From May 31-June 2, 2012 Educational Circle of Change (EdCoC) network members, Manauvaskar Kublall and Jayeesha Dutta, participated in the annual Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed (PTO) Conference in Berkeley, California. They presented a shortened Collective Visioning workshop at the conference around “Visioning the Future of Education.” The goal of the workshop was to demonstrate how Spirit in Action’s Collective Visioning methodology could be used in the education justice movement as a tool to create the type of education we want to see in this world. To find out what innovations emerged and insights surfaced for Manauvaskar and Jayeesha, read more below.
As we thought about presenting at the conference, we reflected on our past Collective Visioning experiences. We felt confident in our ability to create a space that was inclusive and lead participants through an engaging process. We wanted to push ourselves to create something to fit this particular audience, many of whom are Theater of the Oppressed facilitators or “jokers.” We considered what we could do to further engage everyone in our workshop in a creative and participatory manner.
Because Jayeesha is experienced in Theater of the Oppressed (TO), she brought a deep skillset to our workshop design. She suggested some key building blocks from TO to incorporate. The central concept of TO is to express ideas through our bodies to transform ourselves and our world, using techniques like “image theater” also known as tableau. Since our workshop was focused on education, we asked everyone to embody in a movement and sound, our current education system and then what movement or sound would embody education in our ideal world. We concluded the opening with “The Machine,” where we joined all of our individual images into one machine, demonstrating our collective vision of the ideal educational system. The movements and sounds created by our participants shifted from one of anger, pain and silence to and ones of liberation, excitement, nature and collaboration. Another building block we incorporated was paying attention to how we supported co-creativity in the space. Neither of us saw ourselves as holding all the knowledge or dictating what happened; rather, we were intentional in how much space we took as we directed the space at times, and at other times, we allowed it to direct itself.
As we moved into our core collective visioning activity, participants shared personally about drawings they each created after a guided visualization. This allowed them to share their own visions before we explored connections to then arrive at our collective vision. We then had each person pass their vision drawings around and invited others to add in their own vision to each drawing. We did that about 5 times and each person’s vision grew into a collective “quilt.” We were able to guide the participants to create a collective vision by layering their ideas. We also had prompting questions preceding each layering of ideas during the pass-around. In particular, we repeated questions that were repeated from our script used in the visualization.
There was great interest in the process of Collective Visioning and many participants felt excited about taking this tool back to their schools and institutions. We gave out Collective Visioning Guides and directed the rest to here to get a copy. To see images from workshop, see slide show below.