On Monday 28th February 2022, Margaret Gearty very kindly hosted a session for our community on Poetic Activism. This was part of our Artful Inquiry programme, a series of free online events that encourage you to start your week in a different, more artful way. You can find a full listing of upcoming events here: Our Events Calendar. To receive invites to these and other Mayvin events please make sure you are on our mailing list.
What is Poetic Activism?
Poetic Activism is a practice of responding to the seemingly intractable stories of our times, in a way which is beautiful, heartfelt and real.
During this session, we reflected on the types of activism which fit into the times we live in; and those which might arise from within the contours of our everyday lives.
Things a poetic activist might do
It is hard to pinpoint exactly what Poetic Activism is and the following things that a poetic activist might do can help to explain it further. (Taken from Margarets blog post on Poetic Activism with permission.)
- Tap into what matters – discover the things that you care about, the issues you want to take a stand on. Because often these are connected to our deepest stories.
- Access your poetic sensibility – trust that nurturing your creative or poetic spirit will support and feed into your activism. And that it will centre you. (Note: This does not mean you need to write poetry, poetic can mean anything beautiful, heartfelt and real).
- Be your version of bold – to act or take a stand on something you’ve not done requires courage – and that courage is very personal. What might ‘your version of bold’ look like?
- Make kin – sit around the table, eat, drink and be with your ‘kin’ – those that you feel connection to in the work or in your life. A phrase borrowed from anthropologist Donna Haraway.
- Be tentacular – like trees have a root system that connect underneath the ground. Follow the paths and roots and connections to others that are sharing your interests. Also Donna Haraway.
- Tell stories – part of the task is to tell a new story. Speak about what you do, try new ways of talking or describing what you do.
What is an example of Poetic Activism?
During the session, Margaret referred to a lovely example of poetic activism - the Lost Words Project. If you want to find out more about it, you can read her blog here: Acorns and Anger . There is also a video about the making of the musical songs, which Margaret says is well worth a watch here: The lost words blessing spell songs
The attendees really enjoyed the session and they gave some great feedback:
About the host
Margaret is an action researcher and lifelong learner who sometimes describes herself as peripatetic scholar practitioner. Originally from Ireland, Margaret is now based near Bath in the UK. She enjoys exploring the local woods and swimming in nearby rivers when feeling brave.
Margaret’s a professor and active member of the teaching community at Ashridge/Hult business school whilst at the same time pursuing her passion for ecologically oriented action research and writing via her research practice New Histories which she established in 2012. She has worked with teams and individuals from across the public and NGO sector.
You can find out more about Margaret here: Margaret Gearty