^** ELSEWHERE & OTHERWISE 7 **^ Holding Space With/Out Time | 02-12/07/2020

***all bodies are possible and welcome***

For it’s 7th edition ELSEWHERE & OTHERWISE continues in its commitment to hold space, to stay present to the ways in which we come together, to the HOW and the WHAT of our sharing, learning and living together.

This year we want to further the experiment started last year in which, through the absence of a schedule, we were invited to follow our own rhythm and explore things alone, together and in different constellations. The undertaking allowed for a certain expansion of time and deepening of relations, yet it also revealed how the unconscious reproduction of social life carries its own exclusions and is likely to reproduce violence. Rather than shying away from what arises in the absence of the go-to tools for structuring time and reproductive tasks, we want to deepen the experiment by proposing a clearly formulated shared intention and exploration for the time of our living together: HOLDING SPACE WITH/OUT TIME.

When we hold space for someone/something we bring our entire presence to it. We attend to what it needs, allowing it without judging or trying to fix it, supporting it without wanting to shape the outcome, we are in service. Can we alter our go-to narratives if our common commitment and intention is to hold space for each other, for what we want to share, for the dynamics that happen when we remove time & task management from the centre of our exchanges? How does it influence our language to describe what is happening? What kind of attention and sensibility do we need to develop in order to attend to each other’s needs, desires and asymmetries? And how does that affect what and how we share?

E&O 7 will again be structured spatially rather than temporally. We invite participants to think and propose spaces, physical or psychical that they may want to hold or help hold. We are proposing to keep the spatial set-up slightly more compact and connected than last year; The gravitational fields of the meeting are the kitchens with the reproductive labour and tasks they already hold, a Herbal Pool and multi-purpose outdoor gathering space in the inner courtyard, a Healing Pool in the peacock room and the Kids Station/COMO CLUBINHO in the external courtyard.

We are also specifically calling in the E&O community to help develop the COMO CLUBINHO and its activities in a more collective, less segregating way. With the experience of last year it turns out we need a group of +- 5 grown ups, ideally not the parents or caregivers, that will guide the CLUBINHO (10:00-14:00 / 15:00 - 20:00) from beginning to end, spending each 2-3h per day even during activities guided by other people, as kids need time to build trust and to be surrounded at all time by familiar faces. If you have ideas for activities that can be shared with kids, please propose them and indicate if they are also open for grown-ups to participate. Keep in mind that the kids participating in the activities are mainly the 4-7 year olds as the older kids are mostly self-organized and the younger kids are mostly bound to their caregivers. We want the little humans to be part of the collective learning processes of E&O as a whole so we wish for proposals and activities in, for and around the CLUBINHO as well as for all of E&O 7 that will seek connections and find a good balance between kids-only, grown-ups only and shared spaces.

HOLDING SPACE WITH/OUT TIME invites all the participants to bring in their practices and knowledge and make collectively the kind of space that is needed to hold them, in their spontaneous emergence as well as in their formal manifestations. Some proposals already on the table are a study group on the” History of Patriarchy", a masculinity table, a Studio Practice on hapticality, a writing workshop as well as the continuation of experiments around Herbs and Plant knowledge, expanding the capacity of the erotic (in theory and practice) and sharing the healing tools we practice and find useful.

On the evening of July 2nd we will welcome everyone with a snack/drink at 18:00 and a dinner at 20:00, this is an informal way to say hello and meet. We will hold an initial meeting on the first day, July 3rd at 10:00, in order to set a common intention and to define and share some tools we need in order to make and navigate such a complex space. If you want to help set-up and hold a physical space or take part in helping with the general organization of E&O 7 please let us know and come a few days early if you can. We ask people to commit to the entire meeting; if this is not possible for you please let us know and we can see if we can still make your participation possible.

ELSEWHERE & OTHERWISE 7 - HOLDING SPACE WITH/OUT TIME will take place from July 2-12, 2020 at PAF (Performing Arts Forum). As every year we try to make it possible for people with little/no funds to attend the meeting. This year we will experiment with a formalized sliding scale in order to do so. Keep in mind that the evaluation for the sliding scale is not how much money you have, but how much money you have access to. The meeting including food and accommodation for 10 days costs between 280 - 400 EUR per person. Even if you can pay 20 EUR more it helps someone else.

If you are able to apply for a grant we are happy to help with invitation letters. Also, we would appreciate it very much if you could apply for more than needed for your single participation (according to the kind of application you are able to submit) so to help others in different financial conditions to also participate (suggested: 400 € per person). If you would like to come and you don't have the financial conditions to do so please let us know and we will try to make it possible for you.

For parents and primary caregivers who consider coming with their children please read the info below.

To reserve please email: contactpaf@gmail.com

For any other question/doubt/idea/proposal, please email: valedesideri@gmail.com & daniela.bershan@gmail.com

Daniela Bershan & Valentina Desideri


Considerations for parents and care givers before coming to ELSEWHERE & OTHERWISE with kid(s)

It is important for us to include little humans and a activities for and with them into ELSEWHERE & OTHERWISE and it is important to us to find collective, integrative ways of doing so. In an experimental way we have taken baby steps since years into this direction and we are far from "being there" and at the same time happy that it is now possible. However, to avoid frustrations we think it is useful that you know what you sign up for namely an experiment NOT an institutionalized day care. PAF is - in accordance with security norms in most European homes and public spaces - not a child-safe building. The humans running and taking care of the CLUBINHO are not "trained professionals“ and we don‘t want them to be. All this is to say that kids at E&O are part of a relational system and experiment of self-organization that needs to be and is in constant negotiation. So you don't "drop- off" your kid at the CLUBINHO at 10:00 and then you pick them up for lunch or dinner. Some days it might turn out that way and others it really won't.

ELSEWHERE & OTHERWISE is - next to many other things - also an intense and challenging space, and it’s not uncommon even for grown-ups to have a crisis moment at some point during the meeting. Crisis is often a moment of transformation so we don't avoid but embrace it as part of the process and try to provide spaces and tools to hold it. As a parent or primary care-giver, especially if you come as a single parent this can be extra challenging as your kid(s) will relentlessly follow their own needs and rhythm while you and them are confronted with a whole new set-up that you will (also with help) only partially be able to immerse yourself into. We recommend that you try to build up an additional support system for you and your kid(s) before hand. For example ask one or two friends that are coming with you to split the time of care-giving for 24h each, so every other day or third day you can have a "day/night off". If you come with 2/3 parents/care-giver this is a system that seems to work quite well for some; If you plan to come alone with your kid(s) and don't know anyone at E&O let us know in advance so we can try to put you in touch with some people before hand; In the evenings a "rotational child-checking system" works very well; You organize 6 people that check the rooms once an hour each (10 past, 20 past, 30 past, etc.). Like this you only have to check on your kid once an hour and know that they are checked on every 10 minutes by someone.

Also understand that you are part of shaping the conditions in which we are living together also with the kids. If something does not work for you then voice it and take the initiative to change it and/or find people who help you change it. This shall not sound like you are alone or it is all up to you; But just be aware of what we are trying to do together is challenging and needs extra care and energy and pro-activity and the joy and love to experiment with the complex parameters we are dealing with collectively.

Lastly we need ALL custody holders to sign a legal disclaimer before hand, that we will send you as soon as you reserve. It is not enough for one custody holder to sign this. All caregivers with legal custody MUST sign this beforehand.

We hope this does not sound off-putting. We are looking forward to welcome you and your kid(s) as part of the collective study at E&O. We just want to make sure you manage your expectations and prepare your situation as well as possible before hand to avoid frustration and overwhelm. Please email daniela.bershan@gmail.com if you have any more questions or want to be put in touch with some parents and care-givers who have agreed to share their experiences and observations of the last year(s).