The tool aims at making connections between diverse life experiences through a set of group activities. It aims at finding resonances between the members of a group through narration and corporal activities while overcoming linguistic barriers. It brings about a change through exchanging and appropriating life experiences and creating shared memories between persons from different places and backgrounds..
The tool is a sequence of group activities developed during Mujeres errantes/Errant womxn encounters in Granada, Spain and Pécs, Hungary. It aims at finding common grounds for a group of women who have diverse life experiences, yet share the experience of “leaving one path for another”, i.e. they identify with the term “errant”. The tool includes group activities that work with the body and stories, using associations, fragmented memories as points of encounter and connection for persons who might feel disconnected, rootless, and not-belonging. The main idea behind the tool is that the feeling of disconnection can be turned into connection and the sense of rootlessness into connecting roots. It happens by valuing fragments and opening new spaces of narration, by transgressing those starting points, forms, modalities and spaces through which we usually construct and tell our stories.
Hands telling stories What do our hands tell about us? After an introductory activity - preferably corporal - we stand in a circle, and we think about what words our hands tell about us. What do our hands, who they touch, what they feel... It’s a free association activity. Each person says a word during various rounds; therefore, we make associations based on our ideas and based on others’, which creates a moment of discovery, surprise, remembering, and connecting. Words can be told in whatever language we speak. While participating in the activity, the facilitator also writes the words on a paper we lay on the floor, she writes the same person’s word one under the other, creating a column of words. In the end, we sit down and look at each other’s words. We allow erasing something from the list and copy words from other’s columns, the ones we resonate with. We frame our words by drawing around them something that symbolises us, a silhouette, to appropriate our words this way. As the last step of appropriation: we read aloud each of our words, telling before them: “I am… “. These I-poems together on the same paper in front of us, become our We-poem. Stories written on our back We select collectively one or two recurrent words from the I-poems, an experience that most of us share and we work with that word in couples. Couples should have a common language in which they can communicate, but do not have to be the same, maybe one of them speaks a language, and the other understand it, but then they switch to another. We tell a short story that the word recalls in us, something that happened to us and we would like to share with the other person. We tell it while the other person is sitting behind us, and writes the most important words/elements of the story, i.e. what she captures from it, on our back. This is a moment of genuine listening and feedback, which creates an intimate connection by recalling the game from the childhood many of us know: drawing/writing on each other’s back and trying to figure out what was it. After one of the persons told their story, we switch, and the other tells theirs. Living map - map of lives We place ourselves in the room as we were a living map. We choose our position, imagining the floor as a world map, negotiating with other participants where they stand, defining together where one continent/country/city/village or the other is. We go around with our chairs to be able to sit down. Each participant tells a story, a memory from the life moment/period/”first experience” proposed first by the facilitator, then freely by other participants. This can be the childhood, first important friendship, first travel, first travel, first love delusion, essential experiences abroad, and many more. The questions should be related to something we possibly all can connect. It creates a powerful moment since we all share these moments, but from different places and experiences, sitting on our chairs in different points of the room, listening to each other’s stories. It makes us rethink the stories we usually tell about ourselves since the activity often recalls memories we almost completely forgot. Listening to others’ stories we start to remember long-forgotten details, and we discover connections and possible interpretations we have never thought about before. If the languages of the group differ too much, we support the activity with translation. The activity opens a space for recognising how different our experiences can be, but still, we share the most important feelings. https://tutela.network/local-spaces/
Mujeres errantes started as a self-organised, voluntary, collectively managed group in Granada, Spain, where people who identify as “errant womxn” can connect and share experiences through collective creative activities. We have also held group sessions in Pécs, Hungary. Since March 2020, we have been hosting an online group for women from different countries, some of whom were already part of the groups in Granada and Pécs, while some joined the group during the lockdown. We are about opening a group in Lisbon. Their long-term goal is to extend the network by encouraging the establishment of local groups in various places. They are currently developing an open knowledge base of activities to support this process. Read the manifesto: https://tutela.network/local-spaces/manifiesto-mujeres-errantes/ And about some of the activities: https://tutela.network/errant-womxn-vandorlo-nok/ https://tutela.network/local-spaces/mujeres-errantes-vivencias-entrelazadas-online/ While in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic, the group Mujeres errantes also launched a call to contribute to a multimodal and multilingual imaginary collective diary. https://tutela.network/diario-colectivo-de-imaginacion/ TuTela Learning Network is an informal, open and feminist international collective.The members and collaborators of our network are activists involved in education and community work in different countries. Our main mission is sharing and connecting marginalised activist experiences around the world. Webpage: tutela.network They wish to counter the mainstream dynamics of how “best practices” are legitimised and disseminated. With this goal in mind, they collect first-hand testimonies from activists and make them available in different languages to boost online and offline spaces of inspiration and mutual learning. They organise face-to-face workshops among activists and online encounters for professionals keen on learning from the recorded activist testimonies. In their opinion, there is an infinite number of aspects that can enrich and reform academic knowledge, based on what activists around the globe can teach. University staff and students can learn from activists’ testimonies. They support these processes by facilitating collective learning spaces, including training and workshops and the collective systematisation of experiences. Furthermore, they encourage others to discover and share community initiatives from their contexts where they live and work. Through workshops and other activities, they provide a space for collective critical thinking, building knowledge based on practical experiences, mutual listening and sharing. Read more about TuTela’s work here: https://afsee.atlanticfellows.org/blog/2020/kitti-baracsi-tutela-intersectional-knowledge
TuTela Learning Network Mujeres errantes group (founders: Kitti Baracsi, Marta Ruffa, Daniela Adarve Galindo) (The “living map - map of lives” activity was inspired by a human mapping exercise which TuTela learned with kollektiv orangotango.)