Being Blog – Creating Civility: A Live Public Conversation with…

what: Creating Civility: A Public Forum

when: Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

time: 7:00 p.m. CST

where: Being LIVE

We’d like to invite you to join us tonight online for a somewhat impromptu event in Minnesota Public Radio’s UBS Forum. We’re approaching the evening as a kind of experiment, an occasion to learn and to plant some seeds for new vision and new ways of living together with our confusions, our strengths, and our differences. Tragic events in Tucson created a window for concern about the fabric of our common life, but that concern predated those events and has relevance and urgency far beyond them.

Many of the hardest political and social chasms right now will not be resolved quickly. So the question we’re asking is:

How do we find new ways to speak and listen to each other, to live forward together, even as we hold passionate disagreements?

via Being Blog – Creating Civility: A Live Public Conversation with….

On Being is a terrific resource especially for those of us with Interfaith leanings. But one need not be a card carrying member of any religious affiliation in order to get inspiration from their programming. As Americans and as world citizens, we are grappling with the close quarters that we share on this Earth. How do we go about celebrating community while also honoring difference? How do we have difficult and necessary conversations with each other that respect each other’s humanity while vigorously debating the merits of an argument? Sometimes asking the right questions is as important if not more important than knowing all of the answers.

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The Transforming Power of AVP – F N V W 

“Transforming Power” is the heart of AVP. These guidelines take on deeper meaning after taking the AVP Basic workshop, but feel free to cut out the guides below and post them on your fridge, workspace, mirror, or wherever you find helpful.

Guides to Transforming Power

1. Seek to resolve conflicts by reaching common ground.
2. Reach for that something good in others.
3. Listen before making judgments.
4. Base your position on truth.
5. Be ready to revise your position, if it is wrong.
6. Expect to experience great inward power to act
7. Risk being creative rather than violent.
8. Use surprise and humor.
9. Learn to trust your inner sense of when to act.
10. Be willing to suffer for what is important.
11. Be patient and persistent.
12. Build community based on honesty, respect and caring.

via The Transforming Power of AVP – F N V W .

When in Minnesota, I learned of the international nonprofit Friends for a Non Violent World (FNVW) and their Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP). I was living downstate at the time in the small college town of Winona. I had extended business in the Twin Cities and had booked a room in a hostel close to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Several of my fellow guests were attending an international training event sponsored by FNVW in the Quaker-inspired trainings known as the Alternatives to Violence Project. Even though all of the participants had been through the first round of trainings in their home countries, the three days they debriefed in our common room about their experiences and epiphanies whetted my curiosity to learn more. To date I have completed two of the three trainings, and hope to finish out the third as the opportunity arises. I found that the exercises and philosophy was very much in tuned with the teachings of Freire and Boal.

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Report: The Community Service Desires, Civic Lives of Returning OEF/OIF Veterans | PTSD Combat: Winning the War Within

Flush with important skill sets and valuable experiences, military veterans can be counted among a community’s greatest assets. Unfortunately, one barrier they face when out of uniform and in a civilian capacity is a feeling of disconnection from the very people they wish to serve.

So says a a (sic) 44-page report, All Volunteer Force: From Military to Civilian Service [pdf]. Published last November on Veterans Day by public policy firm Civic Enterprises, it presents the findings of a first ever nationally representative survey focusing on veterans’ homecoming transition and civic lives.

via Report: The Community Service Desires, Civic Lives of Returning OEF/OIF Veterans | PTSD Combat: Winning the War Within.

Forum Theatre lends itself to exploration of many kinds of issues facing a community. Southern Illinois has a very long history of sending its citizens off to war. Southern Illinois University has always extended educational opportunities to active duty military as well as returning veterans. Many of our high school students have parents and/or grandparents who served. Many are considering service as an option upon graduation. Whether you are categorically against war or seeking a way to honor those who serve… or like me, able to hold both beliefs simultaneously, our community is the strongest when it helps heal each other’s wounds. Interestingly enough, the course prescribed in this piece is volunteer service opportunities. ~LTS

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Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed | Call for Proposals

17th Annual Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed (PTO) Conference

When: Wednesday, July 20th through Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Where: Francis W. Parker School, Chicago, Illinois, USA

(More information about pre-conference and post-conference workshops TBA. All pre-conference and post-conference events will be held at other Chicago locations.)

Theme: “We Are Each Other’s Harvest”

PROPOSAL DEADLINE: January 5th, 2011


We are delighted to announce that the 17th Annual Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference, “We Are Each Other’s Harvest,” will take place in Chicago, Illinois, USA, from Wednesday, July 20th through Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 (with pre-conference and post-conference workshops TBA).

This year’s PTO conference theme quotes the late Gwendolyn Brooks, Pulitzer-prize-winning poet from Chicago. In her poem entitled “Paul Robeson,” Brooks writes, “[W]e are each other’s harvest: we are each other’s business: we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” Our local planning committee became excited about the potential connections between education, arts, activism, and the concept of a harvest. (See the bottom of this page for questions to spark ideas for your conference proposal.)

via Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed | Call for Proposals.

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Excerpt From Our Personal Archives

Below is an excerpt from the blog post I wrote following a special PTO: Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed show that Melia helped out on. She outlined the different components to the programme and provided anecdotes pulled from her ten years of working with Boalian theatre techniques in various communities, mainly in Minnesota. ~LTS

I also would like to thank my Special Guest this morning, DJ Melia of Mixed Plate, who also happens to be my daughter. It was a way for us to continue discussion on the topic [PTO] with some personal perspective. We had just moved to Winona, MN about ten years ago when both of my daughters and I were selected and asked to participate in a special workshop/training at the high school. There had been some racial/class motivated violence in this relatively sleepy college town, and the episodes had shaken the community to take action at the urging of a local socialite and a bold group of professors. As a mediator trained and certified in Oregon where we had just moved from, I was asked to fill out the paid facilitators roster. Kiri and Melia, my then-high-school-aged daughters, had been separately selected for participation by another process entirely. It was quite an interesting introduction to our new community, to say the least. But it is also an experience that we still call on for inspiration in our current lives. Professors, current and retired, as well as community members had become trained in Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed as developed by Augusto Boal based on the philosophy and pedagogy developed by Paolo Freire. Through the tireless and amazing work of local sustainable farmer and community advocate, Doug Nopar, the three day seminar was not only a success, but it had a lasting transformation on all who participated on both an individual and institutional level. One of the direct effects of this event was the formation of a Youth Action Theatre (PTO) to enhance the work done at the high school. It also offered a direct means by which the community-based Action Theatre could mentor the high school aged actors. It forged a connection between community, college, and the high school that resulted in many of those participants going on to highly acclaimed college programs. The former high schoolers that I am still in contact with have grown into adults who are consistently giving back to their own communities. Melia helped me pick out tunes today and stroll down memory lane, remembering different trainings and experiences over the ten years we’ve been utilizing the techniques learned through the trainings. One of the highlights of course is Doug’s coups in getting Augusto Boal to personally come to WSU for a seminar training.

via Whirled Peas Café Radio Playlist: October 25th, 2010 «.

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Calling All Community Players

If you would like to learn more or become involved in developing a PTO in Southern Illinois, please contact me  (Lori) or Melia through email at whirledpeascafe(at) We are currently seeking “players” of all ages and backgrounds to become involved through NonViolent Carbondale, a project of the Human Relations Commission.

via Whirled Peas Café Radio Playlist: October 25th, 2010 «.

Also visit us on FaceBook:!/home.php?sk=group_171371102881976

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Welcome to CAPSOIL!

“It is forbidden to walk on the grass.
It is not forbidden to fly over the grass.”-Augusto Boal

Welcome to our newest experiment in community and theatre. A potent combination, those two. While we are not the first to “strut and fret upon [that] stage,” nor the last, we hope that our endeavors signify something. Just as a painter steps forward then back, to one side and another in order to check perspective on a work, our players take their participatory audience through a guided experience of life from different angles, a slide show of differing points of view. We invite everyone to then pick up the brush and be creative in the context of their concerns.

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men.” ~Herman Melville

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