Monday, August 27, 2012

Feminist Leadership Institute Novemver 2012, Nairobi

The fourth Feminist Leadership and Movement Building Institute is a five-day course designed to strengthen feminist leadership, strategies, and collective power for social transformation in Africa.
The leader of an elephant pack is a female, called the Matriarch The Institute will combine reflection on the current political landscape as well as past organising strategies for women's rights in Africa by using a trans-movement building approach. Looking at diverse movements in Africa and globally, participants will be able to relate some of the experiences and lessons from these movements to their own contexts, countries, and regions. This Institute will be held in collaboration with GROOTS Kenya and Akili Dada. Course Content The movement building approach challenges groups to critically assess how they have organised themselves to achieve their social justice goals. In particular, it enables participants to explore their political agenda, involvement of constituents, and strategies for collective action underpinned by reflection. Using a movement-building lens, the process will allow participants to build their knowledge on the theoretical underpinnings of movement building, synthesised from analyses of global movements. Additionally, participants will identify the different intersections, interactions, common spaces, and challenges that social movements encounter when collaborating on issues of women's human rights. From this, they will critically assess pre-existing resources of the women's movement in Africa. They will also identify and explore concrete strategies to strengthen links between movements to advance women's human rights more collectively. The Institute will cover the following topics: - Social movements and power-concepts and theory - Movements, organizations, and leadership-theory and practice - Current issues and challenges of the women's movement in Africa - Women in peace and conflict resolution - Women's political participation - Assessing our impact-approaches and tools The Institute will foreground reflection at the personal and institutional levels, which will both enable and challenge participants to strengthen their leadership skills and strategies to effect real change for women's rights and social justice in Africa. Participants To participate you must: - Be a woman between 25 and 45 years of age - Reside or work in East Africa (Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Somaliland, Tanzania, and Uganda)**** - Have a minimum of 3 years of experience working on gender issues, women's rights, development, and/or youth activism (voluntary or employment) - Be able to demonstrate how you will use what you learn at the Institute in your work and how you will continue to participate in follow-up activities - Have a working knowledge of the English language Venue and Dates The fourth Feminist Leadership and Movement Building Institute will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, during 5-9 November 2012 (Begins 9 am on 5 November; Ends 4 pm on 9 November). Travel and Visa Participants are responsible for incurring their travel costs to and from the Institute, and obtaining their own visa. CREA will assist with the visa process by providing a letter of invitation and required visa letters. Costs Tuition, accommodation, and meals for the duration of the Institute will be covered by the organisers. Participants will be required to pay a registration fee of USD 50. Participants must cover their own travel expenses. A limited number of travel scholarships are available on a need basis. Accommodation Accommodation will be on twin-sharing basis. Application Only applicants residing and working in East Africa (Burundi, Djiboutim Eritea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Somalialand, Tanzania and Uganda) are encouraged to apply. Deadline: 10 September 2012 Applications are due on or before *10 September 2012*. To apply online, click eminist If you experience difficulty with the online method, download the application from CREA's website ( and e-mail the completed form to Sushma Luthra at or to CREA at Send any queries to Ms Luthra as well.

bordering on the ridiculous - from 1977


We turned its global head as babies,
traced its edges onto paper,
scarcely scratched
the surface
of that old familiar spotted face
shaped up, boiling for a fight.

Hung on walls,
it looked so static
but in its latitudes and longitudes we knew
that people moved,
homes grew,
cities drowned
and cliffs broke.

Later, travelling,
we stepped out
across the sheet,
skipped the Channel,
new squares.
Then creeping back
at dusk,
we folded up this map,
packed away the ice
and sunny beach,
stuck it all in a small back pocket
and shrunk back
into our own world’s frontiers.
That tiny territory
of our scars.


Monday, August 20, 2012

The Diamond and the Flame

Crushing a diamond
Between thumb and forefinger
Remains a rare talent,
Not to be used
As for the residue,
Precious dust that it is,
Almost certainly
Best stirred widdershins
Into molten tallow;
Not, mind you,
Synthetic wax
White enough for feint hearts
At a prospect of light
Emanating from fat
Rendered through slaughter.
Adamant glistered tallow-dip,
Hand fashioned
Into slender candles,
By their own flame
When set in sconces,
High overhead,
To mark an occasion.
As for thumb and forefinger,
They can be soothed,
By nipping out
A burning wick.
The diamond and the flame,
Both pinched
In one movement,
In one moment,
In one morsel
Of history
With which five,
Five hundred,
Five thousand might be fed.

Dave Alton
(Award winning poem at the Warkworth Show, August 2012)

Thursday, August 16, 2012


a display in words and images to mark its 150th anniversary

The Hartley Pit Calamity of 1862, when 204 men and boys lost their lives, was the first large scale mining disaster of Victorian times. The extent of the Calamity, together with the spreading of news by rail and telegraph, brought this tragic event in rural Northumberland into the homes of families throughout the land on a daily basis.
The reaction from the public, together with the interest shown by Queen Victoria, kept the story in the press for more than a month. Just as evidenced in 2010 in the Chilean mine rescue, the public were gripped by the horror of men trapped underground and the heroic efforts made to rescue them.

A new display has been produced by Northern Voices Community Projects to mark the 150th anniversary of the Calamity. It has been compiled by Dr Keith Armstrong and Peter Dixon of NVCP and members of the Hartley1862 Research Group and was commissioned by North Tyneside Council with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. With historical documents and images, alongside the background history and poems and photographs by local people, it forms part of a series of events and activities intended to ensure that the story of Hartley is not forgotten.

The display begins its tour at the beginning of September 2012 as part of the Heritage Open Days programme in St Alban's Church, Earsdon and at New Hartley Memorial Hall where it runs alongside the newly commissioned pathway in the memorial garden.

Further venues follow from October until December 2012 when it appears at Blyth Library, Wallsend Memorial Hall, Segedunum Museum (Wallsend), the Linskill Centre (North Shields), Newcastle Library, Seaton Sluice Community Centre, the John Willie Sams Centre (Dudley) and Wellfield Middle School (Whitley Bay).



Sunday, August 12, 2012

Monday, August 6, 2012



On top of the Pennines, the way turns wild;
The bracken breaks through the grassed hillside,
And the road falls like a dancing girl
Flinging her hair and swinging

Down to Staward Pele
To tunnel in trees of quiet secrecy
And ghosts of hidden animals.

And up onto the drizzled fells
Where rivulets scar the barren mounds,
The road twists childlike to the valley's side
Dependent, searching support.

But Alston's mountains reach the sky:
Adults, unashamed
Of their force and stature.
Stone walls tumble like brocken shackles:
These hills are bondage free
And of unshakeable identity.



Like Wellsian Martian War-machines
The cranes occupy Newcastle,
Dribbling buildings ugly as money
Across this reluctantly human town.



I'm surrounded by brick.
Brick walls,
                                      Brick houses;
Not a green stick visible.
Brick, with its autumn-tint
Of nicotine,
                                      Denying summer
Like a faded print.

How like an immigrant
In quarantine,                 
                                      Brick curbs
My green exuberance;
Though summer's pungency
                    Wafts strong as mint.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Memory Tree

Determined to be
A shrine?
Passers by
Along the by-pass
Pass by
Sorry rose bouquet
Still wrapped in cellophane
Twine tied
By a drunk it seems
About the knotted trunk,
Which also displays
A poem,
Washed out
Stanzas of tearful rain,
And a few
Bleaching to greys.

German cemeteries,
To the disposal
Of their Great War dead,
Are lead tinted,
Not blessed
Short order lawns
With serried
Rank on rank
Of whitewash crosses
Right dressed.
Are grey stones
Sombre oaks
Grown full height
For spirits
To soak
Like sap
From saps
In which the bones lie,
Shell shattered,
Through scattered clouds
Into the limitless sky.

Sinks deep roots
Seeking nourishment
To feed shoots
Season by season,
Seem evermore slender,
Liable to wither.
Remembrance tree,
Merely a tree,
Has no reason
To serve,
As bonds that bind
Fray through
Decapitated flower stems,
And pictures,
To bear the weight of them
Here Woden
Once hung Christ-like
Fearing the fall,
Waiting for when
Crows returned.

                        Dave Alton