invitation to circle and harvest
14:00 19 Nov. 2022
part of “Connective practices in community-integrated arts, nature- and tradition-based learning and care, across the divisions of Cyprus” developed for the Artistic Connective Practices Symposium, Fontys University Tilburg,
facilitated by Chrystalleni Loizidou and Hülya Dede
In the beginning there is flow. There is the “being in the rhythms of nature”, the “being in social connection”, with uninterrupted experimentation and creativity, the feeling of the elements and the seasons, the observing and the doing, the running and climbing and picking fruit and making shelter, and getting sand between your toes. There is the joy and gratitude of harvest. But then the care-work that reproduces the “being in the rhythms of nature” is imprisoned by top-down notions of education and productivity. These impositions dominate the doing and life, so they separate us from the flow and our rhythms. Being and doing are turned into work and people into things. Thus the world is crazy, and revolts are practices of rediscovering connection and rhythm.
Coming from different sides of an island divided by military and facing numerous kinds of separation and alienation, we find in the notion of Artistic Connective Practices a powerful tool. As practitioners of education through art, environmental education, traditional handicraft, and researchers of memory and ritual we look for ways to meaningfully come together –along with our families– no longer thinking in terms of “projects” or “workshops” but only looking towards life. Motivated by the call of the Symposium for Artistic Connective Practices, we resolve with new urgency to defy forces of division, forces now aggravated by the pandemic and new wars. We wish to share customs of mindful presence, belonging and connection, by evoking ancient traditions of harvest and its surrounding rituals, dances, storytelling practices, and their means of generating social cohesion.
The session is facilitated by Hülya, who comes from a background of Steiner pedagogy that sees education as an Art and places great value in soulful learning experiences, and Chrystalleni from a background in participatory arts curation and research in conflict transformation and the commons. Along with a Cyprus-based cooperative of families undergoing different kinds of transition, we practice mindfulness and care that does not separate work from life or adults from children, and we work towards harmonious flow and productivity.
Our contribution to the Symposium is additionally made up of an installation and a digital Connective Practices Toolkit for community flow between families in transition.
Chrystalleni Loizidou, PhD – Eimaste Parents Cooperative
I sought meaning in academic research about conflict transformation in relation to art and media history, and efforts for recovering the commons. I worked and taught at universities and art-centers and developed and coordinated international programs with increasing focus on education through art, and free/libre source technology. When my son came in 2018 he reactivated my connection with a circle of heart-giving art educators and helped me see what the situationists’ meant with their rejection of alienated labour. Since then I have been using all my tools and abilities to surround my son and myself with a sense of community and abundance that doesn’t require what Silvia Federici described as “parking our children while we go to work”. My son and I have been learning from the bravest and most meaningful art- and eco-educational initiatives that we’ve been able to find around the world, and we’ve been holding space and rhythm for free-play with wonderful people around our island. I have come to see meaningful learning as a humble process of connecting with our nature and re-enchanting our world, through delight, wonder, and hands-on care for our surroundings. When I find myself in the role of educator/artist/facilitator, I cherish opportunities to do as little as possible, to become a subtle catalyst and provide others what Eve Annecke describes as ‘radical accompaniment’ towards a state of being that explores, shares, connects, and soul-seeks towards freedom. After setting up a pioneer Waldorf School in Nicosia, an initiative too-easily halted by the pandemic, I’ve been choosing to work more towards life and meaningful community, and less towards setting up institutions or organisations. I’ve been coordinating a local parents cooperative and training in Steiner Pedagogy and Forest School.
Hülya Dede – Art of Education Association/Eğitim Sanatı Derneği
Living in Austria and spending a lot of time on a biodynamic farm inspired me to explore Waldorf Schools. I started working in a Waldorf School as an English Teacher and doing Waldorf Education Masters as a Class Teacher at the same time. After coming to Cyprus and becoming a teacher, I organized activities for families with children and for children and seminars for adults to do handcrafts and develop a deeper understanding of the world and human being. The rich arts, crafts, singing, stories or fairy tales and art of movement strengthen the will and capacity of human beings to think and actively shape their lives and to be more grounded in themselves. Starting a school initiative and leading children through an education that actually educates their whole being, seeing them flourish and develop as whole human beings, affirmed for me our need to be educated at every level of our existence. We need different capacities to carry us into the future and this can only be achieved through cooperative community work and with lots of work in nature as well as artistic activities altogether.