The New Highlander School: CBA Theme's monthly moderated discussion forum

Submitted by Emilie Parry | published 30th Apr 2019 | last updated 13th May 2019
Knox_News_Highlander

At the Highlander Center & Folk School Library: The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pete Seeger, Charis Horton, Rosa Parks, and Ralph Abernathy. (Source: Knoxville News Sentinel)

The New Highlander School: weADAPT's CBA Theme's monthly moderated discussion forums

We're calling it the New Highlander School, an online space for collaborative learning, where we, the global CBA community, determine what we most need to learn. Together, across geographies, cultures and experiences, we leverage and gather our shared knowledge and capacities, teaching and learning together.

The subject for this first moderated discussion forum session was, in the spirit of collaborative co-learning, selected through a process of online suggestions and voting:

CBA models for climate action -- what works, what doesn't, and what does it teach us?

Bring your stories, your challenges, your quandaries and discoveries! And please share your feedback too. This discussion forum itself is engaged in a process of experiential learning, so we adapt, evolve and improve as we go together.

I was beginning to understand that anything really worth doing had to be done with other people, and to do it with other people you had to understand the social and economic forces.  It didn’t mean that you were less principled, but that you had to relate what you believed to be the real situation.  It helped me understand that you had to organize; you had to have masses of people; and that change couldn’t be brought about just because somebody had made a red-hot speech and said, “Let’s have a revolution!”

 -Myles Horton, Founder of the Highlander Center and Folk School (The Long Haul; 1998)

Why the New Highlander School?​

             Collaborative, co-created education for social change in the Anthropocene

Climate Change and our global social-eco-crises presents humanity with a new, all-encompassing consideration of Why We Can’t Wait.  weADAPT is a platform committed to collaborative learning, leveraging shared experiences, climate adaptation science and traditional knowledge. The platform optimizes the miracle of the internet to connect the lessons and wisdom of a planet full of diverse cultures, traditions and experiences. We come together here to explore, learn, discuss, and co-create.  We chose to call this new monthly moderated forum hosted by the Community-Based Adaptation Theme the New Highlander School.  The original Highlander Folk School & Highlander Center was founded in 1932 by Myles Horton and his cohorts interested in building an educated engagement on labor rights in the United States.  The premise of the Highlander Folk School and Highlander Center was to build collaborative, co-created education for social change, beginning with marginalised and fiscally-impoverished Appalachian communities.  It began with interested community members coming together to discuss their key concerns, and the areas in which they would like to learn more, to deepen their skills, and to develop plans of action for wellbeing and justice in their lives. From workshops and trainings that leveraged the shared knowledge, capacities, and experiential learning of the group, longer courses and education for social change programs evolved.  Highlander can be credited with seeding and facilitating key actors, strategies and influence of the U.S. Labor movement, the Civil Rights movement, and the Environmental Rights movement.  Folks ranging from Rosa Parks to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to Ralph Abernathy to Pete Seeger, Anne Braden, James Bevel and many others were part of co-creating the Highlander Folk School curriculum, and growing and learning through these collaborative learning processes.

"To deal with injustice you had to act in the world.  You had to share what you knew." -Myles Horton, The Long Haul (p.30)

This moderated online discussion forum, this New Highlander School, aims to raise these values of mutual respect, recognizing the capabilities and insights present in all of us. These discussions will help facilitate and direct that learning, but it is up to you to help co-determine priorities for this education for social change, and co-create the curriculum and processes! Join in, let’s see what we can do when we come together in the spirit of wellbeing, justice, and healing in our world!

Here, together, we make the road by walking.