We were invited by Debbie Schkolne of The Learning Trust to introduce our Narrative Practice work at a COP wellness day in Philippi in May. We were thrilled to be introduced to the large group of people involved in the After School care arena. Thank you to Jacqui Boulle from the After School Game Changer for “joining the dots” and connecting our work to so many incredible organisations.
... for winning “Best Song” for “Myciekind maak oop jou oë” - a hard hitting rap about domestic violence and coming alongside women who are suffering its effects - at the Suidooster Fees!
We have much to celebrate!
Our first naming of the co-op happened over a coffee and a dreaming-forward discussion, where the concept of a Co-op “downloaded” out of thin air…”What about calling ourselves the Cape Town Narrative Co-op?”…it was one of those moments where the air went still and we looked at each other and said, “Yes! Let’s do it”
Co-op is the perfect word for our work in Narrative Practice -
- adjective = involving mutual assitance in working towards a common goal.
- noun = a farm, business or organisation which is run jointly by its members.
- synonyms = co-authorship, collaborative, collective, communal, combined, joint, shared, mutual, united, unified, allied, concerted, co-ordinated, interactive, unanimous, harmonious, coactive
Our five years of teaching, coaching and training together as the Cape Town Narrative Co-op reflects our approach and implementation of our work.
We teach together, plan together and dream together…always led by needs/requests that are identified locally and responding by developing tailor-made teaching material.
To date our work has crept into various corners of South Africa, including Natal, the Eastern Cape and mostly around our home - the Western Cape. The responses to our workshops and Narrative coaching have warmed our enthusiasm to do more…to step further into our dream and conviction that these beautiful ideas and ways need to be made accessible to everyday people living everyday lives.
We have developed, taught, trained, mentored and coached the following Narrative Practice concepts to parents, teachers, facilitators and others working with children and young people:
- Narrative Practice as developing preferred stories in community contexts.
- Introduction to Narrative Practice (our basic workshop) offered to people who want to learn about Narrative Practice and its possible application to their personal lives and/or the lives of their organisations.
- Narrative principals - The Voice Project has been conceptualised to reach school Principals and leaders in organisations working with young people...….
- Narrative Practice as Whole School Practice (training and development of NP as whole school practice at a school)
- Bullying: an invitation to responsibility as Whole School Practice - Bullying has become a popular topic at schools (and other organisations) and we are regularly asked about our approach to this worrying and increasingly evidenced problem in our schools and communities. Narrative Therapist, Alan Jenkins has been a strong guide in this aspect of our work.
- Transformation, Discourses and Culture: inviting a Narrative approach to en-culturing belongingness (workshop for schools / small organisation)
- Narrative Parenting - workshop inviting Narrative ideas to support the development of preferred stories about children and families..
We have just had a longstanding dream of ours come true when we had our first ever Voice Workshop for School Principals over the past weekend! Thank you to principals...Read More
Twaalf jaar gelede het ek vir die eerste keer afgekom op ryk bronne van poësie in die lewens van Kaapse jongomense. Dié ontginning was die begin van piemp. Met piemp wou ek oor die jare vir jongmense ‘n ervaring gee dat hulle elkeen iets het om te sê en dat ek dit wou hoor.
Piemp is ‘n werkwoord van praat en uitpraat. Maar om om woorde te vind is nie altyd eenvoudig nie. Daarom breek piemp die reëls van stilbly en 'jou plek ken'.
Saterdag deel die jong digters van Weltevrede Sekondêr in Wellington hulle wêreld met ons. Toe ek agttien maande gelede vir Lethan Fisher vra hoekom hy in Afrikaans skryf, het hy geantwoord: ‘Deesdae dink mense Afrikaans is dood, maar ek wil Afrikaans groot maak.’
Dié werk slaan my asem weg, laat my lekkerkry, gee my hoendervleis, laat my huil.. Weltevrede se piempers maak Afrikaans groot. - Thérèse Hulme.
Piemper Katelin Morris (regs) met haar vriendin en mede-rapper Abigail Bastiaan
We have dedicated much of our educational work to teaching and supporting primary and high school educators in South Africa, helping them to bring a Narrative Therapy approach into the everyday lives of the young people they reach.
Through our experience of working in diverse contexts, we believe that it is these teachers and other so-called “lay counsellors” who are well positioned to help young people develop better/preferred narratives for their lives. The Voice project is our response to the harsh societal realities affecting children’s lives in South Africa; these are realities that result from invisibility, lack of voice, limited educational opportunities and exposure to high levels of violence and abuse.
In our many years of working in educational contexts, we have witnessed the powerful difference Narratively orientated teachers make by creating a context in which children can begin to re-story their lives. We believe that school leaders are well placed to foster and grow a Narrative ethos in their school communities, where everyone is aligned around preferred values and intentions for the wellbeing of children in their care. Our aim by inviting heads and other school leaders is for them to join us in inspiring under-resourced teachers in the Western Cape to see their roles as being more than academics.. We believe that Narrative Practice offers the means of transforming school communities into heartbeats of social justice and care.
To this end, The Cape Town Narrative Co-op is offering a ten hour (one and a half day) workshop to train and up-skill participants through an Introduction to Narrative Practice. We will be sharing our skills and experience to support educators in finding more hopeful ways of supporting the children in their care.
Practicalities of the project
Focusing on a re-storying and response-based philosophy of practice, the Voice project invites participants who are currently involved in education. The project is divided into a first and second phase.
Phase 1: Principals in the Western Cape are invited to the first 10 hour Voice workshop for primary and secondary school principals. Principals may volunteer one other member of their staff to join them on the workshop. The first phase workshop, with a maximum of 20 participants, is planned for Friday afternoon October 13th (15:00 - 18:00) and Saturday October 14th (8:30 - 15:30). Venue to be confirmed.
Due to a generous sponsorship by George Ducharme and Francois Conradie of Ducharme Consulting, we are able to offer this workshop free of charge. However, participants are expected to attend both days of the workshop.
Phase 2: Principals who want to take Narrative ideas into their school communities can approach us for a Voice workshop at their school during 2018.
The cost of our 10 hour workshop is R 15 000 for full staff training. A limited number of partial sponsorships are available for this workshop.
Please contact us if you would like to apply for the first workshop or if you require more information. Please will you RSVP soonest as we are offering the 10 available places for principals on a first come first serve basis this year. The closing date for applications is 20 September, but it seems that we might fill up earlier.
Thérèse : 0834504606 email@example.com
Linda: 0845552346 firstname.lastname@example.org
• Forres school, Rondebosch: This is one of the first schools to light up with Narrative Practice as whole school practice in South Africa and has a strong Narrative Practice track record spanning over ten years. On Saturday 10 June, a generative and heart-warming morning get-together was held with the school leaders, support staff and parent community, who volunteered to meet on the topic of Diversity, Transformation and Belongingness. Kim van der Hoven’s opening address introduced our Belongingness Project initiative as well as the rest of the work we have done collaboratively over the past few years. Her address was one where you might have heard a pin drop in the room…relevant, insightful and totally on the mark of what working with Diversity means in a primary school context. Those at my group table were visibly moved.
• Engaging the support of her dynamic, supportive team, Kim works thoughtfully and tirelessly hoping to ensure that no child, family or member of staff should experience that terrible sense of Unbelongingness in this vibrant school community. The Narrative Co-op has spent a number of years working alongside this school, and continues to consult on an ongoing basis. Thumbs up to Forres: An insider-experience on Saturday morning tells me that this work of Inviting Belongingness is the way to go!
The Springfield & Pinelands North Primary Collections
We are still on a high after meeting awesome teachers, counsellors and social workers during our March and April workshops at Springfield and Pinelands North Primary. We twice spent an uplifting 16 hours with people who were interested in bring Narrative ideas into their own everyday practices. Special thanks to Gabby, Janet, Lisa and Joanne. Your enthusiasm for Narrative started something really special for all of us..
Here is a sampler of the feedback we received from the School Counsellors who attended our workshop at Springfield:
Rosemarie: "What I take home is to be more creative and not fall into the trap of becoming 'so boring at times' and getting stuck and frustrated. Through your approach to counselling a new meaning emerges - so simple in many ways but yet so amazing and meaningful.."
Lisa E : "I simply love the approach you ( as Narrative therapists) take to empower people in our country to take a stand against bullying and abuse. It is a political issue...Through the medium of poetry, letters, bookwriting, blogs, drama, each person who felt marginalised can speak out. This is a dream come true...I can see that, as a therapeutic process, it is 'decolonising' those attributes that we take on in South Africa: that we are not worthy; do not matter; have no part to play. Thank you for making visible the invisible."
Gabby: "How can I even begin to tell you what I have gained from this experience? It has been a great joy to me personally, professionally and interpersonally.."
Here are things some of the teachers at Pinelands North Primary had to say about our workshop:
Haley: "Wow. Firstly thank you so much for engaging both my brain and emotions with such simple yet powerful teachings. I am personally taking away the fact that I may not be able to change my past but I can change the narrative of it. I can then define myself by my preferred story. As a teacher I am so excited to be able to recognise that I am a witness to so many precious little lives. That I can daily challenge myself to listen and to look for the 'spaces' and help navigate them (children) to their preferred stories. This is such a powerful, life changing and healing 'therapy'/practice. SO POSITIVE! Lastly what a relief to know that I dont have to help 'fix' the problem or have all the answers - as we often do... Thank you again for a 'life/ career' changing course."
Leonore: "Thank you Thérèse and Linda for making me both see the small stitches of the tapestry and believe that I can add stitches too.."
Toni: "I feel like these past two days have changed/ shifted/ ignited something huge in me. I loved every single thing about the path we journeyd together. The honest, real, raw stories. The live input. The way you let the feelings in the room lead you. The way you gave us time to let things sink in. The way you gave us a platform to voice our 'aha!' moments. Narrative practice is such a wonder. I will carry it with me in my work, my personal life and my heart. Thank you. Thank you."
To further connect with everyone out there we've decided to start a blog. We'll be posting about our latest workshops and developments in the narrative therapy field. Stay tuned.