Story and photos by PA member, Robin Clayfield, January 2018
The IPC in India recently was a feast of colour, culture and fabulous Indian cuisine with interesting presentations, much networking and diverse learning opportunities as 1200 people from over 70 countries gathered for the week near Hyderabad.
The two day Conference was held at an agricultural research college on the edge of the city and was brimming with Indian farmers. 350 people had travelled around the globe to be be part of the event and other came from all over India.
Robin set up a small stall with her books, card games and resources and get to be set up in between Indian seed sellers and traders of Indian crafts and baskets.
She also made a valuable contribution to the Conference by presenting a panel titled ‘Are Women Leading the Change’ as the finale program item for the weekend. One of the sub themes of IPC was ‘Women Leading the Change’ so, as a female pioneer in Permaculture and Social Permaculutre Robin felt well placed to gather key women from different cultures and backgrounds and address this interesting question. The panel that joined Robin was made up of Starhawk, Vandana Shiva, Rowe Morrow, Robina McCurdy, Padma Koppula and Beatriz Ramirez Cruz and was later joined by Robyn Francis and two Indian Women Farmers who’s names aren’t with us to be published.
Robin began by inviting the audience to stand up, thank each other and acknowledge the positive change they were already involved in creating, even if it were just by being there at the Conference and taking the good energy and learnings home.
Robin then asked the panel to share on three points:
- one way they felt they were personally contributing to change in the world
- areas where they felt women were leading the change
- comment about the qualities being modelled by women that they felt were vitally important to positive change
The whole session was inspired by Robin contemplating the theme of ‘Women Leading the Change’ and noticing that a very high percentage of the acknowledged pioneers of Social Permaculture around the globe were women, so they are the ones she invited to join her.
The Indian women farmers were magnificent at modelling the empowerment and passion of women who are standing up in India and now becoming more able to be heard.
Robin ended the session by asking everyone in the audience to contemplate one word that described a quality they heard expressed by the panel that they felt was really important to them. She then counted to three and everyone called them out all at once, inviting more of those qualities in the world, in their lives and in their home communities. A great end to the Conference. Look out for a link that will be available soon of the Live to Air Telecast of the panel session.
The Convergence was held at Polam Farm, a two year old Permaculture designed system that has received much support from volunteers to establish, especially in the months leading up to IPC. For five days 450 people were feed, housed in tents, cared for and given so much access to workshops, talks, panels, demonstrations, traditional living skills, films and networking time as well as many amazing and diverse cultural performances in the evenings.
Robin was kept very busy with offering or being part of many sessions including a workshop on ‘Teaching Permaculture Creatively as a Grassroots Action’ which saw the smallish thatched roof workshop space bulging with about 60 people.
She was on the panel for ‘Open Government and Sociocracy’, was a lead facilitator in the three CoLab afternoon sessions (which drew together those interested in an ongoing collaboration of people wanting to better respond strategically and collectively as a global movement) and also offered the now traditional ‘Jumping’ session as a finale for the Convergence. There is a photo here of Robin and Andy Goldring facilitating the first CoLab session using a ‘web of connection’ and also one of Narsanna, the principal organiser of IPC India, JUMPING his intention for future Permaculture Involvement.
Robin Clayfield is an international teacher, facilitator and author who is passionate about healthy groups, organisations and communities, their structures and governance and most importantly, their facilitation and group dynamics.
She presents and consults all around the world to support global health, well-being and whole systems change through using Permaculture, Social Permaculture and ‘Dynamic Groups’ methodology.
Robin is a Permaculture Pioneer and Elder who has lived at Crystal Waters Permaculture Eco-Village in SE Queensland, Australia since 1988. Her books and resources include ‘You Can Have Your Permaculture and Eat It Too’, ‘The New Permaculture Principles Card Game’, ‘The Creative Community Governance and Decision Making Resource Kit’ and the ‘Creative Process Wild Cards’.
She is also the co-author (with Skye in 1995) of ‘The Manual for Teaching Permaculture Creatively’ plus several resources and card games for teachers and facilitators.