BT 2012 workshop notes

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This workshop was held on a rest day towards the end of bt 2011 in a beautiful place by the lake. I wanted to get some feedback about the tour and hear what people had to say about making the next year (2012) even better. Valentina has written a summary of her experiences helping to organise the tour which you can find here. There were about 16 people participating and while we covered a lot we missed out some points as the other discussions took longer than I anticipated (as they always do!. We wrote on scraps of card which I took photos of, here is what we did/talked about:

Workshop agenda

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  • Intro to EVS and current route thoughts (5 mins-Alice)
  • What have you enjoyed? exercise & feedback to group (15mins)
  • What have you found difficult? active listening exercise & feedback to group (15mins)
  • More details of the proposal (5 mins-Alice)
  • What would you like to see next year? brainstorm in 4 groups (15mins)
  • Feedback (15mins)
  • Degrowth theme + comments (10mins)
  • Ideas for specific locations (direct people to wiki)

Items on agenda mentioned but not covered (ran out of time:

  • Local coordinator call out
  • Decision making and consensus on email lists
  • Winter meeting agenda
  • Paperwork and BT 2013

What have you enjoyed?

  • Lots of new ideas and learning from other people's experiences
  • A chance to live in a community/family
  • Good to meet people from other countries and network projects
  • New ideas of nature
  • Nice places to see
  • New things each day
  • It's affordable
  • There is a good group dynamic, nice atmosphere and love
  • Learning lots about food
  • Good discussions
  • A place for experiential learning
  • It gives you space to think
  • Cycling! Everyday :-)
  • A welcome break from normal life
  • A challenge - long distance and hills
  • Ice cream/hot springs

What have you found difficult?

  • Workshops don't happen - some people are less motivated
  • Not enough time made for discussion
  • Responsibilities are not always clear
  • Stressful at times (can be positive) - lots of pressure on organisers
  • Circles are hard
  • Decisions take a long time/not consensus
  • Not a good balance of personal/group time
  • Consensus difficult
  • Hard to be part of group/self time/cycling time
  • Strong different opinions too much of the time
  • Fast/slow cyclist division
  • We are too rushed
  • Communication is unclear which leads to misunderstandings
  • Not enough workshops
  • Loose lot of time on waiting for people, loose lots of energy
  • Food takes a long time - shopping/preparing
  • People need to be more flexible
  • Language barriers are difficult, it's hard to be included
  • Not enough communication
  • We go too fast past beautiful places
  • We are always late, we should stick to a better schedule

What would you like to see next year?

Route

  • Have a clear route & photocopy for all (this way you don't loose energy planning the route)
  • Maps for all!
  • Fixed resting days
  • Make good BT road markings
  • Prepare the route in advance
  • Focus on getting to know the area
  • 50km average 30-80km/day

Activities

  • More time for activities/workshops
  • Some days of cycling, some days of woofing
  • Visit more farms/associations/workshops/conferences/national parks
  • More workshops cause everyone knows special things
  • Visit festivals
  • Show films/talks
  • Stay longer in places to help
  • Speak about hospitality - don't abuse it
  • Find lots of contacts along the way
  • Be more active with the topic on the road
  • More direct action
  • Contact local groups
  • Small ecotopia at the final spot

group dynamics

  • Clarify visions at the beginning
  • Not be a group of tourists, focus on ecology and the current theme
  • There should a new arrival person (tell new people about bt & what has happened) to prevent misunderstandings
  • Be better at introducing new people to the group
  • Try and be more of a group
  • Be clear what tasks there are to do
  • Have circle time to get to know each other better
  • Be more of a community
  • Have more time for the group
  • Be more aware of fast/slow people
  • Be more aware of language needs
  • More games!

Decision making

  • Agree ground rules
  • Agree on a routine - up at 7am/8am, siesta etc.
  • Explain the consensus process to new people
  • Improve consensus method (smaller groups?)
  • Circles day each day - obligatory!
  • Communicate announcements at each circle

Food

  • Have a shopping plan, only once a day
  • Eat food at the right time, eat better, be clearer what food we buy - NO MEAT!

Money

  • 1 person should take care of finances
  • Make it more affordable

Publicity/communication

  • Make sure that the website (FB, twitter etc) is updated - who does this?
  • Advertise in countries in BT is not so well known

Other

  • Trailer, get a new trailer?
  • Have better awareness of road safety - crossroads, rules of the country
  • Get insurance for the group or suggest that people get their own

Degrowth theme

  • People were happy with the theme
  • We need a good explanation/introduction prepared (as it's not very commonly known)
  • We need a balance between theory and practice
  • It would be good to be able to explain it in a creative way
  • Focus on the practical things about degrowth (use a DIY shower system, skill shares for example)
  • Build a rocket stove for the tour when we meet

Location/route

  • Allow lots of time, always better to plan more time
  • 2.5 months is too long, 2 months is lots of time
  • It's good to have a long tour, it can start early for people that can't normally make it
  • It's a long way for a 'degrowth' topic
  • I don't like the idea of boat as it won't be a sailing boat, it's like taking a bus
  • It's important that people stay a minimum of 2 weeks as it's a process
  • Booklet should be emailed to all participants before + copies printed

Ideas for specific locations (added to route map)

  • Camp along the canal in cevennes & Arrigas in the south of France
  • Contact Ecologistas in accion