Leading Learning Circles

Posted by on August 19, 2005


Dear Colleagues,

Are you involved in community-university partnerships or community organizing for social change? Have you participated in learning circles in the past and want to learn how to put this technique to use in your own community work?

If you have, please consider attending a retreat on how to lead learning circles at the historic and inspiring Highlander Research and Education Center this November 10-13, 2005. See the information below for details, or contact Argie Manolis (manolis@morris.umn.edu) or Nelda Pearson (npearson@radford.edu) with questions.

WHERE: Highlander Research and Education Center
New Market, Tenn.

WHEN: November 10-13, 2005
SPONSORED BY: Beans and Rice, Inc (http://www.beansandrice.org)
Educators for Community Engagement (http://www.e4ce.org)

FACILITATOR/TRAINERS: Nelda Pearson and Argie Manolis

MUSIC: Guy and Candie Carawan

COSTS: $150.00
Payable to: Beans and Rice, Inc.
Due: October 15, 2005
Mail to: Nelda K.Pearson
Beans and Rice
6773 Circle Dr.
Radford, Va. 24141

TOPIC: The learning circle workshop/retreat is for anyone interested in learning to lead learning circles. Learning circles are based on people sharing their stories with each other, laying those stories side by side, and reflecting on those stories. Circles focus on listening and hearing our own and others voices in a deep and authentic way. This sharing and hearing of each other leads to clarity of path and social action. This training will combine experience of being in a learning while developing skills to lead the circle.

SCHEDULE: Participants fly into the Knoxville Airport. Highlander is about 45 minutes from the airport and can be reached via taxi. The workshop will start Friday November 11, 2005 at 6 PM with dinner together and last through Sunday lunch. Participants will leave for home on Sunday afternoon. We ask that the participants plan their travel schedules so that they do not have to arrive at the workshop late or leave early. We also request that those within commuting distance reside at the retreat center during the retreat. The strength and value of a learning circle experience depends on being fully present for the entire

HIGHLANDER RESEARCH AND EDUCATION CENTER The Center has been in existence since 1932 in three different locations in Tennessee arriving at its current location in 1970. Highlander has been engaged in social justice work first with the labor movement, then the civil rights movement, and over the last thirty years in issues of economic, social and environmental justice in the Appalachian Mountains and the South. Workshop participants who have time and would like to have a more in-depth experience of Highlander are invited to arrive as early as possible on Friday and to spend the time before dinner exploring the Highlander Library, a rich archival resource. Exploring the library gives one a close-up sense for the work of Highlander.

MUSIC: On Saturday evening we will have Guy and Candie Carawan with us for music and story telling related to the work of Highlander and social justice issues dating back to the Citizenship Schools on the Sea Islands. Guy and Candie have had a long term relationship with Highlander and are authors of VOICES FROM THE MOUNTAINS, a compilation of photographs, music, and quotations from organizing in the coal fields of Central Appalachia, and AINT YOU GOT A RIGHT TO THE TREE OF LIFE, a compilation of photographs, music and quotes from Johns Island, where the first citizenship schools were held. They also have been the musical consultants for various productions on the Civil Rights Movement, including EYES ON THE PRIZE. They have recorded their own and others music in the labor and civil rights movements over the past forty years and are active performers at events throughout Appalachia. Guy is credited with bringing WE SHALL OVERCOME to the civil rights ovement and one of the verses was written during a night raid on Highlander by state and federal officials. Guy and Candie were staff members at Highlander for forty years.

FACILITIES: Room, board, facility fees, workshop materials and costs for facilitators are included in the retreat fee. Rooms are in a dormitory with several beds per room. Food is simple country cooking with enough variety to accommodate vegetarians, Special diets can not be accomodated. All linens are supplied. Highlander is in the foothhills of the Great Smokie Mountains with an awesome view. Conditions are rustic. Comfortable clothes and footwear are best.

APPLICATIONS AND DEADLINES: Please apply by October 15, 2005 to:
Nelda Pearson
Beans and Rice, Inc.
6773 Circle Dr,
Radford, Va. 24141

Please enclose your check for $150.00 payable to Beans and Rice, Inc.. After October 15, 2005 we will assume that applicants who have not paid the retreat fee are non-attenders and we will replace them with someone on our waiting list.

REFUND POLICY: If you have to cancel we will refund the full amount up until October 15, 2005 WHEN WE MUST GIVE Highlander Education and Retreat Center OUR FINAL COUNT AND ARE LOCKED INTO THAT FEE.

Nelda Pearson and Argie Manolis are long time members of the Steering Committee of the ECE. Nelda is a Professor of Sociology and Anthropology and Chair of the Race, Class, and Gender Studies Program at Radford University in Virginia. She has done community development work using learning circles with the farm women of Canada, the Inupiat of Arctic Alaska, and with several communities in Central Appalachia. She is one of the founders of the award winning non-profit Beans and Rice, Inc., a community development corporation, (see http://www.beansandrice.org) and serves as its Executive Director.

Argie Manolis is an Instructor of English and is the Service-Learning Coordinator at University of Minnesota, Morris, where she teaches creative writing and composition and works with faculty, students, and partners to plan and implement ongoing service-learning projects. Both have years of experience with service-learning and have led many learning circles.

We hope to see you there!

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