18 December 2021 - Café Congo, Brussels

Seminar initiated by Sarah Vanhee

This seminar will bring together people who have imagined, (self) organized and set up places/collectives in Brussels or Paris, according to the needs of their respective communities, privileging the ones that are not commonly privileged within hegemonic societal paradigms. The focus will be on third places and practices where education, art and activism are not separated from other aspects of life, inspired by feminist and decolonial thinking, without necessarily claiming to do so. Places of resistance where friends, family, communities can gather, visibly or invisibly.

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This learning day intends to create the opportunity to share stories and experiences, tools and strategies, problems and challenges; know-how, rather than theory, amongst speakers and participants. How to implement the places and organizations that are needed, but not to be found or supported in dominant society? How to start from, and remain close to lived experiences, starting from embodied knowledge, rather than abstract theory? How can we trust in - and act according to parallel and possible realities, which are closer to how we would like to live, love, learn and create? This requires imagination, courage, work, community, time, energy, means, entrepreneurship, organization, luck, and so many other things.  How to manage all that, within the constraints of a patriarchal, Eurocentric capitalist reality?

The title from the seminar is borrowed from * bell hooks, and her seminal work on education as the practice of freedom. For this “day for learning together”, Sarah Vanhee invites people who have initiated organizations where education is more or less explicitly present, and where praxis is central. People from five different organizations/collectives will exchange their knowledge, by sharing their experiences and questions: Café Congo, Collectif Susu, Rester.Etranger, Brave, and bodies of knowledge (BOK).

Formats depend on the different contributions of the guests, in a spirit of dialogue and exchange, based on lived experiences.

Main languages: English, Dutch, French (with informal translation, possibly also to Arabic and Turkish)

Throughout the workshop, childcare with activities can be provided for parents-participants. In order to be able to foresee that, please let us know by November 15 in case you will be in company of child(ren).

Seminar is free for all, but registration required.

Programme

  • 09:30 - 10:00  welcome coffee & tea
  • 10:00 - 10:15  welcome by Sarah Vanhee
  • 10:15 - 11:15  Café Congo
  • 11:30 - 13:00  Collectif SUSU
  • 13:00 - 14:00  lunch
  • 14:00 - 14:30  BOK
  • 14:30 - 15:30  Rester.Etranger
  • 15:45 - 16:45 B.R.A.V.E
  • 17:00 - 18:00 panel discussion with all guests

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Café Congo

Cafe Congo, invites you to (re)consider the current Belgo-Congolese relations and to enter an artistic way of thinking that stays connected to the world. It’s a cultural Third Place at Studio CityGate, dedicated to resistance, solidarity and multidisciplinary artistic creations, for communities from African diasporas in Belgium and feminist & LGTB/Queer communities. It is therefore a circulation of artists, both racialized and queer, that vitalizes this spot. Present for Café Congo: Gia Abrassart

B.R.A.V.E.

B.R.A.V.E. is a community center dedicated to the arts as a tool for reflection and action on bodies and identities politics.

We organize creative workshops, exhibitions, artistic and cultural events, participatory library, discussion groups, reflection and support groups, etc. aiming to raise awareness, fight stereotypes and discriminations, and demystifying arts.

Present for BRAVE: Leïla la Boubou

COLLECTIF SUSU

Susu Collective was born in November 2020. It is a citizen anti-capitalist, and afro-feminist collective from Brussels. Its main goal is to regain political power within the afrodescendant community in Belgium and fight against the oppression the community has to deal with. Their actions are an extension of historical anti-racist struggles and tend to put in place strategies of collective struggle. Currently, they provide assistance and administrative support to afro-descendant people in difficulty. The members of the collective noticed that people are isolated while facing various forms of precarity. For them, getting out of shame, silence and experiencing mutual aid/care are the first step to getting organized.
Present: Collectif Susu

RESTER.ETRANGER

À la fois œuvre et auteure, la Famille Rester. Étranger performe son entrée en France et dans la langue française. Sur ce seuil géographique, administratif, juridique, littéral, littéraire et poétique, émerge une écriture chorale qu’iels appellent fle, de l’acronyme FLE, Français Langue Étrangère. La langue augmentée d’expressions des langues maternelles des auteur.e.s est performée, imprimée, manuscrite sur des supports durables et périssables, tels que sols, murs, vitres, affiches, post-it, cartes, bobines de papier, ou trouvant hospitalité dans la forme d’un livre, d’un film, d’une création radiophonique. En 2019 la Famille Rester. Étranger ouvre sa maison à Saint-Denis. 

Present for Rester.Etranger: Barbara Manzetti

bodies of knowledge (BOK)

BOK is a place where people can learn from each other. Things one usually does not learn, told by voices that are not always heard, from different parts of society and the world. In BOK we exchange knowledge that feeds a more just and humane society. It is a space to listen, to ask, to connect.  BOK welcomes life experts rather than professional authorities.

BOK is a loose collective of people who live in Brussels and are interested in the underexposed knowledge that lives in the city. bodies of knowledge are the people who use BOK as a platform to share their knowledge that is usually underexposed, silenced or invisibilized.

Present for BOK: Nadia Mharzi, Damla Ekin Tokel, Jean-Baptiste Polge, Flore Herman, Sarah Vanhee

(Sarah Vanhee is a PHD researcher at ARIA and the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp and initiator of bodies of knowledge (how to claim public space as a forum for the exchange of non-dominant, invisibilized and suppressed knowledge)