Kinship 2021: a review

(main image description: in a clear winter blue sky, a single black Shag seabird flies from the distance from left to right)

Firstly, I’d like to express some thanks: to all the participants (especially the wet-weather kind!); to local workshop hosts (Bristol, Hebden Bridge and Abercych); to the lands: Epping Forest, Ashton Court grounds, Upper Calder Valley and Teifi Valley; to practice group members for beginning a community of ongoing practice; and to Katye for doing this year together.
Thank you very much!

This year was an experiment in some ways: we knew it was a particular year for so many and financially it has been tougher for most. We trialled a gift economy structure where Katye and I didn’t take a fee, charged only enough to cover costs and encouraged exchanges for participation in the workshops. In some ways it worked very well, we met some great new people and have begun to make some community ties beyond financial transactions and that feels good. It also made for a lot of work to coordinate. It looks like we won’t be able to continue a gift economy in this form, but we know that there will be some aspects of exchange that we will take forward for next season. Watch this space.

Here are a few visual memories from this season…

Practice group

This year we established a wonderful practice group, co-facilitated between Katye, myself and Chand Starin Basi. It has felt great to welcome Chand and begin to collaborate further and wider.

The practice group, made up of participants from this year’s workshops, has gathered online 4 times already since September. I confess here – one of the main reasons I wanted to start a practice group is to support my personal practice between workshops and out of season – and I must say it has been really wonderful to meet with Kinship folk in this way, sharing time around the virtual fire – telling the stories of our meetings and encounters.

Two points of reflection:

  1. The other day I thought about the title – ‘Kinship Workshop’… sometimes I wonder if ‘workshop’ is the best word to describe it. And then I thought about what a workshop is aside from a temporal learning space – it’s a place where things are made, repaired or maintained. That feels pertinent and true to the aim – to create a space to remember and regenerate a sense of Kinship with all life… that gives a helpful sense of direction and navigation.
  2. Over the Christmas period I travelled from Scotland where I have been working recently, back down South via the East Coast (Cove Harbour, Holy Island, North York Moors). I stopped for an afternoon at Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire. I spent a few hours on the beach under the cliff edges. I passed fossilised shells and sea creatures of all sorts. Layers of rock that contain ancient history – deep time, layer upon layer. It’s a huge bay and with the sunlight at that golden hour I felt touched and reassured by something infinitely older and more expansive. Even though the town was just a few hundred metres away, it made me reflect on what wild and ancient places do to me. There is a holding and perspective offered that I just can’t find in human constructed or altered spaces. I treasure and long for more encounters with wilder places. So I will take this recognition forward into next season…

Plans for 2022… well I’m not exactly ready to announce anything (!)… but what we do know is there will be another Kinship @ Home (possibly two) for people to join from wherever they are in the world. We will have at least one London workshop, we’re looking at a workshop in Scotland, another in North/ Central England and some possibilities of a workshop in the West country too.

If you’ve been meaning to come on a workshop but haven’t managed yet, or have already been on one and would like to return, I’m looking forward to see you next season!

Happy New Year

Tom

One Comment Add yours

  1. Irene Goodwin says:

    It is wonderful to read about your last year of Kinship and see the beautiful places where you have worked and visited. For me it will be another Kinship at home! I loved the experience last year and look forward to spending another day with you. Meanwhile I will enjoy Mother nature and all that she is throwing at us at the moment. Wind, rain, frosty days, sunshine, sunsets, birdsong, new growth, clear starry skies and grey ones too, but mainly the days getting a tiny bit longer each evening!

    Like

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