Images from Oppression & Resistance 2020

Images from Oppression & Resistance 2020

This wasn’t how we were planning to do this learning circle.

Like most of our week-long intensive learning circles at the Centre for Christian Studies, we were planning to all be in the same room. We were planning to be sitting in, you know, a circle. We were hoping to give each other a hug when we first saw each other after so long. We were expecting to start discussions during a session that would spill out into coffee break time. We were wishing to get to know each other better over lunches at Stella’s or walking back to our B&B at the end of a long day.

Instead we were in our bedrooms, our offices, our basements. We were getting up early in the morning if we lived in BC, or working through supper if we lived in Newfoundland. We were hoping the wi-fi would hold. We were trying to remember to step away from the computer every once in awhile during the full days online. We were reminding each other that we were still on mute.

But we were also wrestling with important questions about social justice. We were pushing ourselves and each other to deeper reflection on oppression and resistance. We were unpacking our experiences, understandings, and assumptions about classism, racism, sexism, colonialism, and militarism. We were trying not to shy away from the pain of the marginalized. We were celebrating the strength of those who stand up. We were discerning our places in the struggle.

And we were having some fun too.

The Oppression & Resistance learning circle ran from April 15 to 21. CCS staff members David Lappano, Janet Ross, Scott Douglas, Marcie Gibson, and Michelle Owens shared facilitation at various times. Marcie brought the Integration Year students to share their personal credos. David was in London, England, so it was dark outside his window by the time each day was done. We benefited from the wisdom of special guests Lynn Smith-Reeves, Shelina Kassam, and Helen Close.

We engaged in personal reflection, small group conversation, and large group discussions. We integrated our learnings through art and creative activities.
One of the things about an online learning circle is that it’s hard to get good pictures. Lots of people in boxes on computer screens. But perhaps in some of these images you can see people trying to reach through the screen to connect with each other.