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Camp: Report on skillshare weekend

by Aron Baker Monday, Nov 7 2005, address: RossportBrief overview of the skillshare weekend held at the Rossport Solidarity House in Mayo over the Halloween weekend, which had workshops on many issues as well as a tour of the area and a party Sunday night.
A skill share weekend was held in the Rossport Solidarity House in Mayo over the Halloween weekend. Around 30 people attended the weekend which featured skill based workshops, discussions, tour of the area and a party on Sunday night. Great vegetarian food was served all weekend by contingents of the Bitchin Kitchen cooking collective and volunteers. Accommodation was provided in the house, the bender and the caravan. Things kicked off on Saturday morning with a workshop on activist tactics. After lunch a short intro and welcome was given, by Maria, as most of the participants had by this time arrived, followed by two simultaneous workshops where people could choose from learning to make a bender and a discussion on media and how to deal with same. A small bender was constructed, under Dan’s tutelage, from materials which had been gathered mainly for free, the entire bender being constructed for less than e12.5. Dan proceeded to prove his workmanship and teaching by sleeping in it for the duration of the weekend.After dinner this was followed up with a safer spaces presentation and discussion. This difficult and often taboo subject, presented by Miriam, Marianne and Darren, helped participants understand and appreciate issues facing men and women, mainly with regard to sexual assault etc. Sunday morning all new faces were taken on a bus tour of the area, where Glengad, Ballinaboy and Rossport were all visited and several involved locals helped tour guide Tracey to paint a clear picture of the Shell to Sea campaign, the role of the Solidarity camp and of Shells actions in the torrid affair. Terrence explained about the terminal site and John talked in depth of the entire campaign, which helped all the new people come up to speed on the issue as well as painting a clear picture of the pipe line, its proposed route and its potential consequences. During the tour a breakaway faction developed, consisting of a half dozen brazen souls, who on seeing the beach and sea at Glengad sprinted across the sand, stripped off and jumped into the sea, despite the rain, but an unfortunate gust of wind sent many clothes flying across the wet beach. Older faces who were already familiar with the campaign and proposed pipeline route and terminal relaxed at home and participated in some Tai Chi.After lunch Andy presented a workshop on alternative technologies, with an emphases on camp applications and possibilities. This included water systems, grey water systems, hot water systems, solar and wind based electricity generation and storage of electricity.Later people chose between workshops on Permaculture by Aishling and Legal support given by Owen. Aishling explained the principles of permaculture before helping people to apply the principles to a working activists camp in order to maximise the potential resources of a camp, minimise waste and ensure an erogonomic design. Owen dealt with many issues which may face activists especially in the Shell to Sea campaign, these included property ownership, way leave, trespass, arrest and rights, Garda rights, legal rights etc.Dinner was followed by a heated workshop and discussion on male privilege for the men and a women’s circle dealing with personal issues for the women.When all discussions had finished everyone got down to the serious business of dressing up for the Halloween party, which went on until the wee hours. Many thanks to all who participated, especially those who gave workshops, prepared food and set up the house for so many people. The aim of the weekend was to equip those who are involved and those who want to get involved in this campaign and indeed other campaigns with skills and knowledge which will help them to take action more effectively and with more confidence. On a personal note I learnt a lot over the weekend and had a great time and due to everyone’s generosity with regard to the suggested donation of e25 we managed to make a small profit of approx e200 which will go towards funding the campaign.

Posted Date: 
7 November 2005 - 8:43am