Radical economies of our imagination
A week long camping retreat for artists, scholars and activists for the radical imagination, social justice and decolonization.
August 3-10 – Nanabijou, Anishinaabe Territories, Turtle Island Robinson-Superior Treaty
(Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada)
Hosted by the ReImagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL)
To register, please fill in this form by JUNE 1, 2019: http://tiny.cc/RiVALcamp2019registration
To pay $75CAD registration fee: paypal.me/ReImagineValue
Apply to join us for a week of convivial conversations towards the radical imagination in one of the most beautiful places in the world. The ReImagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL) invites applications for a week-long intensive small gathering in the breathtaking environment of what settlers call “Sleeping Giant Provincial Park.”
Our broad theme in our inaugural year is “radical economies of our imagination.” The misery factory of racial capitalism is in a death spiral. Its underlying structures of colonialism and heteropatriarchy are crumbling and becoming more violent. We urgently need to imagine and enact new economies that prize life, autonomy, solidarity and compassion. We are called to experiment with new methods for generating, sharing and coordinating the radical imagination: the force that can see beyond the present and challenge power to create the new worlds we deserve. The capitalist notion of “the economy,” born of slavery, colonialism and the destruction of common life, has enclosed our imagination around what it means to share, exchange and cooperate. Radical economies of our imagination names our shared desire to rebuild our dreams, relationships and powers.
The late Ojibwe novelist Richard Wagamese writes of Nanabijou:
In the waters of Lake Superior, near Thunder Bay, there is a promontory that resembles a man lying on his back. Widely known as The Sleeping Giant, it is, according to the Anishinaabeg, the fossilized form of the culture hero Nanabush, who with the help of earth diving animals originally created the North American continent. When the European invaders came and began mining the land for copper, Nanabush, in his grief, lay down to sleep upon the water. His shape is now a rock too, but he is not just a memory or a lesson, for the people say that one day soon he will awake. When he does and steps onto the land, his head touching the sky, Nanabush will take back this world and banish the invaders who were able to strip the earth because they never really learned to see this place or listen to it. His form is a memory and a dream/vision, in turn and at once, a narrative connected to a cycle of narratives that constitute revelation rather than commemoration.
It is in the spirit of awakening from collective heartbreak towards decolonization and collective liberation that we undertake to meet together.
Agenda and format
Our agenda is first and foremost to create, together, a hospitable, convivial, generative, kind, inspiring and joyful and anti-oppressive gathering of bodies, minds and souls.
We ask all participants to bring one of two things (or both):
- A challenge: A 30 minute presentation on a project that you are thrilled by but on which you are also stuck. This will form the basis of our morning conversations.
- A gift: A skill to share, a performance to make, a ritual to lead, a story to tell, a game to play, a power to reveal
At this point, we imagine that our program begins at 4pm on Saturday August 3 and concludes at 2pm on Saturday August 10
Collective morning workshops will see two or three participants share their challenges and receive feedback.
Optional sessions in the afternoons and evenings will be semi-organized around sharing gifts.
There will be an abundance of time and opportunity for self-organized activities, private adventures, transformative accidents and beauty in many forms.
The participants in this retreat will organize themselves into a temporary autonomous community and help provide for one another’s’ needs. We intend that food and tasks be shared.
Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is one of the most majestic landmarks in the territories currently known as Canada: an iconic peninsula about one hour’s drive from the city of Thunder Bay renowned for hiking, climbing, swimming and camping.
We will be staying and holding most of our challenge events at the Marie Louise Campground, a fully-equipped and quite large facility with well-maintained campsites, indoor toilets and (hot) showers, cooking and cleaning facilities, a beach, family activities and more. On fair weather days, we will hold our morning challenge sessions at the campground, outside. If the weather is poor, the park has permitted us to use their indoor activity centre. Gift events may take place at the campground or throughout the park, which also offers a huge array of hiking trails (ranging from leasiurly to very vigorous) and natural attractions.
Logistics and costs
RiVAL will incur the following costs:
- Camping fees/accommodation for registered participants
- Learning materials
- Transportation from Thunder Bay to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park and back
Accepted applicants are responsible for the following costs:
- $75 CAD registration per person (this non-refundable fee guarantees your spot and will be put towards common expenses including coffee, firewood, first-aid kits, gas, etc)
- Transportation to and from Thunder Bay
- Food (see below)
- Visa, health insurance, etc. for those resident outside of Canada
- Camping gear
- Personal items
- Costs associated with non-participant fellow travellers (eg. partners, kids)
- As the event draws nearer, and depending on reponses, RiVAL may coordinate and subsidize lunch of each day of the retreat.
- Breakfasts and dinners will in any case be the responsibility of each participant, but we do encourage food sharing, collective meals and the like.
- Please indicate on the registration form your allergies/sensitivities and restrictions.
- Are children and other family members welcome? Yes! People of all ages are welcome to all aspects of the gathering. However RiVAL will not be taking the lead on coordinating activities specifically for younger people. Challenge sessions are expected to operate at a fairly advanced level of discourse and knowledge because participants will be sharing their current work, so we expect many children will be bored. Gift sessions may or may not be accessible to children. However, the Marie-Louise campground at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park is a fully-equipped and very busy facility, which does run some limited drop-in children’s programming each day. RiVAL may or may not be able to provide accomodation for extra family members. We will try.
- Are activities accessible? We will strive to make our activities to people with a wide variety of abilities, to the best of our abilities and facilities, depending on how registrants self-identify. The Marie-Louise campground and SGPP offer a range of accessible facilities for camping and hiking.
- Are there subsidies to help with the costs of travel? Yes. Please fill out the registration form and indicate you would like to receive a subsidy. We cannot guarantee that funds will be available, but we will do our best.
- What kind of accommodation is available? RiVAL is renting three three-bedroom rustic cabins and two three-tent campsites to accommodate all participants. Cabin rooms will be assigned on the basis of need and ability as indicated in the registration forms and/or by lottery. Campsites are fully equipped and well maintained. There are indoor washrooms, laundry and other comfort amenities on-site. You can find out more at the SGPP website. Beyond this, participants are welcome to book their own accomodation (for instance, cabins, camper/trailer-equipped campsites) on their own, at their own expense.
- I will not be able to attend the whole event, can I still come? We will prioritize registrants who can attend the entire event.
- Can I come early or stay later? Yes, however you’ll need to make your own arrangements with SGPP or in Thunder Bay.
- How remote and rustic is this? By Canadian standards, this is not very remote or rustic. SGPP is about a 45min drive from Thunder Bay, a major regional centre of about 120,000 people with most amenities, medical services and major businesses one might need. The Marie-Louise Campground at SGPP is a very well-maintained, popular and busy campground with over 75 campsites, many full-time staff and regular programming. However, SGPP is a huge park with many backwoods trails for solitude.
- I don’t have or can’t bring or afford camping gear. Can I still come? Yes. Please indicate as such on the registration form and we will work to secure camping gear for your use.
- Can I bring my pet? Yes. Dogs especially would enjoy the event. Other animals may be less comfortable.
- I swore I’d use the summer to write/create/etc. Can I get that done at the camp? Yes. Only the mornings have scheduled actvities for all campers. Afternoons and evenings are free for writing, creating, wandering or organizing activities together. In terms of facilities, RiVAL has booked three cabins that all have sitting rooms and tables, though solitude is not guaranteed. Additionally, SGPP has a large indoor activity centre where one could set up shop. There are also a lot of picnic tables, etc. Depending on the kind of environment that is conducive to your creative practice, this may be an excellent venue.