PROJECT DRASIC: Apply for a FREE Bursary Here

This project aims to help address and dismantle the harmful, oppressive, destructive and divisive racialisation of humanity in ways that lead to non-adversarial pro-social and equitable change. This project will also facilitate the development of compassion, authenticity, humility, integrity, solidarity, and belonging so that participants are able to create positive connections within and between groups working towards dismantling racism and social inequality collectively (DRASIC).

 

How:

This DRASIC Mindfulness Based Inclusion Training is for black, brown and people of colour that we collectively refer to here as BPOC communities. The programme is a uniquely designed educational mindfulness based training that draws on diverse African centred wisdoms to embrace difference and connect throughout our common humanity. The project also combines the personal and collective benefits of contemplative practice, reflection, dialogue and critical thinking through a unique community of practice framework specifically designed for BPOC groups. Following BPOC training, participants will have the choice to join further multiracial group sessions where we will continue our collective work to dismantle racism from all directions.

Consequently, the DRASIC project is composed of two main components including:

  • Provision of Four BPOC MBIT DRASIC online courses, that comprise the first level of a broader social enterprise programme.
  • Provision of MBIT inter-racial discussion and practice groups to explore collaborative initiatives and strategies for reclaiming humanity.

Why this Project? 

The complex combination of colonisation, chattel slavery, and racialisation of humanity has resulted in embedded social constructs that divide communities, societies, and nations, into racial hierarchical power structures, that still cause significant harm in the world today.

Consequently, this project aims to reveal some of the unknowns about what we call, justice, equity, diversity and inclusion or for short “JEDI work” to uncover and dismantle structures that have caused and continue to cause significant and detrimental impacts on the human psyche, health and wellbeing.

These issues have resulted in deep relational wounds within and between racialised groups which are seldom addressed either explicitly, or in a deeply contemplative or reflective way, without giving rise to colour-blindness or spiritual bypass, defined as the tendency to use spiritual ideas and practices to side swerve unresolved emotional psychological and developmental tasks; or the temptation to feel our spirituality makes us exempt from racism and thus there is no need to examine the impact of race in our lives. Both of which limit our abilities to work collectively to dismantle and transform the oppressive impacts of racialisation.

Project background 

This project was born out of the need to support BPOC specifically as a rebalance to the focus of JEDI training for racialised white people. As such, this project follows the Mindful Action on Whiteness project created by Paula Sonrisa-Sturmer, that included an Oversight Group of specialists from the BPOC community.

Following this work, the Oversight Group, now known as the “OG’s, have combined their lived experiences in the context of racialisation into a joint wish to both live and be the change they want to see in the world.

This has resulted in the OG’s coming together through an interracial invitation to collaborate on this project that aims builds something that continues to alleviate racism collectively beyond our immediate circles.

Consequently, following the courses to be delivered to the BPOC community only. The Urban Mindfulness Foundation and DRASIC Team will create a collaborative space where multicultural dialogue and practice can take place that focuses our attention on initiatives that reduce all forms of identity based harm and thus offers agency, purpose and opportunity to those with the lived experience of oppression and marginalisation.

Who is the programme for? 

  • People of colour who identify as black, African, Caribbean, Asian or Global South heritage or Diaspora who have an aspiration to learn how we might dismantle racism and social inequality collectively and mindfully.
  • Those interested in the educational upskilling of all people of colour who might wish to open new possibilities to discuss, reflect upon and therefore transform fixed and negative notions of race based harm collectively.
  • Those interested in fostering solidarity between BPOC communities and statutory organisations to build trust and individual and collective agency, that works cross culturally at dismantling racism and social inequalities in a way that is grounded in integrity for all oppressed groups and wider society.
  • Those interested in building the capacity of BPOC to promote diversity and inclusion in their groups and workplaces through non adversarial peer learning support grounded in mindful reflection and contemplation.
  • Those interested in enhancing inter-cultural competence and understanding through dialogue and collaborative anti-racist initiatives that alleviate racial suffering and nurtures mutual care for self, others and planet.
  • Those interested in influencing policy makers and commissioners through a solidarity project that aims to build the evidence base for BPOC communities, by BPOC communities that facilitate engagement with culturally appropriate mindfulness training.
  • Those interested in development of a collaborative enterprise and social mobility initiative designed to address all forms of identity based harm as we grow in a way that disrupts indifference to oppression through collaborative prosocial change grounded in solidarity, mindful contemplative practice and action.

Cohort dates for courses

Please review the dates below carefully to ensure you are able to attend all of the online sessions and then select which cohorts you would be able to attend when completing your application. By selecting more than one cohort that you can attend, you will increase your application chances as there are only ten free bursary places per cohort. You will be notified shortly after applying whether your application has been successful and which cohort you are being offered a space on.

Spring

Cohort 1 – Saturday 9th April 10am – Saturday 9th July | NOW FULL

Cohort 2 – Sunday 10th April 10am – Sunday 10th July | NOW FULL

Autumn

Cohort 3 – Saturday 17th September 10am – Saturday 17th December | Spaces available

Cohort 4 – Sunday 18th September 10am – Sunday 18th December | Spaces available

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Funded by:

What will I get from attending the programme?

Each participant will gain experiential insight into the personal and collective potential of a socially informed mindfulness/ contemplative practice designed to dismantle racism and social inequalities.

There will also be opportunities for participants to join a unique collaboration in anti-racism and transgressional education and teaching that deepens and nurtures a sense of solidarity through personal and collective wellbeing, enterprise, social mobility and solidarity. A key element of the project is to introduce a new form of social mindfulness that is selected for research by and for BPOC. Consequently, we hope that being part of this ground breaking project will offer unique opportunities for teaching and career developments that we trust will emerge from the project.

Together we intend to create the first wave of recognised UK socially informed mindfulness teachers and Mindfulness-Based JEDI consultants from the BPOC community who are committed to working together in solidarity as a unique form of activism.

 

Project outcomes

Overall, this project focuses on addressing the negative aspects of racialisation in ways that lead to non-adversarial and equitable change. It will facilitate the development of compassion so that participants are able to create positive connections within and between racialised groups that dismantle racism and social inequality collectively. The project also aims to develop a group of dedicated socially and culturally aware contemplative/ mindfulness practitioners grounded in an understanding of mindfulness, race and social oppressions.

Following completion of the course, participants will have the choice to to meet with selected racialised white allies who have committed to racial equity work that centres solidarity, in an MBIT inter-racial discussion and practice group.

This programme is also the starting point of a more in-depth and long-term process that can support individuals to progress through levels 2 to 5 and become approved MBIT mindfulness teachers, and “JEDI Consultants”.

We are also working very hard to develop important collaborative relationships with existing mindfulness teacher training organisations and strategic institutions to deliver MBIT CPD’s, workshops and modules that can be embedded into existing training programmes or bolted onto programmes as optional modules. Consequently, we hope that those who develop a dedicated practice from these cohorts will be able to progress to co-leading or delivering the opportunities that we will create. We also hope this project will stimulate additional funding so existing cohorts can receive further bursaries. Whilst a long term vision, we are also exploring whether franchise opportunities would be appropriate to make at least one Urban Mindfulness Foundation group in every UK City!

Who will be facilitating the courses? 

The BPOC version of MBIT is an amazing collaborative design bringing together:

Aesha and Dean Francis who are the founders of the Urban Mindfulness Foundation and MBIT programme designed for Mindfulness Teachers. Dean and Aesha are also Mindfulness-based EDI Consultants to the Mindfulness Association. Dean is also the Sussex Mindfulness Centre EDI consultant and a EDI co-lead and Trustee at BAMBA. Both Dean and Aesha have studied a Masters in Mindfulness and focused their research on dismantling racism and social inequality collectively.

Byron Lee is our most experienced mindfulness teacher who brings an amazing and welcomed 1000 years of traceable Chinese heritage to this amazing team. Byron is also a registered counsellor, group worker, author, and compassionate inclusive leadership facilitator with 30+ years of experience supporting individuals, groups and organisational change across multiple sectors.

Usha Kar is an International development charity CEO, with a focus on gender analysis and development. Usha is also a conceptual artist and will present an artistic journey as part of the training. Usha has also followed many humanitarian expeditions including offering humanitarian aid in response to the Bosnian War. As such Usha provides a confident straight talking lived experience of marginalisation to this amazing team.

Dr Helene Neveu Kringelbach, is an anthropologist and UCL Lecturer working in the field of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within academia. Helen is also an Author of her own book and will share some of her experiences with you along the journey. For joy Helene also engages with mindful dance and Environmental Activism as part of Extinction Rebellion and other organisations.

Each course will be facilitated by the BPOC members of the team, including Dean and Aesha, Byron, Usha and Helene. Guest speakers and wisdom keepers, singers, story tellers and more will also be included on this journey to offer the BPOC community a unique and culturally relevant perspective on how we might address identity based harm, and inequalities within the fields of mindfulness, activism, climate justice, the workplace/business, health care education and grassroots communities in solidarity with all beings and planet.

What prerequisites, past experience or training do I need?

Whilst you do not need to have any previous experience of mindfulness training, if you have completed any of the courses listed on the BAMBA website or something similar, you will have some familiarity with the mindfulness aspects of the training.  However, it is essential that participants have an ongoing interest in grappling with the reality of racialisation and whom are keen to be part of making change in their sector in the context of JEDI Work. This programme is therefore specifically targeted at those from the BPOC community working in mindfulness, climate and social justice, activism, business, education, the workplace or grassroots communities where racism is an issue.

Other prerequisites:

What is my commitment as a participant?

The initial programme includes attendance to 9 online sessions that will last between 2.5hr to 3hr sessions following an initial introductory session.

The course also has an online component to aid personal study and practice that allows you to keep a mindfulness diary for reflections and contemplations. The online area will also offer video material of important thinkers, speakers and artists to deepen your learning. As such, you are encouraged to discover ways to create space for the additional online learning and to ensure you keep up with the course. Guided meditations will also be provided online alongside course material covered in the sessions.

It is important participants are as punctual as possible and are able to attend each zoom session. Participants are also encouraged to engage with the material to explore their own unique cultural heritage and find common ground and links of authenticity.

Optional follow up courses and trainings will take participants on a three to five year training pathway where they will be able to deliver the MBIT training in their own context and work as a JEDI consultant. At which point participants may also be eligible for referrals to deliver CPD’s, workshops and modules to partner organisations in the field of mindfulness and also potentially become an Urban Mindfulness Foundation Franchisee if we are able to build resources.

Racialised white allies and team members

Dr Jo Hamilton has initiated and contributes to a number of interracial and racialised white groups to explore and dismantle internalised racial oppressions. She facilitates group work for social and ecological justice such as the Work that Reconnects [https://workthatreconnects.org/], and is a researcher exploring the social and psychological dimensions of cliamte and social justice issues. 

Paula Sonrisa Sturmer, is a mindfulness teacher, founder of the “Mindful Action on Whiteness” (MAW) project and co-creator of the Mindfulness for Social Change Network. Paula has worked across international development, grassroots activism and mindfulness settings in capacity building, advocacy, fundraising and influencing organisational development. Paula has also done in-depth training of trainers with “Training for Change in the States”. Paula is currently working with the Permaculture Association and the Ulex Project, Spain. As such we are eternally grateful to Paula and the (MAW) project that has led to the creation of this project.

 

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