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Kat Wall is a facilitator with Turning the Tide, supporting nonviolent social change at the grassroots. She’ll be running three workshops at Greenbelt Festival 2018, and here she shares some reflections on the themes.

A version of this article first appeared on the Greenbelt blog, on 1st August 2018.

Imagine the world you would like to see. Perhaps people are more equal here. Perhaps the Earth is thriving once more. Perhaps oppression and domination are things of the past.

We live in troubled times. Often it can feel like things are going in the wrong direction. From the climate crisis to systemic racism, our society can feel broken. Hope can feel far off.

For Rebecca Solnit, “To be hopeful means to be uncertain about the future, to be tender towards possibilities, to be dedicated to change all the way down to the bottom of your heart.” How can we find hope that we can create a better world?

In a series of workshops at Greenbelt this year, Turning the Tide will explore this question. First, through re-kindling the connection between spirituality and activism. Second, through exploring creative and effective tools for change. And third, through asking where we find hope? And how we can make use of it.

Rooting ourselves

Through exploring the connection between spirituality and activism we can root ourselves in why we might take action. In finding purpose and strength from that core part of ourselves that is moved towards justice: the light, the seed, God – call it what you will – we can rekindle our desire to act.

Quakers are impelled by faith to live lives as an active witness for peace and justice. The historic testimonies to equality, justice, peace, simplicity and truth are both challenge and inspiration to alleviate suffering and seek positive social change. The stillness of Quaker worship enables us to listen – and then to act for justice – to connect with that core that impels us to action.

Exploring tactics

The range of creative tools and tactics available to us is vast. From vigils to direct action, political theatre to subvertising we’ll explore the actions that have proved effective in highlighting injustice, paving the way for change to happen, and how to experiment to find out.

Finding hope

When hope feels hard to find in turbulent times, where do we start to look? We’ll explore the seeds of hope we may have with each other. We will look at the strength that can be found in hope and how we can use it to imagine and create a better world. For, if we cannot imagine that better future, how do we bring it into existence?

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Photo Credit: Quakers at Greenbelt 2015, Quakers in Britain
Photo Credit: Ride for Equality, Kendal & Sedburgh Quakers