Tuesday, 5 May 2015

MA CEESA - a masterclass in changing the world! Deadline approaching...

NB the deadline for applications is May 29th 2015...

Are you

-          active in social movement struggles but need space to stand back, reflect, recharge?

-          committed to community activism  but frustrated by where the community sector  is going?

-          trying to see a way forward for radical education in a cold climate?

-          politically minded but don’t know how to turn that into an effective and radical practice?

-          involved in NGO or trade union activism but feel trapped by the structures?

-          concerned about the cooption of community and other groups and wondering how to reorganise?

-          clear that social change is central to you but unsure how to build a life around it?

-          interested in spending a year with experienced activists and community educators?

Around the world today, movements and communities are making history – or trying to. Austerity is being challenged across Europe, while Latin American movements are rewriting the rulebook and elsewhere massive popular movements are challenging the powerful from Hong Kong to Turkey to Ferguson. In Ireland too, struggles around water charges, fracking, abortion rights and direct provision are shaking the old certainties that “there is no alternative” to neoliberalism, that cosying up to state institutions is the only game in town, that we are condemned to an endless rerun of the same parties in power.

The need for change is huge and the outcome is still all to play for. We see seemingly unstoppable movements squashed - and seemingly hopeless ideas winning against all the odds. Movements seem to come out of nowhere and shake the powers that be – but then it can be hard to see a way forward. 

What makes the difference, and how can our movements really change the world?

The Masters in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism (CEESA) at Maynooth responds to the crisis by helping us learn from each other’s struggles in dialogue between different movements, different communities and different generations. The course is not tied to any single movement and participants come from many different communities and countries. Some are experienced activists who want to go back to education; others are people who are just getting involved in movements. 

This lively mixture of ages, backgrounds, experiences and questions is an integral part of what makes the course so rewarding. Together we are building a diverse network of movement activists, radical educators and campaigners for equality and creating new alliances for change. See the video at http://tinyurl.com/ceesavideo

The course team are experienced practitioners and engaged researchers working on equality, radical education and movement struggles. The course combines political strategy, bottom-up organising methods and social analysis with a wide range of learning methods and a focus on knowledge for change, taking a practical but radical look at the problems facing movements today. Our small-group classes run one or two days a week to facilitate participants’ lives, over two 12-week terms followed by working on a project aimed at developing your own movement practice. 

We don’t just learn within the classroom: we organise joint events with a wide range of community groups and social movements in Ireland as well as running events with international activists like Selma JamesJohn Holloway, Hilary Wainwright, Firoze Manji, Jane McAlevey, John Krinsky, Eurig Scandrett, Rhetta Moran … 

This year we've been involved in organising the Grassroots Gathering in Drimnagh, a series of training events for union and community activists with Jane McAlevey, a two-day seminar "Think hope, think crisis" with John Holloway, an oral history walking tour of inner-city Dublin with Terry Fagan, a PhD-level seminar on "social movements and collective agency" from early 19th century rural struggles to Occupy in Ireland and Oakland and a field trip to "Alternative Futures and Popular Protest" and the People's History Museum in Manchester.

The course has been widely acclaimed by researchers and activists around the world: this year alone our staff have been invited speakers everywhere from the People's Forum in Erris to Kyoto University and from the European University Institute in Fiesole to the Radical Summer School in Iceland - and we're developing exchange arrangements with colleges in Oxford and Mexico....

Often we are told we have to choose between our politics and “real life”. This Masters shows how to integrate the two with confidence, practicality, solidarity, emotional resilience, seeing the bigger picture, taking time out to reflect and supporting each other for the long haul. Participants go back to their own movements refreshed, set up new projects, find work in movement organisations, go on to further education - and bring back what they have learned to their own struggles.

Contact the Dept of Adult and Community Education at
 or (01) 7083937
Application deadline May 29th.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Social movements perspectives on the water charges protests

A nice article on the water charges movement here, related to some of the arguments made in this podcast - and a good antidote to the neverending attempts to move from the mass popular participation of social movements to the comfort zone of political parties.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Against the neoliberalisation of universities...

Great photos from around the globe, including Ireland...

Proposals to censor social media in Ireland

... just when it is being used most effectively by local communities resisting the state. A solid analysis here.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Grassroots Gathering programme now up

... here.

We've been asked to say ... if coming by car please park in Galtymore Road, not in the cul-de-sac beside the Bosco centre which gets easily clogged.

For some people it may also make sense to park at the Red Cow park and ride and then take the LUAS as far as the Drimnagh stop.

RIP Sheila Kitzinger

Feminist activist, author and teacher. One of the real pioneers of a woman-centred approach to childbirth in the face of medical power and conservative cultures.Thankyou, Sheila.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Three CEESA-linked events this April

Three CEESA-linked events coming up this April:

Monday - Tuesday 13th and 14th
John Holloway seminar "Think hope, think crisis"

Free two-day event for activists and researchers with one of the leading thinkers in today's anti-systemic movements.

More details here.

Friday 17th - Sunday 19th
Grassroots Gathering 2015 "Joining the dots"

Social movements and communities in struggle coming together for a weekend of discussion, reflection and craic.

More details here; poster and video here.

Tuesday 21st
Terry Dunne / Anna Szolucha seminar "Social movements and collective agency"

Threatening letters to early 19th century landlords and direct democracy in Occupy - two recent PhDs in social movements present their work.

More details here.

This year's application deadline for the MA is May 29th. See the middle column on http://ceesa-ma.blogspot.ie/ for everything you might need to know about the course.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Social movements and Syriza - short report

AK Malaboca, a group of Frankfurt and Bremen activists, have put together an interesting short report from social movement activists they visited in Greece about how they see the situation for movements after the elections and during the face-off between Syriza and the Troika. Well worth a read.