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Second Annual Michaelmas Conference

Updated: Sep 27, 2019

With much anticipation and after months of planning, we kicked off our 2019 Michaelmas Conference at the Novalis Ubuntu Institute in Wynberg. "We must not be tempted to give our own ethical codes to young people as they make their way into life. Since these will leave them unfree when it becomes necessary that they find their own moral impulses.” says first time Michaelmas Participant Sinethemba Kweleta, after studying Rudolf’s Steiners lecture on “Education and the Moral Life” at the conference.

The 3-day conference saw 45 Community Art Facilitators in attendance.

In the morning's participants worked in groups of 12 on growing observation skills according to Goethe´s observation method and did an in-depth study on Rudolf’s Steiners lecture “Education and the Moral Life” more relevant than ever with the currently reported crimes in South Africa relating to gender-based violence.

Dr. Steiner opened the first Waldorf School in Stuttgart 100 years ago which grew into a movement for renewal of education with a focus on the child´s moral, spiritual and creative development balancing out the academic education. Rudolf Steiner is the founder of Anthroposophy, which nurtures and inspires many of the BAP team members. The Michaelmas conference creates space for diving deeper into anthroposophical understanding the wisdom (sophia) about the human being (anthropos).

In the afternoons 2.5h practical workshops such as introducing traumatic-stress relief tools, three-foldness in artistic media, self-care for the social activist and trauma in childhood were on offer.

Participant, Madiega Jacobs, a satisfied Community Art Facilitator said:

I enjoyed the mix of people, cultures, personalities, opinions and experiences. Thought provoking theories, enlightened discussions & soul-searching art therapy were the successful themes. Beautifully achieved. Gratefully received. Looking forward to the next one!”.

Let us introduce you to this year's faculty:

Briar Grimley is a mainstream and Waldorf Mathematics teacher, started the McGregor Waldorf School, and is a pioneer of the Young Schools’ Initiative Group for the birthing of 10 new Waldorf schools in the Western Cape. She has served on the Regional and National Federation of Waldorf Schools in South Africa. Together with her husband, Michael, they run a partnership, KalloSophia, through which they run artistic self-development activities for adults, teacher and parent enrichment workshops, and teacher mentoring. Briar trained as a story-teller with the International School of Story Telling and is a facilitator for the Active Practical Love courses.

Michael Grimley is an art teacher with a master’s degree in Fine Arts, and for many years was a teacher in both mainstream and Waldorf schools in South Africa. He was a lecturer at the Centre of Creative Education, in Cape Town, directed an in-service training program for upper school teachers, and initiated the work of the Pedagogical Section in the country. He served both on the Council of the country’s Federation of Waldorf Schools, and as a member of the International Forum for Waldorf Education. He continues giving lectures, training and enrichment programmes in Waldorf Schools and Conferences countrywide. Together with Briar, he also continues running KalloSophia initiatives.

Charlene Jefferies worked as a Waldorf teacher for over 14 years, working with children at Michael Oak, Roseway, Raphaeli and Imhoff Waldorf Schools. She taught artistic processes to aspiring Waldorf teachers between their first to third years at the Centre for Creative Education. She has taught painting and drawing technique privately and is now involved in working with the Butterfly Art Project, facilitating weekly Artist’s Hubs for CAFs and developing a practical module to artistically manage disaster-stricken and traumatised children in the Vrygrond Township.

Lionel Chanarin was born into an anthroposophical family and attended the Waldorf School from kindergarten until grade 12 before joining the circus and touring internationally for 6 years as a trapeze artist, juggler and acrobat. At 17 Lionel picked up a Steiner book from his father's bookshelf and became deeply interested in the living concepts therein, which became a personal study. Upon his return to SA he studied Waldorf education and became a primary school teacher for 7 years while, at the same time, developing the Living Arts Foundation and Sisonke Social Circus, where he is currently the Managing Director. Lionel works with many communities, schools and institutions, bringing community healing and regeneration through artful engagement, movement, circus skills and lecture courses and workshops.

Noy Pullen holds a BA in Mathematics, English & Philosophy and is an acknowledged group biography counsellor at the Anthroposophical Centre for Social Development. Trained as a colour consultant (UK and Canada). Designed and facilitated social workshops called ‘Living Conversation’ with Malcolm Daniels at Tobias School of Art in the U.K. Participant on Coenraad van Houten’s Inner Schooling Course initiative at the Centre and part of his original ‘Destiny Learning’ core research, based on the 7 life processes, shedding light on how adults learn, how to understand & possibly transform karma and to undertake spiritual research into the riddle of the human being.

Angela Katschke graduated as an art therapist from a German University in 1999. Since then she has been working in psychiatric, psychosomatic and psycho-therapeutic medicine with all age groups. Anthroposophy has been her source for deeper knowledge and guidance since 1993. Coming to South Africa she specialised in the field of art therapy for traumatised children living in unsafe and unstable communities. Angela founded the Butterfly Art Project in October 2010, an organisation bringing creativity and healing through art to children growing up in marginalised communities. She has developed several training modules for Community Art Facilitator training and still oversees curriculum development.

Martin Wigand became a Waldorf teacher after obtaining his master's degrees in Physics and Mathematics from the University in Heidelberg, Germany. Then he became part of a group of young teachers founding the Waldorf School in Heidelberg. He has taught at Waldorf High Schools in Germany and South Africa for 17 years and also taught in Government and private schools. He trained students in Waldorf education at Baobab Community College in Alexandra Township. He deeply believes that education is the key to overcoming the social ills in society.

We would like to thank all those that attended and participated in this educational conference and to those who made it possible.

"We as facilitators need to be much more aware of our role as authority figures in the moral education of the children we work. It is how we conduct ourselves, not what we say. I now have a heightened awareness that solutions cannot be planned, I must capacitate myself and practice to be able to respond to the needs of children in the moment in the most effective way."

Says BAP assistant director, Gardie Judge as we concluded yet another successful conference.

The 2019 Michaelmas Conference saw faculty members, BAP Staff, Community Art Facilitators, funders and guests come together for an enriching 3-day experience.

All in unity: Each day started with a morning ring where participants engaged in group exercises lead by faculty member Lionel Chanarin.

Balancing act: Thoerria Najar-Philander and Lionel Chanarin demonstrating balance and trust during the ring time activity.

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They look very happy. It seems like they really enjoy those extracurricular activities. connections game


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