With Gavin Horn, Jeremy Lent and Charlotte Du Cann. We begin by framing our collective crises through the lens of relationship. We want to ask: how have our ways of relating created destruction? Where have we been separated from reality, each other, and our more-than-human kin? Why does the "crisis of relationship" matter? We focus on the loss of belonging which resides at the core of many of the crises we face. We want to understand why belonging is integral to life, the way we relate, and how we flourish as human (and more-than-human) beings. We explore how kinship as a form of relationship and belonging is crucial during these times of unravelling.
With Douglas Rushkoff, Bronte Velez and Justine Epstein. This module explores if relationships are inherently political. The speakers look at how certain relationships are conditional, and how relationships can both serve and extract. How are our relationships being influenced or controlled? We want to ask the question: "who do *we* (really) mean when we say "we"? As collective action is called for - who is called to take action? Who is included/excluded? Does kinship bring with it a sense of responsibility for the "other"? Does the "other" necessarily imply "othering", or can we view the "other" as crucial to relationship itself?
With Gavin Van Horn, Tim Ingold and Tyson Yunkaporta. We look at the grounds on which relationships form. Where exactly does kinship arise? What is the importance of place in all of this? Why is context critical? We look at how the quality of the environment and the architecture of the spaces we inhabit informs the quality of our relationships. We explore how unusual "places”, like the internet, or a science lab, can also lead to forms of kinship, and why this is important in a time when many feel they need to retreat to pristine nature in order to feel connection (this option is widely unavailable). This module is about where we find ourselves.
With Minna Salami, Andreas Weber and Charles Eisenstein. We explore the role of the individual in relation to kinship. This module is unique in that there is a sense of "going against the grain". Many narratives around community and kinship have suggested that the notion of the individual is to blame for the collapse of healthy relationships. It is true that the narcissistic individualism peddled by capitalism has wreaked havoc. However, it is the "ism" that has caused harm, not the individual. In fact, attempts to erase the sacredness of the individual create immense harm. When people feel that they are not seen and that their needs don't matter, harm tends to follow. We explore how cultivating a healthy sense of our individuality allows us to become responsible in relationship. Can we have kinship with ourselves? Nuance is key here - because we are both individuals and we are not. It's a "both/and" situation.
With Nora Bateson, Caroline Duque and Vanessa Andreotti. We explore how community creates belonging and kinship, and how it can also fracture it (building on lessons learned from the previous module). What, exactly, comprises a community? How does kinship come into this? Can there be community without kinship? What might community mean in the contexts we find ourselves in? How does community go beyond sentimental images of sitting around a campfire? Can we be in community with those who are "not like us"? We also explore being in community with the more-than-human later in the course. We want to understand how community tugs at the thresholds between the individual and the collective - how does this tension affect the quality of our relationships?
With Andreas Weber, Tiokasin Ghosthorse amd Andy Letcher. We explore the more-than-human in our conceptions of kinship. We look at how the "new animism" may offer pathways towards healthier relationships (and a sense of deep belonging) with the sentient, living world. We explore how personhood, respect, and reciprocity play a role in our relations with our more-than-human kin. We also draw attention to the relationships with the more-than-human that are already there, waiting to be discovered wherever you are. Additionally, we ask: can we belong to a more-than-human ecosystem? And how do the biotic and abiotic dimensions of our life affect the ways in which we relate? (is technology more-than-human?).
With Sophie Strand, Stephen Jenkinson and Charlotte Du Cann. We delve into the role of mythology, stories, art, and poetry in cultivating kinship. How do stories create/relate to belonging? How do notions of kinship appear in and influence the way we weave our cultural (& other) stories? What do the stories we tell imply about our relationships? How might we transform these stories so kinship is at their core? What are the stories which come from the land that connect us to the other? How does the language of animacy weave relations in this way?
With Bayo Akomolafe, Gavin Van Horn and Rosanna Rippel. The end is near and we are asking, what next? How can we practise kinship in our own lives? How might we be able to help our communities, and those we don't belong to? We look at how we can reconceive kinship in the context of modernity. After all these discussions and explorations, how have our notions of kinship blossomed? What can we embody going forward?