Holly Hammond is embarking on a research trip to explore activist health and wellbeing. Here’s what she’ll be getting up to. Watch this space for fresh articles, interviews, and details of future workshops and retreats.
I believe in the power of people working together to change the world. I’ve been proudly politically active for 25 years and engaged in supporting social movements for the past 10.
In that time I’ve seen the profound personal impacts activism can have on people’s lives – both positive and negative. I’ve experienced burnout myself and seen many people struggle with finding balance, prioritising wellbeing, and dealing with the emotional impact of facing dark societal challenges.
This is why a significant part of my work is supporting activists through one-to-one mentoring and sustaining activism workshops. Through Plan to Thrive I gather and distribute stories and resources about activist health and wellbeing.
I love my work but I’m in need of personal rejuvenation, fresh inspiration and new approaches to activist training and support.
I’ve found some exciting projects in Europe which look like they could help with that so I’m heading there from late March to early May. My research trip will include:
- Participating in Sustaining Our Activism: Building Resilient Communities – a week long residential retreat in Devon, England.
“The workshop will provide an opportunity to get away from our busy lives and take stock, taking time to reflect and learn from our experiences, and build resilience. We will question the long term viability and sustainability of the ways that we work personally and in our groups, highlighting ways of working that if left un-noticed can produce conflict, physical and mental ill health, trauma and exhaustion. We will develop skills, practices and ideas to help us make changes in our day to day lives that will support our wellbeing and explore ways of working which keep ourselves, our groups, and our communities sustained and effective in the struggle for social, economic and ecological justice.”
- Participating in A Mindful Life: Inner and Outer Transition, a five day residential retreat at Schumacher College near Totnes (the town that kicked off the Transition Towns Network).
“In this course we will learn how to cultivate attention, to strengthen and apply mindfulness in all areas of our daily life not only in a personal context but in our workplaces, our friendships, our communities and in our actions in the world. We will experience the connection between inner and outer peace, transition and transformation. We will also look at what brings us out of mindful well-being and how we can catch these habits and change direction, bringing ourselves back to presence. Beyond the inner work, we will also focus on a set on mindful principles for building community – ways of moving towards enjoyable, successful, and inclusive ways of living and working together. We will look together at what kind of shared practices are needed to create joyful, sustainable, effective relationships, and to be resilient in responding to the one constant in our lives – change.”
- Meeting with and interviewing a number of activist educators and wellness practitioners including folks from Counselling for Social Change, Rhizome, Campaign Bootcamp, London Roots Collective, Seeds for Change, Transition Network, Cre-Act, The Common House, eco-Dharma, and more.
- My own personal writing retreat in the north of Spain to collate findings, write articles and develop curriculum for future workshops and support groups.
I’m incredibly grateful to all those who have made this trip possible via crowdfunding donations – this support has reminded me I’m part of a thriving and caring community! I also take it as a sign that people care about activist health and wellbeing and want to see more services and support in that area. Thanks also to the awesome European activists who are welcoming me. I’m excited to be facilitated by others and to share ideas and experiences.
To find out more about my work have a look around Plan to Win and Plan to Thrive – and check out the findings from the PTT activist health and wellbeing survey which shows just how necessary this trip is. Stay tuned for report-back events and articles!