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Ground breaking course starting in February: Moving beyond #Metoo

Wednesday, January 23, 2019   Posted in: Training By: CWEA With tags: Training, culture, human rights, Courses, social justice

Moving Beyond #MeToo - Practice and Theory for a Changing World is an eight-week course starting at Canterbury Workers' Educational Association (CWEA) in February 2019. It is open to everyone and the organisers hope it will attract women, men, trans, and non-gender binary people who wish to identify how sexism operates in our society and develop the tools to move beyond it.

This course is about developing skills and tools to help society make the much needed changes it needs to move beyond #Metoo, with expert presenters, practical workshops and time for in-depth discussion.

Moving Beyond #MeToo aims to provide a safe space to assist people to learn the skills needed to create an inclusive culture that ensures that all the people of Aotearoa inherit a society that is both safe and treats them equally, regardless of gender, race or class.

The WEA has a number of fully funded places for professional development available from its Social Justice Fund - particularly aimed at those working or volunteering in the sector whose organisations might struggle to meet the course fee. Call the Christchurch WEA office if you would like to be considered for a scholarship (03 366 0285).

Dates: 8 Mondays, from 11th February 2019.
Time: 7 to 9pm.
Cost: $68 per person including GST.

Find out more or enrol online for the Moving Beyond #MeToo from CWEA.

Find out more about the Moving Beyond #MeToo course from CWEA (Facebook).

About the development of the Moving Beyond #MeToo course

The course was the idea of Dr. Sharon McIver, and has been developed with assistance from Dr. Karyn Stewart. McIver is director of waste prevention social enterprise Our Daily Waste and says that the basic outline for the course came quickly while driving the 50km from her home to Christchurch - the month after the Harvey Weinstein story broke. "I was going to a meeting with two wonderful members of a women's club who wanted me to be on a committee. I loathe committees so while I drove I thought about what I could offer the club instead. With my university background, teaching was the obvious choice, and instantly I thought about Harvey Weinstein and the Me Too movement."

From the start McIver knew that it had to have a strong practical component and feature experts. "This subject requires urgent attention so I knew it had to be practical with workshops on the law, police, consent, masculinity, pornography and women's self defence, all things that I'm not actually an expert in. The meeting went well and that afternoon I met with Karyn and invited her to join me, and over the next two months we worked on the outline."

They discovered that not everyone was enthusiastic after presenting at the women's club in early 2018, and the project was put on hold until the right organisation could be found. "I was grateful that the club had sparked the project, but all through Autumn I had a feeling that the WEA was the right place," says McIver. "One day I was working on the same street, it was written in my diary, and there was a park outside. I was immediately taken to see the new course convener, and it turned out to be Lottie Vinson, who I had previously worked with at Project Lyttelton. From that moment I knew the course had found the perfect home."

The course also fit the WEA's purpose for Vinson, which has been providing adult and community education in Christchurch for over 100 years. She says, "For much of that time the WEA's purpose has centred on challenging the status quo, driving progressive thought and encouraging Christchurch's citizens to take action on the big issues of the day. The Me Too movement has unmasked one of the biggest issues facing us right now and that the WEA can be part of the much needed discussion and discourse is just so exciting."

From then Moving Beyond #MeToo came together quickly. Two of the first to agree to take workshops were Grand Master Chan and MP Jan Logie. McIver trained in martial arts at Chan's in the 1980s and took his women's self defence course. "What I learned on that course has saved me from sexual assault on a number of occasions, so I also wanted to thank him. He was so gracious when I phoned and we are honoured to have him teach a workshop."

Vinson previously worked for MP Jan Logie, so made that connection and the office came back with a yes and some dates within two minutes of being contacted. Julie McCloy from Family Violence services Aviva was approached and the organisation agreed to teach on consent, and also provide a volunteer to each workshop in case of attendees experiencing trauma. Scott Anderson from the NZ Police will be tackling police procedures and how to make current and historical complaints. From the University of Canterbury, will be Associate Professor Natalie Baird discussing the legal position of women in the UN charter, and the timely subject of toxic masculinity will be tackled by Associate Professor Ekant Veer. Finally, youth educator Dylan Walls from Aviva will be teaching on the effects of pornography on children.

"I am absolutely humbled by the calibre of presenters we have, along with all the informal support we've received along the way. This will be a pilot course and if successful we hope to develop it further and take it to industry and the rest of the country," says McIver.

Contacts for interviews and further information:

  • Sharon McIver - Course convener: sharon[at]ourdailywaste.co.nz or  021 2516 123;
  • Karyn Stewart - Course convener: karyn.stewart[at]canterbury.ac.nz or 021 0707 048;
  • Lottie Vinson - CWEA Coordinator: programme[at]cwea.org.nz or 03 366 0285 or 021 1201 654.

Healthy Christchurch Champions

  • Canterbury District Health Board
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Environment Canterbury
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ngai Tahu
  • NZ Police
  • Pegasus Health
  • University of Otago, Christchurch