April 4-9, 2011

Learning Societies Conference

It is our great pleasure to invite you to participate in the 6th Learning Societies Conference on “Contemplation, Compassion, Creativity and Courage,” organised jointly by Deer Park Institute, Shikshantar, Multiversity Network, Earth Care Designs, Possibilities, Manzil and Swaraj University.  The conference will take place from April 4-9, 2011 in Deer Park Institute.

This intergenerational conference will bring together approximately 120 leading “thinker-doers” from around South Asia who are active in challenging the monopoly of factory-schooling and nurturing diverse learning communities, vernacular traditions, intercultural dialogue and swaraj.  There will be organic farmers, artists, artisans, activists, designers, filmmakers, healers, alternative educators, entrepreneurs, homeschoolers, unschoolers, barefoot innovators, parents, youth, spiritual seekers, and more.  We believe that the agenda of
education and learning is far too important to be left to just B.Ed teachers and NCERT educationists.  As with all learning societies events, the conference is open to families and children.  
We hope to build upon the reflection, dialogue and co-motion that have been initiated in the Learning Societies network already.  There will a lot of space in the conference to explore radical ideas, proposals and projects. This is a fantastic opportunity to really think outside the box.  Most importantly, the central purpose of
the conference is to build strong friendships and critical connections.  Previous conferences have taken place in Udaipur, Mumbai, Brazil, Jordan, Pakistan, and Iran.  
Several exciting inquiries have emerged over this time, and out of these, many new

  • What is the learning ecology of each of our diverse communities?  What challenges is it
  • facing? How can we regenerate it?
  • What kinds of unlearning and uplearning experiments are significant and necessary for the
  • times we live in?  
  • How do we connect learning with healthy food, community media, zero waste, local
  • economy, cultural creativity, and other essential aspects of harmonious living?
  • What harm has factory schooling done to us?
  • How do each of our individual learning journeys relate to one another?
  • What can we do in our own lives and work to challenge the Education and Development
  • systems which are violent, exploitative and dehumanizing?
  • How can we recognize diverse forms of power, resistance, regeneration, and engage and strengthen them?
  • What are the ways to deepen and expand intercultural dialogue, trust and gift culture?

You may like to review the previous five learning societies books (published by Shikshantar) which contain over 60 essays from around the world. If you do not yet have copies, you can download them from here or you can write to shikshantar@yahoo.com for hard copies.  You can also see two previous learning societies conference films on the learning societies facebook page.
The format is of an unConference. This means that we will co-create the agenda together. There will be a lot of open space in the conference for participants to spontaneously share questions, experiences, experiments, workshops, play, music, food, treks, etc., with each other in the spirit of deep dialogue and friendship. We have also decided not to require any submission of formal academic papers. Instead, we are asking that you actively participate in the pre-conference online interactions in the coming months. We feel that this process will help us to better self-organize ourselves into a vibrant learning community when we all meet. We will be using yahoo groups and facebook for this.
The conference fees will operate on the principle of gift culture. You can contribute whatever you are able to toward the costs of food, accommodation and materials (the rough cost is about Rs.1800 per person). This applies to those staying at the group dorms and dining hall facilities at the Deer Park Institute.  Private rooms in Deerr Park are also available. Please book it by emailing Deer Park at info@deerpark.in. There are guest houses near the campus which you can book yourself (info about these will be available soon).  There are some limited resources available to help cover travel scholarships within India.  Please write to us if you will require some assistance for your travel expenses.  
Your insights and experiences will greatly enhance the discussion on learning
societies in South Asia.  Kindly send your registration form as soon as possible to
saudhakim@gmail.com. We have limited space
available. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

For more information, please dowload the invite with more details on the conference, a registration
form, and some information about the Deer Park venue.