Collective Well Being @ MSMC

At Montreal Student Movement Convention, June 19-22 2014
Time: Day Three (June 21) 6:00pm–8:30pm
Location: UQÀM main cafétéria
Facilitators: Pascale Brunet, Rushdia Mehreen, et al.
(offered to over 200 participants from across North America in small groups)

Pushed by a society that is always running, too often we’re trying to be as efficient as possible while working towards social change. Another protest, an extra meeting and, why not one more conference at lunch time. We fight for social justice… until we break down.
And even then, we feel guilty for not doing, and being, “enough”.

This workshop will be a space to reflect on collective well-being, emotional labor and self-care, to share stories, ideas and practices to create accountable and sustainable communities. It will be a moment to think about what are our needs surrounding those issues, and to take charge of the strategies that are already in place or could be implemented regarding collective well-being and self-care.

Too often, we do not take the time to question our limits and the emotional involvement that is intrinsic to activist work. We tend to stretch ourselves thin and to not take time to care for one another. How many people around us burn out, are depressed, or completely overwhelmed by everyday struggles and family life?

This is why we need to open-up a space to discuss and think about collective well-being and emotional labor in our communities. Emotional labor (active listening, acting as confidants, confidentiality, support work, mediation, defusing tensions, worrying about people being comfortable in new spaces) is almost invariably seen as being within the realm of “emotions” and arbitrarily disconnected from the political, *and therefore erased from our work*. However, it is integral to sustainable collective action and movements that cease to reproduce systemic oppressions and violence that structure our lives.

Acquiring tools and actively engaging with ideas about self-care and collective well-being are powerful ways to contribute to creating social justice.



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