke including a Skype interview with Mazen Abou Hamdan, civil rights activist and spokesperson of the ‘Academic University of Non-violence and Human Rights in the Arab World’ (AUNOHR), whom we had met at the Conference in Arnhem. Presentation of group work action projects and hand-in of personal reflection papers.
All in all, we received very positive feedback from the students. Someone even remarked it was “the best and most exciting course” she had ever followed at university. Throughout the course we tried to keep energy levels high with various energisers and to enhance the students’ inspiration and motivation with all kinds of creative ways to reflect, discuss, share and collaborate with each other. This freedom for us was very valuable and has allowed us to keep alive our interactive and creative OtherWise spirit.
VoedselAnders Food Caravan lunch lecture Date: September 26th Location: Leeuwenborch Participants: 25 Partners: Stichting Boerengroep On Wednesday the 26th of September, Boerengroep and OtherWise facilitated a discussion with Klarien Klingen from ToekomstBoeren (FutureFarmers) about Community Supported Agriculture. Klarien Klingen is a freelance-farmer who has hands-on experience with community supported agriculture. She gave us insight into the advantages and difficulties that one stumbles upon with CSA farming. We talked about how to connect consumers and producers, about risk-sharing in farming, how to acquire land for farming and how to value the work farmers do, for example, to value the amount of work that goes into harvesting. Among the participants there were quite some students who (want to) do farming themselves that hereby got the opportunity to learn from the experiences of Klarien Klingen.
VoedselAnders Food Caravan dinner, movie and lecture Date: September 28th Location: Vreemde Streken, BBLTHK Participants: 40 Partners: VoedselAnders, Stichting Boerengroep, Slowfood Rijnzoet On Friday the 28th of September, the Food Caravan (VoedselKaravaan) came to Wageningen. The evening started with an organic dinner at the Vreemde Streken and a SP movie screening of ‘We are harvesting happiness’ by Jildou Friso. In the movie six farmers, including Klarien Klingen, told about their experiences with CSA farming. The same evening, there was a lecture by Michiel Korthals, WUR emeritus professor in Applied Philosophy. “Food skills are more important than health skills” was the statement he started his lecture with. He argued that eating is a social activity and organising a good meal is more than just eating healthy. Furthermore, we discussed the influence of intensive and ecological agriculture on ecology and how monocultures also cause very limited numbers of species to survive. Eating diversely and growing diverse types of crops can also diversify the ecological system. The audience interacted with the statements of Michiel Korthals by voting and we also had diverse inputs from the attendees.
False Positives Date: 5 October Location: Vreemde Streken Participants: 50 Partners: OtherWays (Julian Cortes), SDC Chairgroup This event was part of the OtherWays program. See the description under Chapter 5.
Seriously Sustainable Market Date: October 8th Location: De Spot, Orion Participants: 50 Partners: Green Office OtherWise joined the market of green organizations hosted by the Green Office as part of the Seriously Sustainable Week. Lucie, Louise and Inez presented OtherWise at the market stand. The event was a nice follow up on the AID market at the beginning of the year. Our stand was visited by people who already knew the organization and wanted to get more involved, e.g. as volunteers, board members and interns.
Alternative thesis market Date: October 9th Location: Orion Participants: 200 Partners: Green Office, Boerengroep, partner organizations The alternative thesis market was organised as a part of the RMP program. More information can be read in Chapter 3.
Inner Sustainability Series #1 Documentary screening “The Work That Reconnects” Date: November 6 Location: Clock Building Participants: 15 Coordinator Mali Boomkens, board member Louise van der Stok and iWEEK coordinator Lian Kasper teamed up again after the successful iWEEK in the summer of 2018. This documentary evening was our kick-off for the Inner Sustainability Practice Series that would run once a month on a Saturday morning, with the first workshop taking place on November 10. We watched the documentary "The work that reconnects" about Joanna Macy - a deep ecologist, Buddhist scholar, activist and founder of the Work that Reconnects. After watching the documentary we started a brief explorative sharing session on the topic of connection and what it means to us. The intention behind this series was to create a space for a practice group of both students and non-students in Wageningen, who would be interested to actively get together to experience various methods and practices related to inner sustainability. For the organising team this series would meanwhile be an opportunity to practice their facilitation skills and try out new exercises and practices that could potentially be used for the iWEEK in 2019.
Inner Sustainability Series #2 Deep Time Walk Date: November 10 Location: Outdoors Participants: 8 During our first inner sustainability practice workshop, Lian Kasper took a group of about 8 participants on a Deep Time Journey – a practice developed by Joanna Macy. We walked through the forest and river-lands of Wageningen in which every step represented a million years of the development of our planet and all life on it. By connecting to these deep-time memories, the participants could find a sense of belonging to the earth and kinship to the animals, plants and minerals that went far beyond their limited sense of individual human identity, and which allowed them to find the passion and courage to speak up for all living things. We had a lively and passionate discussion at the end of the walk. Some people who joined this first session have revisited various workshops that followed after.
Farmers Fair Date: January 15th Location: Forum Participants: 60 Partners: Stichting Boerengroep Local farmers came to the Wageningen campus to talk about farming and to sell their produce. OtherWise and Boerengroep organised this event to make connections between the WUR and local farmers and entrepreneurs. We saw many enthusiastic students visiting the farmersâ€™ stands and farmers excitedly telling about their ways of producing. The stand-holders included: Ommuurde tuin, Rijnroosters, WEP & Tuinderij de Stroom, Agrarische Natuurvereniging het Binnenveld, Eurijn, Pluktuin de Bosrand and Otto Vloedgraven Fruit. The students could also share their Green New Year Resolutions at our Knowledge Fair stand. We saw many nice resolutions, including eating more locally grown foods and pursuing more sustainable practices at the WUR.
Veste Board Market Date: January 16th Location: Forum Participants: 15 Partners: Veste OtherWise took part in the Veste Board Market. Unfortunately there was a power cut in the morning and most students went home. Therefore only few people visited the board market.
Inner Sustainability Series #3 Social Presencing Theater Date: January 19 Location: Clock building Participants: 14 We had to skip the planned inner sustainability practice workshop in December due to sickness in the team. In the new year we dived into the practice of Social Presencing Theater (SPT), with Mali as main facilitator, supported by Louise and Lian. The session started with a little theoretical background of SPT, as connected to Theory U. Soon after we moved into experiencing the different SPT exercises. The group was just big enough to allow for the intended learning experience, 20 would have been perfect. It was quite an intuitive process in which we explored deeper levels of knowledge about and connection to our societal system. Not easy when you are not so used to step out of your thoughts and busy mind, and into the body from where they had to try and follow it without judgment. A beautiful and unique story was created in the space. Experiences from the participants were harvested in a reflection moment at the end with two questions, which they had to briefly answer on post-its that we laid out as a collage for everyone to read. All in all, the positive feedback from the group as well as our own feeling about this session led to the decision to include these exercises in the iWEEK of 2019.
The Commons lecture Date: January 22nd Location: THUIS Wageningen Participants: 15 This evening, two speakers from the University of Utrecht shared with us their vision on what commons are and how we can prevent Tragedies of the Commons to occur. Frank van Laerhoven started the evening with a game that illustrated how easily a Tragedy of the Common occurs. Frank then proceeded to explain how commons can be governed and how the design principles of Elinor Ostrom can contribute to sustainable resource management of common-shared resources. The tendency for individuals is to under-invest in making irrigation systems, nature conservation areas or other common shared resources. The other tendency is that individuals over-extract resources (fish, timber, etc.). An institution is needed to govern the commons in such a way that individuals get the incentive to invest more in the commons and extract produce in a fair way. Institutions can include state-governance, personal ethics or (power) relationships between the users of the commons. The second speaker of the evening, Yara Al Salman, gave us a perspective on commons from a political philosophy perspective. She illustrated how difficult it can be to set up rules to govern commons. There is an issue of assigning who gets a right to have a say in governing a commons. Commons, such as forests and seas, are characterised by having a high accessibility, but who determines who is allowed access to extract timber from a forest? We had a discussion about whether commons can provide a solution to provide sustenance for people where the market or the state is unable to provide this. Having common pool resources is a different way of creating an economy for people. Is this something that we will see more of in the future?
Participatory and Visual Research: Hands-on Training Date: February 11-14 Location: Building with the Clock Participants: 22 This 4-day training is organised as a part of the RMP program. More information can be read in chapter 4.
Winter AID info Market Date: February 15th Location: Orion Participants: 50 OtherWise was present at the winter AID information Market, the â€˜lazy loungeâ€™. During this market we talked to new students and we explained what OtherWise does for Wageningen students. We illustrated what we do by mentioning previous and upcoming activities. Also we put out vacancies for volunteering at OtherWise.
Inner Sustainability Series #4 Nature Connection Workshop during GAN Regreening Date: February 23 Location: Outdoors Participants: 25 During the Winter Regreening of the Green Active Network (GAN), OtherWise hosted a sensory forest walk workshop in the forest nearby Ecovillage Ppauw, which was the main location of the Regreening. With a group of 25 students we went into the forest and explored our different senses, hearing, tasting, seeing, smelling all that was around. The group got very excited about the exercises we did and were all ear when we explained some more about our monthly inner sustainability practice and the upcoming iWEEK summer school for deeper nature connectione explorations. Some participants in this workshop eventually also signed up for the iWEEK.
OtherWise Lunch: Making Banners for the Amsterdam Womenâ€™s March Date: March 6 Location: Leeuwenborch Canteen Participants: 25 On the 6th of March, we organised a lunch and banner-making session at the Leeuwenborch canteen, in preparation of the excursion to the Amsterdam Womenâ€™s March on Saturday the 9th of March. The banner-making activity attracted attention and made OtherWise very visible. People who passed by were invited to make banners and a casual dialogue about gender emerged while people were being creative.
Wadjda Movie Screening Date: March 6 Location: GAIA I Participants: 60 Partners: Amnesty International Student Group Wageningen On Wednesday the 6th of March, many students joined this International Women’s day inspired movie screening at Gaia, which we organised in cooperation with Amnesty International. Esha Shah introduced the evening, talking about women’s rights and the several waves of feminism that brought us the rights for women in Europe. But maybe we should not take women’s rights for granted, since the rise of populist right-wing movements in Europe may threaten these rights. The Wadjda movie was bittersweet, showcasing how women and men are treated differently in Saudi-Arabia on one side and the cleverness and heart-warming determination of Wadjda on the other side. In the movie, Wadjda managed, with her witty confidence to finally ride a bike, being a girl in Saudi-Arabia. Even though riding bikes is not allowed for girls in Saudi-Arabia.
Wageningen goes to Amsterdam Women’s March (Excursion) Date: March 9 Location: Amsterdam Participants: 30 Partners: Amnesty International Student Group Wageningen On Saturday the 9th of March, OtherWise and Amnesty International went to the Amsterdam Women's March. In total we were with 30 people from Wageningen, letting our voices be heard on the Amsterdam streets. At the museum square - the endpoint of the March - we listened to several speakers. Topics that speakers covered were intersectionality, sexism, sexual violence and racism.
Food Commons Date: March 12 Location: Thuis Wageningen Participants: 15 Wageningen Foodsharing and Oona Morrow discussed the idea of common food pools at Thuis on the 12th of March. With an intimate group, we shared perspectives on foodsharing, urban food culture and how food security can be maintained in shared fridges. Oona Morrow talked about how our food system is actually based upon common-pool thinking. For example, food security and food provision are regulated on a national basis. Only the final food provision is market-regulated. Foodsharing Wageningen made us aware of food waste and how to preserve foods the best using a fun quiz. It was also really nice that they illustrated a practical example of food sharing, where Oona gave an academic perspective.
Inner Sustainability Series #5 “The Spiral” Date: March 23 Location: Clock building Participants: 14 On this Saturday morning, we dove deeper into 'the work that reconnects' by Buddhist Ecologist and activist Joanna Macy, by experiencing the spiral that is at the center of her work. We were with a group of 14 participants, mainly students, with whom we went through the spiral framework step by step using interactive exercises. The aim was to to experience the power of the four steps of gratitude, mourning our pain for the world, seeing with new eyes and going forth in the world with new energy and inspiration. The response from the participants at the end of the workshop was very positive and inspired. There are not many moments in our busy, daily (study) lives in which time and space is created to talk about topics like pain and gratitude. It was decided within the inner sustainability team that Joanna Macy’s spiral work should receive much clearer attention during the iWEEK summer school in which many elements inspired on her work were already integrated. Besides bringing this important work out to students and showing them how it could help them in their own struggles around connection with themselves and the world around them, this workshop also helped us in a way to practice explaining the most important aspects of her work in an easy to understand way.
Cultivating Diversity: Visual Storytelling Workshop Date: March 24 Location: Thuis Wageningen Participants: 8 Partners: Roots Guide project by Pocket Stories, Rehab Eldalil, Dr. Meghann Ormond (Cultural Geography, Wageningen University & Research), and Hamzah Kashash.by Pocket Stories, Rehab Eldalil, Dr. Meghann Ormond (Cultural Geography, Wageningen University & Research), and Hamzah Kashash. One-day workshop about how you can discover and celebrate the diversity that exists in Wageningen by bringing together Dutch university students (who are born/raised in the Netherlands) and newcomers living in Wageningen. Together we learned how to use practical tools and concepts like ‘visual storytelling’, ‘counter-mapping’ and ‘heritage from below’ to view Wageningen in a new light and connect to people from diverse backgrounds. The result was a beautiful and special meeting where the participants explored how visual and stories can work together to understand other ways of being in common.
Our Common Land Date: March 27 Location: Vreemde Streken Participants: 30 On March 27th the practice of creating commons was addressed. The governance of land as commons was explored, including complexities and creative solutions that arise. First a small-scale local initiatives was addressed: Martin Woestenburg from the Heideboerderij Foundation talked about his work towards creating common used heath farms and pastures. He discussed the ins-and outs of this new type of farming with the audience. Second, Henry Mentink (Ecovillage Network NL) talked about sharing the whole world as a common. What does this mean for our attitude towards the planet? He talked about an economy based on trust and love, envisioning a future in which we are more in harmony with ourselves and each other. Henry inspired the participants by his positivity and his ability to set big goals and thinking big, followed-up by taking one step at a time to get there.
Poetry Writing Workshop Date: April 1 Location: Thuis Wageningen Participants: 10 On the first of April, Samira van der Loo organised a poetry writing workshop at Thuis. The theme of the poetry workshop was diversity and inclusivity. Participants were stimulated to draw inspiration from images and associations, they practiced free flowing writing and also implemented the more instrumental ‘Show don’t Tell’ method. The workshop was organised as a prelude to the poetry evening on diversity and inclusivity at Impulse, as a part of the One World Week.
OtherWise Lunch: Make Your Own Newspaper Poem Date: 4 April Location: Leeuwenborch Canteen Participants: 0 This lunch session unfortunately did not attract anyone this time. We were there with all three coordinators, still having fun making our own newspaper poems, but also feeling the need to rethink this kind of sessions at campus in which we want to create visibility and a chance for students to talk with us.
Poetry Night on Diversity and Inclusivity - One World Week Date: April 5 Location: Impulse Participants: 40 Partners: One World Week Many of the young poets that were present at the poetry writing workshop also performed their poetry on the 5th of April at the Poetry Night on Diversity and Inclusivity at Impulse, during the One World Week. It was beautiful to see what emotions and thoughts a theme as inclusivity and diversity brings forth. Inclusivity can be about feeling home and having a sense of place. With this poetry evening, OtherWise provided a space for young poets from different cultural backgrounds to express themselves. In the break and at the end of the evening, a pianist played music, creating a cosy atmosphere in which the poems could really sink in.
Inner Sustainability Series #6 “Playing with the Forest” Date: April 13 Location: Forest in Wageningen Participants: 12 On this Saturday morning we went out into the forest at the edge of Wageningen. With a group of 12 participants, mainly student, we did various exercises through which they could experience nature connection. The workshop ended with a so-called ‘Deep Time’ exercise from Joanna Macy’s “Work that Reconnects”. The aim of this exercise is to practice extending our awareness to future generations and open our imagination of how the world could look like if we would deal differently - more consciously - with the earth. This exercise was not an easy one for everyone, as the more intuitive and imaginative layer is activated, which are often rather neglected when focusing on themes like these. The session ended quite dreamy and relaxed. It was a good decision that we combined this last, more quiet exercise with more active and sensory games in the first part of the workshop. A third of the participants who joined this workshop also decided to sign up for the iWEEK summer school.
Theatre as a rehearsal for Revolution - Augusto Boal Date: April 23 Location: Impulse Participants: 25 Partners: Stichting Inspringtheater In this lecture Suzanne Prak took the audience on a journey through the live of Augusto Boal and the legacy he created. Once created out revolutionary work with peasants in Brazil, his Theatre of the Oppressed method is now used all over the world for social and political activism, conflict resolution, community building, therapy and government legislation and address power issues. The participants enjoyed the lecture Suzanne Prak gave, as she is a keen storyteller and we learned much from her experience with forum theatre. The audience was also shaken up because there was also a short theatre play during the evening.
Inner sustainability Talks #1: Mental Health in Climate Science Date: April 25 Location: Impulse Participants: 80 On 25 April we organised our first Inner Sustainability Talk in Impulse, to tackle the issue of ‘mental health in climate science’. An evening that attracted a full house, with around 80 people in the audience, mixed with students and teachers. We had invited dr. Henk Eskes, working for KNMI with satellite observations, Prof. dr. Rik Leemans, working for the chairgroup of Environmental Systems Analysis (WUR), and Prof.dr. Michiel Wallis de Vries, chairgroup holder of Insect Ecology and Conservation (WUR). Under the guidance of Lian Kasper as moderator, who used the Work that Reconnects of Joanna Macy as an inspiration for the main questions of the dialogue, these three scientists were challenged and invited to get ‘it’ off their chest, to open some of those inner doors that are often neglected in the academic world. To open-heartedly share their struggles in their scientific career and personal life with questions like ‘Are you worried about the state of the world? How do you deal with data on deconstruction and loss in our natural world? How do you keep yourself energized and engaged?’. It seemed quite hard though for them to step out of their rational mind and to share on a more personal and emotional level. It was likewise difficult for the moderator to not pressure them too much into a direction that we actually wanted them to go into. However, we see it as a good start to have created this space and touch upon this ‘taboo’ topic for the first time with OtherWise. In the last half hour of the evening, the audience was also invited to step into the dialogue. There were unfortunately too many hands in the air for the little time we had to give them space to share their thoughts and experiences on this topic. It was a good lesson to be more cautious about this, for the audience to feel more included and heard, especially on such a topic that clearly touched everyone in the room, and that normally does not get enough attention in the scientific hallways. We look back at this first talk with a strong motivation to create more of such spaces for dialogue about topics like these.
Inner Sustainability Practice #7 'Inner Sustainability joins WUYLF!' Date: May 11 Location Hoge Born Farm Participants: 60 Partners: WUYLF On Saturday afternoon May 11, we joined the Wageningen University Youth for Landscapes Forum workshop day with our 7th monthly inner sustainability practice activity. We handed out our socalled Envelope of Hope that contained various small pieces of paper with inner sustainability related questions written onto them that would trigger dialogue amongst the students. Besides these questions we also included promotion about the iWEEK summer school. We stayed around until halfway of this day full of workshops, so that people could still approach us. From quite a few people we spoke to throughout that day, we heard that our questions had led to interesting discussions.
Inner sustainability Talks #2: What is sustainable education? Date: May 14 Location: Forum building Participants: 40 On May 14, we gathered for the second inner sustainability talk in Forum with a group of around 40 people, most of whom were students. We had invited Prof. dr. Arjen Wals and his colleague MSc. Luuk Huijgen, as well as spiritual ecology trainer and founder of BrightFutureLab Maaike Boumans. With these three experts in sustainable education, we explored the role of higher education in fostering a mindful transition towards a more relational and caring world through an interactive dialogue together with the audience, with Mali Boomkens and moderator of the evening. We had decided to add a symbolic item to the dialogue, namely a clown’s nose. We explained that everyone who felt the urge to speak from this archetype’s critical though humoristic and out-ofthe-box voice was free to put in onto their nose. The theme seemed to be very much alive amongst the students and the clown’s nose definitely helped to make the sometimes heavy topics feel less sensitive. Arjen Wals challenged the audience with his key message that mindful transitions require a transition of the mind and the capacity to disrupt normalized routines that make living unsustainable lives the default. Who would be willing to disrupt such routines? And what does higher education that seeks to transgress dominating destructive structures, systems and routines, look like? Questions that triggered everyone’s imagination. In the second part of the evening Maaike Boumans divided the audience into smaller groups and gave them a few explorative open questions to allow for personal stories on moments that one had ‘disrupted a normalized routine in higher education’. After this little sharing session everyone returned to the room with a moment to harvest some of those stories. It was very inspiring to hear how active and aware many students already are on what changes should be made and how one can contribute to that as an individual or by combining strengths. All in all, we touched upon several challenges and opportunities for the educational world to transform to a more sustainable system. This theme clearly deserves more time to research and reflect on more thoroughly. An invitation to us to continue working on this topic and organise similar events, in cooperation with professors in this field and trainers like Maaike Boumans in the future!
Celebrating Agroecology - Stephen Sherwood talk Date: May 15 Location: Vreemde Streken Participants: 50 Partners: Stichting Boerengroep On the 15th of May, OtherWise organised an evening dedicated to agroecology together with Boerengroep. They evening started with a shared local and organic dinner, provided by Vreemde Streken. After dinner, Stephen Sherwood talked about his experience with agroecology and starting a farm in Ecuador. The dialogue afterwards was also about the difference in the agroecological movement in Latin America and the Netherlands. Stephen discussed the social dynamics and political contributions of different individual actors and collective movements in Ecuador. For Stephen, the frontier of social change begins at the moment of daily practice in the family, neighborhood and social networks, so he emphasized the importance of nurturing that space as an essential means of enabling the viability of social movements, as well as government and the state. There was a lively dialogue at the end of the talk, with many questions from the audience.
Science and Subjectivity: A Panel Discussion Date: May 23 Location: Forum Participants: 15 OtherWise hosted a panel discussion with Esha Shah, Arjen Wals and Rik Leemans on the role of subjectivity in science. We tackled questions such as; How passionate can you be in your own research without having ‘personal bias’? Do personal motivations, intuitions and feelings have an influence on scientific research? Does having knowledge about something makes you responsible? We reflected upon the objectivity of the scientific method. Also rationality is considered to be something that is situated in the brain and feelings and intuition are typically more related to the body and heart. Therefore we looked at the question of what it means to be a scientist, is it possible to engage in your work as a whole(-hearted) human, or are you expected to use only your brain? Does the scientific method require this division between body and mind? The scientists present had different views on the topic, which allowed for a vivid discussion. They did agree that intuition and ‘gut feelings’ have a strong influence on scientific practices. Also Arjen Wals elaborated that there are different types of science. The view of merely rational science is outdated, as it is more and more acknowledged that subjectivity and objectivity are intertwined and personal influence on science is inevitable, as we are engaged with our whole being. This is also not a negative thing, he argued. Esha Shah argued that rational science is needed to mitigate between the self and the other, as a way of relating. Rik Leemans showed us an example of how presenting scientific data (the glowing embers) can change the perception of it. Green colours in graphs are often perceived as ‘ok’. While sometimes this is not the message that the scientist wants to convey.
Inner sustainability Talks #3: Our relation with nature...? Date: 28th of May Location: Forum Participants: 70 During our third and last inner sustainability talk, renowned nature philosopher, ecologist and Buddhist prof. Matthijs Schouten touched the audience deeply with his personal story and thorough knowledge about the theme of inner sustainability and our relationship with nature. His reference to our current ecological and social crisis as being rooted in a deep spiritual crisis resonated with many students. The audience seemed to have wished to have the time to ask him a thousand more questions. 26
Inner Sustainability guest Workshop with class of Prof dr. Arjen Wals & MSc. Luuk Huijgen Date: 29th of May Location: Forest in Wageningen Participants: 40 We had established a partnership with Prof. dr. Arjen Wals and MSc. Luuk Huijgen with the creation of a free choice course connected to the iWEEK summer school. They had already participated as guest speakers in one of our inner sustainability talks and invited us back to support as facilitators in a nature connection excursion for students who followed their course on transformative education for sustainability. The group of 40 students was split in two, with one part following our workshop in the morning slot and the other one after lunch. We took them out into the forest where we practiced in various ways around nature connection. This workshop was a rich mix of exercises that we had already tried out before in our inner sustainability practice workshops. It was a lot of fun to work with the students in ways that they would otherwise not so easily experience at university. The feedback we received was positive, both from students and teachers. A good chance that we will be able to integrate more of our work into courses like these in the future. For lunch we visited the neighbouring ecovillage Ppauw, where our coordinator Mali also lives. Together with another inhabitant they gave a small guided tour to the 40 students. All in all, a transformative and informative day out in the forest!
Inner Sustainability Series #8 “Spiritual Ecology" with Maaike Boumans Date: June 1 Location: Kleine Arboretum, Wageningen Participants: 16 This workshop was the eighth and last inner sustainability session of this academic year. We had therefore decided to make it a special one, by inviting Maaike Boumans, an experienced trainer in spiritual ecology who is doing very similar work as our inner sustainability team in the west of the country. Maaike gave a thorough and clear introduction about deep ecology, leaving a lot of space for questions from the group, leading into some discussion and refinement of certain concepts that are often coined but not always used in the right way. In the second part of her workshop Maaike grouped us into pairs and guided us through four deep and explorative questions that we had to each answer to our partner who would listen in silence. It is remarkable to experience every time again in such exercises that we similarly did in such workshops, how deep one can go into a certain topic close to the heart in such a short time span. It was a good practice for everyone to listen without judgment and vice versa to experience how it feels like to be fully heard. We ended the workshop by standing in a circle and share our experiences of that morning in ‘pop-corn’ style. Everyone seemed to feel very connected and open, and happy to have spent their Saturday morning in such a way.
Food Self-sufficiency in a community - Documentary Screening Date: June 5 Location: GAIA I Participants: 30 Laci Bartha was an intern at OtherWise and for his internship he made a documentary about his thesis project. This day, we screened the documentary. More information can be found in chapter 5 ‘OtherWays’.
Film Night “Donna Haraway: Story Telling for Earthly Survival” Date: June 17 Location: Vreemde Streken Participants: 30 Movie screening and dialogue afterwards led by prof. dr. Chizu Sato (WUR) and OtherWise board member Inez Dekker. The film features feminist thinker and historian of science Donna Haraway in a playful and engaging exploration of her life, influences, and ideas. In the movie and dialogue the well-established "common sense" categories among humans, animals, and machines have been being questioned and discussed.
Chapter 3 Chapter 6 iWEEK Summer School
The iWEEK is an experimental playground for innovation, interaction and intuition. During this week, students and recent graduates are introduced to various alternative theories and practices which can shape new ways of relating to ourselves and the world around us.
This yearâ€™s iWEEK summer school was in many ways a real success again. The same team as the 2018 edition - Lian Kasper, Louise van der Stok and Mali Boomkens - organised this summer school, with logistical support from Samira van der Loo. Twenty-two people joined, amongst whom nineteen students and three non-students, with diverse nationalities (NL, Germany, Austria, Italy, US, Indonesia, India, South-Korea) and age ranging from 20 - 35 years old. It was possible for students to receive 3 ECTS for the iWEEK, by handing in a reflection paper in addition to active participation. This free choice course (Tutoring and Learning in Higher Education, ELS 56303) was developed in cooperation with Prof. dr. Arjen Wals and MSc Luuk Huijgen. The character and content of the summer school were quite similar to the iWEEK in 2018, with several adjustments and improvements made in the structure, based on lessons learned and valuable feedback from participants of last year. The summer school was meant for students
predominantly rational and individualistic (university) life with a more embodied, empathic and communal way of knowing and being. The iWEEK was designed to help them explore their potential role in these transformative times towards an emerging culture of social and ecological consciousness. During this week students were exposed to tools and exercises from various old and new nature-based
professional trainers were invited to guide the group in workshops, amongst whom non-violent communication trainer Thekla van Lingen who had to cancel due to sickness. Lian and Mali could luckily take over this workshop as they had thorough knowledge and experience in this methodology too. The red thread between the different workshops was more clearly introduced to the participants in comparison to last year, to help them better follow this journey. More moments of rest, alone time and hands-on work in the gardens of Ppauw were also integrated in the week, to allow more time for reflection and mental rest. And prolonging the training with one full day, also gave more breathing space and quality to some workshops for which we had much little time last year. We did less circle sharings with the whole group and instead choose other, more one-to-one or smaller group sharing moments depending on the character of the workshop, to be more inclusive to the ones who feel less comfortable with sharing in such a big group. Throughout the week, as well as via the evaluation session at the end of the training, we learned from the participants how meaningful this training had been to their personal development and their connection to nature. They all left with a strong feeling of connection and openness towards themselves and each other. Two participants have shared their experience with us in the following words:
iWeek 2019: Wild Wisdom - A Journey in (re)connection “The iWEEK for me was one of those rare life-experiences that suddenly and semi-unexpectedly make you understand yourself and your life a bit better. It touched me on so many different layers that it is difficult to find words for the experience. It helped me to overcome the heavy-headed rational calculating mindset and acknowledge the value and intelligence behind feelings, emotions, intuition and wisdom that rest in all of us. If you are a curious person and open for understanding, take this journey!” - Johannes (Germany)
"The experience of iWEEK was invaluable. Not only did I recognize my long lost love for nature, but I could also reconnect with my own self. The mentors, my fellow iWeek participants and the Ecovillage Ppauw in itself, gave me a new outlook on life, people and the world, and helped me shape my vision towards a more environmentally and socially sustainable future. There is surely a lot of wisdom in the wild that we, as rational, urban inhabitants of this world are yet to discover and unfold, and the iWEEK was an ideal opportunity to do so. I gained a lot more than I thought I would from the whole experience, which is difficult to put in words." - Ayesha (India)”
iWeek 2019: Wild Wisdom - A Journey in (re)connection As it was the second time that the iWEEK team organised this summer school and also thanks to the logistical support from Samira, the preparation phase went much smoother and - more importantly - the iWEEK team could fully focus on facilitation and being present for the participants whenever needed. It had definitely been a good decision too to organise the inner sustainability practice sessions on Saturday mornings once a month in enhancing the iWEEK teamâ€™s confidence and experience in facilitation. All in all, many lessons were learnt, in terms of logistics, communication, funding and facilitation. And we have planted some strong and vibrant seeds in the 22 young people that can grow and support them in their future endeavors. Next yearâ€™s edition might have a different theme, but a similar character as the past two editions, as a full week of living in community and close to nature is clearly a powerful concept!
Lupine from Ekoboerderij de Lingehof 32
Chapter 4 Research Mediation Program
During the year 2018/2019, the Research Mediation Program (RMP) went through a reinvention. Building on the core mission of OtherWise to (1) democratize knowledge and (2) provide critical perspectives on research and education, the scope of the program was broadened and the RMP became more integrated with other activities of the organization. Research Mediation The RMP was established as a brokering platform which connects students of Wageningen University, who are looking for a thesis or internship opportunity, with grassroots organizations worldwide, which can benefit from research but cannot access it commercially. In summer and fall 2018, the new RMP coordinator reviewed past contacts with grassroots organizations and developed criteria for new cooperations. We were able to renew some of the previous contacts and establish a couple of new ones. Furthermore, several internship and thesis opportunities were advertised ad hoc. Throughout the year, we offered vacancies of Saba Conservation Foundation and PADet (Professional Alliance for Development, Ethiopia). We promoted thesis and internship projects by the Droevendaal Food Forest and the Science Shop. We developed contacts with the Roots Guide Project and De Kleine Wereld. After one year of the renewed functioning of the research mediation, we conclude that we wish to hold the space for facilitating links between the university and the civil sector. However, we also become aware of the challenges of this pursuit and adjusted our ambition. On the side of the civil sector, it seems difficult to motivate organizations to accept students. This year has shown that while many potential partners are excited by the idea of research mediation, they often lack the capacities to formulate possible projects, not to mention the time and work required to supervise students. Furthermore, the results of these efforts are always uncertain: the diversity of study programs, backgrounds and interests on the side of the university is so large that it is difficult to find the right match. Although we promoted our vacancies via study advisors and study associations of relevant programs (apart from our own website, facebook and newsletter), we had little success in recruiting interested students. Our consultations with the WUR Science shop revealed that students have multiple channels through which they find thesis and internship opportunities, and this fragmentation lowers the chances of smaller actors such as OtherWise. In sum, in the future we aim to keep the research mediation open, but we do not aspire at upscaling it. Instead of â€œcompetingâ€? with other organizations offering thesis and internship vacancies, we will complement them and create synergies. In addition, the scope of the RMP will be broadened, as detailed further. Alternative Thesis Fair In October 2018, the second edition of the Alternative Thesis Fair was organized by OtherWise, Boerengroep and Green Office. We invited organizations who work on sustainability issues to come and offer potential thesis or internship vacancies to Wageningen students. The event was successful, with a total of 18 organizations presenting their activities and possibilities for collaboration. The area in Orion filled up with about 200 students, creating a lively atmosphere and sparking many conversations. The event also served to establish new connections for the Research Mediation Program of OtherWise.
Furthermore, we made contact with a volunteer that later assisted in organising the Participatory and Visual Research training. Together with Boerengroep and Green Office, we intent to keep the tradition of alternative thesis fairs in the future, as it seems to be a great opportunity to invite practitioners from the civil sector to campus, which is highly appreciated by the students. Participatory and Visual Research: A Hands-on Training In the process of reinventing the RMP, we decided to dedicate more attention to critical perspectives on research and education and to support alternative ways of learning about and doing research. The idea was inspired by a perceived gap in the university curricula which seem to dedicate only limited time to non-mainstream research methods. Furthermore, there is little space for students to experiment and translate their theoretical knowledge into practice in a safe learning environment. This vision materialized in a four day course on participatory and visual research methodologies that we organized in February 2019. We opened a discussion on the roles and relations of people involved in a research situation, raising questions such as: Who decides which questions are worthy of research? Can the researcher remain truly neutral, and should they? Who benefits from the research results? What do we give research participants in return? Our ambition was to connect these theoretical, philosophy-of-science discussions to practical applications, exploring concrete participatory and visual methods and their potential for research as well as other settings. The link between theory and practice with a particular emphasis on hands-on experiential learning reflected in the course design. The four day event followed the approach of Theory U, moving from observation and reflection to action. Each day started with theoretical input, followed by â€œstories from the fieldâ€? â€“ a format in which we asked speakers to share the story on their research project from a methodological perspective, reflecting on choices they made as well as research design practicalities. Afternoons were dedicated to practicals, and we closed each day with a research design workshop. The entire course was facilitated in an informal way, using alternative teaching methods which created an open and safe atmosphere. The sessions were interactive and students were also involved in practical tasks, making the course itself a participatory experience.
The first edition of the training was organized by the RMP coordinator Lucie Sovová, who was joined by Louise van der Stok (OtherWise board member) during promotion, final preparation and facilitation during the event. The contribution of volunteers Daniela Chavarria, Coen van der Steen and Elena Paiuc was priceless during preparations as well as the facilitation during the course. The food team, managed by Louise van der Stok and joined also by OtherWise coordinators Mali Boomkens and Samira van der Loo, contributed to a cozy atmosphere of the course. The course attracted 22 highly motivated participants from diverse backgrounds who decided to spend their free time during the re-exam week with an extra educational activity. Their eagerness to learn was met with thought-provoking input from speakers of different schools of thought. The diversity of perspectives resulted in interesting discussions. One of the highlights of the course was a field work practical in which students got to experience the role of a researcher, while engaging with local initiatives and relevant causes: one group of students co-created a participatory video with a Wageningen women’s group, one group used participatory mapping to support an emerging agroforestry project, and one group experimented with the photovoice method to explore sustainable practices on campus. With that, the students not only practiced research methods, but they also fostered the connection between the WUR and broader Wageningen community, and reflected on the role of research in society. We consider this course as very successful and we hope to make it one of the regular activities of OtherWise, possibly focusing on a different “family” of research methods in the next editions.
Chapter 5 OtherWays program 2.1 What is OtherWays?
The OtherWays program is developed to give students the opportunity to organize events that deal with topics of their own interests. OtherWays invites students do work together with Otherwise to organize activities around social and environmental justice agendas. Last year the otherways program has been a less prominent port of the focus of the organization, partially because many other events drew the focus away. Otherwise Foundation will continue to offer the Otherways program as a way to help students to organize events around critical debate. Two events were organised in the otherways program: the event on False Positives innitiated by Julian Cortes and the documentary screening by our intern Laci Bartha.
False Positives OtherWise helped to raise awareness about state violence in Colombia by hosting a lecture on the 5th of October in Vreemde Streken. Julian Cortes (WUR PhD student) took the initiative to organise this event and invite the speakers, hereby taking part in the OtherWays program. The evening was about â€˜false positivesâ€™. This is the name for the extrajudicial executions that took place in Colombia between 2002 and 2010. The military executed innocent civilians and listed them as guerrillas killed in battle, and by that gained promotions or other benefits. Omar Rojas spoke this evening to talk about his book in which he shows that the killings were not 4.500 cases as reported, but in reality 10.000 cases. Julian Cortes, WUR PhD student at the Rural Social department, talked about reincorporation of ex-combatants of the FARC. Itayosara Rojas, MSc student in rural development at Ghent University, presented a brief account of the recent killings of social leaders in Colombia. One of the social leaders, Daniel Franco Henao, spoke as a survivor of a bombing that was done to take his life. He explained the difficulties of him getting asylum in the Netherlands, since Colombia is still listed as a safe country. The moderator of the evening was Gerard Verschoor, assistant professor at the SDC department. Many Wageningen students and people of the wider Wageningen community joined to become informed and to show solidarity to the Colombian people.
Ecovillage documentary Laci Bartha made a beautiful documentary about his thesis research, titled: 'Food self-sufficiency in a community: Dream or Reality?'. On the 5th of June OtherWise screened the documentary as a part of the OtherWays program. The documentary was received well and Laci answered many interested questions after the screening. The documentary is shot at an ecovillage just across the border in Germany, called the Vlierhof. The residents of the ecovillage are aiming for food self-sufficiency, and the documentary showed the struggles of the resisents in creating consensus about the garden and moving forward. With this documentary, he showed the social dynamics that take place in intentional communities, and confronted the audience with a realistic perspective on the difficulties of living in a community. In the documentary Laci is applying a model to optimise results for the garden, which was the model he used in his thesis. It is interesting to see how the academic knowledge is received, either with scepticism or optimisim. The documentary that Laci made is a good example of using alternative research methods (visual) for an internship. The visual data gives indepth knowledge and also more sense of the experience of the community living and their challenge in creating food self-sufficiency. OtherWise agreed to share the documentary as a creative commons, and it can be found on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkb3v9BOY4M
"I did my internship about Visual Research Methods at OtherWise in the academic year 2018-2019. The focus of the project was to explore the social dynamics within an intentional community and follow an internal decision-making process using video recordings as the main data collection method. I interviewed several community members and was allowed to observe some of their meetings too. From the recorded material I created a short documentary which presents the interaction between me - the researcher and the community and the findings of the research. During this internship I learned a lot about visual research methods and I gained professional skills in script writing, interviewing, filming, editing, presenting and organizing events. OtherWise allowed me to create my own internship and helped and supported me in executing it. I would encourage anyone who is interested in creating an internship from their own idea(s) to turn to OtherWise." Laci Bartha, 2019 39
Chapter 6 Finances
This year our revenue was €55.038,10. We have spent €55.032,09 and thus have a small surplus of €6,01. We would like to thank Wageningen University for their generous contribution to OtherWise. Besides this stable source of income, we received CAS subsidy and income from activities. In addition to the two Coordinators Mali Boomkens and Samira van der Loo and the RMP Coordinator Lucie Sovová, Lian Kasper has worked with us to help coordinate the iWeek. The salaries amount to €21153,26 for the Coordinators, €4625,17 for the RMP Coordinator and €5976,60 for the iWeek Coordinator. The tax and administration costs amount to €6946.-. We have spent less on RMP salary (+ taxes) than expected because Lucie Sovová took a break for some months. The promotion and community costs together makes €754,36. Among other things, this money has been spent on OtherWise T-shirts, banners, community dinners and office supplies. This year we received much more CAS subsidy than expected. CAS was able to cover many costs made in the Participatory and Visual Research Methods course and for the iWEEK. Also we applied for funds to cover for the iWEEK at Wageningen Inniatieven Funds and received funds through this. Because of this, there came space in the budget to make a lustrum reservation for next year, that amounts to €3500 euros. Besides the iWeek and the the Participatory and Visual Research Methods, most of the activity budget has been spent on the Capita Selecta Nonviolent Resistance, the commons and inner sustainability practices and talks.
Stichting OtherWise Generaal Foulkesweg 37 6703 BL Wageningen Tel: 0317 48 31 48 Email: OtherWise@wur.nl Website: www.otherwisewageningen.nl