Committed to social justice and ongoing resistance?
Longing to connect with like-minded and like-hearted people in a deeper way?
Need a pause from the daily struggle to reflect and regroup?
Come to the 2017 GTA/Toronto Jam!
WHAT’S THE TORONTO JAM?
Jams are open-ended and unscripted gatherings of about 30 multi-generational changemakers who spend four days reflecting, sharing, building community, and creating new possibilities. Think of when musicians get together to jam. They meet, experiment and play off of one another, and create new music. Now, imagine instead of music, it was peoples' stories, experiences, projects and ideas being shared.
WHY SHOULD I NOT MISS THIS?
On a daily basis, many of us are constantly doing. There is no time to pause or reflect. In times of political hardships, the urgency to do can sometimes overshadow the need to also step back and check in with ourselves and with each other.
We are in a time when all forms of resistance and re-existence are needed in order to bring about a more just and humane world. The Jam offers an opportunity for people across diversities and different change-making strategies to connect and build a more interwoven network of change-agents in our city and in the world!
The Jam is an opportunity to have those authentic conversations we may not usually get to have: about the dreams that drive the work we do, the struggles that we move through, and the hope that keeps us going.
IS THE JAM FOR YOU?
Do you have a relationship to social change (as an activist, artist, healer, parent, entrepreneur, community worker, or any other way)… Do you want to consciously evolve your work and your role in it? Then, Yes.
Do you want a better relationship to community… Do you want to cultivate honesty, vulnerability, openness to solving conflicts, and non-violence, especially in desperate times? Then, Yes.
Do you want to cultivate a solid, kind, and true connection to yourself, especially in these unnerving times of uncertainty? Then, Yes.
WHAT HAPPENS AT A JAM?
Take what you think you know about conferences, retreats, and symposiums and throw it out the window. Each Jam is unique, but you can expect a blend of facilitated dialogue, reflection, play and movement, artistic expression, deep inquiry, games, music, and meaning-making.
As participant-facilitators (or facilitants!), we don’t arrive with any specific content, and in that sense, jams are truly unscripted. We do arrive with a process that we invite you into, one that we adapt and change as the needs and desires of the group emerge. We don’t start off with an agenda of activities; rather we start off with a super-draft tentative flow that emerges out of participant applications and learnings from past Jams.
The belief behind Jam processes is that jamming and meaningful learning will occur when each participant is supported in sharing as much of their story, experience, and truth as possible.
By slowing down, by deeply listening, we can create a new understanding of ourselves, our relationships with others, and even of the bigger forces in the world. And then we get to bring that home.
That’s why we also say that a Jam works with three different fields of change: the internal, the interpersonal, and the systems.
On the internal level, we give ourselves space to reflect on our personal stories, to learn and unlearn, to take off our masks, to seek our next growing edge, and to renew.
On an interpersonal level, we come together to discover common ground and affirm differences. We take time for conversations that allow us to bridge our divides (race, class, gender, etc.), and take an honest, courageous, and loving look at our connections and disconnections with one another.
On a systems level, we link issues that aren’t commonly linked to find new intersection points and gain a clearer vision of the whole. We examine our work and role within the bigger picture, and deepen our capacity to affect meaningful change upon leaving the Jam.
WHO COMES TO JAM?
Jams are for everyone. The beauty of the jam lies in the mix of people who show up.
We look for a vibrant diversity in…
… experience (from 'just starting out' to 'been at it for years')
… roles (from 'person on the ground' to 'director and founder'; from 'entrepreneur' to 'non-profit' to 'healer' to 'philanthropist' to 'parent' to 'organizer' to 'urban farmer' – to so much more)
… passions and focus (education, immigration, technology, food security, health, arts, labour, green architecture, indigenous issues, community media, trauma recovery, globalization, etc. etc.)
… identities and worldviews (e.g. class, race, religion, sexuality, gender, age, dis/ability, ethnicity, etc.)
You can read more about past Jams and other Jams worldwide here: http://www.yesworld.org/connect/jams/
WHO’S BEHIND THE TORONTO JAM 2017?
The Toronto Jam is organized and facilitated by a team including YES! Executive Director Shilpa Jain and the following Toronto community changemakers (all YES! Jam Alumni):
Adeline Cohen B has studied and been fascinated by the intersection of food, culture and sustainability for the past 15 years. Growing up, her plate was filled with a mix of Austrian, Tunisian and French cuisine, a melange that has informed her work and interests in co-creating sustainable change within the food system. In the Jam, Adeline has found a safe place to start being courageous, take risks and let herself be seen, while witnessing the beautiful people who show up to take part. Adeline is an avid cook, a gardener, a mind explorer and a fellow artist at odd hours.
Rehana Tejpar is an artist-facilitator who has been designing and leading artful popular education programs with children, youth and adults for the past 15 years in Toronto, Kenya and India. She is currently serving as the National Facilitator for the Catherine Donnelly Foundation’s Righting Relations Adult Education for Social Change Program, and co-founding director at bloom consulting, a group of creative facilitators strengthening creative and collaborative capacity in organizations and communities. Rehana is a practitioner of Art of Hosting, Theatre of the Oppressed and InterPlay and brings together dialogical and body-based storytelling processes in her approach to personal and collective transformation.
Brigid Tierney is a fiery Montrealer turned west coast dreamer turned Toronto transplant. She came to the Jam through her creative facilitation community and found a profound connection and hard to name feeling in the air that has grown louder and more beautiful ever since. She has a Masters in cultural studies and communication, likes to fight the good fight and works on the daily at the intersection of film, community and youth engagement.
Karen B. K. Chan is a sex and emotional literacy educator in Toronto. She is dedicated to having conversations about sexuality and feelings that are real, transformative, and kind. In the last few years, she shifted personal priorities from being “good” to being warm, from being right to being more forgiving, and the Jam has played a big part. BK works full-time at the City of Toronto, half-time in her private practice, and all the time on taking better care of herself.
At her very first Jam, Lisa Thacker came to realize that she needed to leave her job in the private sector and recommit to work that called upon her skills and her heart more meaningfully. She's drawn to spaces and experiences that invite us to remove our masks, embrace humility, and practice radical kindness. She’s happiest hosting pop-up chai stands, taking home stacks of library books, or biking around the city (preferably in bike lanes). Four years after her first Jam, she's heading down the final stretch of becoming a registered midwife and couldn't be happier about it.
Julian Caspari is a culture hacker designing 21st century workplaces, learning and communications systems that help people and organizations reach and unleash their true potential. With over a decade of leadership experience working as a strategist, facilitator & educator, he continues to support companies and organizations to optimize for happiness, health and creativity. As a wellbeing catalyst, he has led corporate employee engagement, millennial attraction and retention strategies, and workplace learning projects in both local and global contexts. Julian is steeped in practices of collective leadership, ecological design and collaborative action, with specific interest in hosting multi-sectoral engagements with corporate, government, academic and community stakeholders. Julian is Host and Producer of SAP's Live Business Webcast Series, Co-founder and Board Chair at Schools Without Borders, Correspondent for Making Good, Facilitator at YES!, public speaker, human-centered design specialist and Howler-in-Residence at the Full Moon Jams.
Francesca Allodi-Ross spends her weekdays providing free legal services to low-wage workers in Rexdale, Etobicoke, and West Toronto. She loves dancing and yoga and spending time with beloved people. Other times she's organizing for social change around income inequality and racial justice. She is passionate about creating joyful, effective, and sustainable social movements.
Shilpa Jain is currently rooting herself in Oakland/Berkeley, CA, where she serves as the Executive Director of YES!. Prior to taking on this role, Shilpa spent two years as the Education and Outreach Coordinator of Other Worlds and ten years as a learning activist with Shikshantar: The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, based in Udaipur, India, where she served as coordinator of the Swapathgami (Walkouts-Walkons) Network. All of her work seeks to uncover ways for people to free themselves from dominating, soul-crushing institutions and to live in greater alignment with their hearts and deepest values, their local communities, and with nature.
LOCATION, TRAVEL AND COSTS OF ATTENDING
The 4th annual Toronto/GTA Jam will take place at Mansfield Outdoor Centre, in Mansfield, Ontario. Participants will be sharing rooms in doubles and triples and delight in delicious and nutritious, primarily vegetarian, food for the Jam.
We love having children and families at the Jam, so please let us know if you want to bring your children and we will work out childcare arrangements with you specifically.
Travel costs are the responsibility of the participants, though we will help in arranging carpools from around the city, to the best of our ability.
The tuition for the program is $650 which breaks down into $375 for lodging and food and $275 for program (materials, childcare, stipends for organizers and facilitators). We never want money to be a barrier in participating in a Jam, so we will do everything we can to make it work for you to attend. Some partial scholarships and work trades are available. We can also create a monthly payment plan that works for you. Additional donations above the event price are welcome and help us provide scholarships to support the broad spectrum of participation on which this event thrives (they are also tax-deductible).
We look forward to welcoming you to the JAM. If you have any questions, please write to yestorontojam[at]gmail.com You can apply on-line
If you are an alumni of a previous Toronto Jam and want to come to the Jam again, please write to our team and we'll send you a separate alumni-specific application. Thanks!
We look forward to jamming with you!
Adeline, Brigid, Francesca, Rehana, BK, Lisa, Julian and Shilpa
BY THE WAY, HOW DID THESE JAMS START?
YES! is grateful for its 27th year of service this year. The first Jam was co-created in 1999, bringing together 30 people from 20 countries. It came out of YES!'s work on youth leadership for nearly a decade, a growing understanding of 'yes-and' improv, Open Space Technology, and the power of co-learning. After several more World Youth Leadership Jams, facilitators began to organize local and regional Jams in their countries. Now teams of Jam alumni and like-hearted partners organize place-based and thematic Jams all over the world. In the past few years, Jams have taken place in India, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Morocco, Nova Scotia, Toronto, California, Colorado, North Carolina, Alabama, Vermont, New Mexico, etc. and on themes such as Evolving + Emerging Economies, Arts for Social Change, Healing Our Movement Ecosystem, Law and Social Change, and Transforming Education, and with specific communities like the LGBTQ*/Queer Jam.
YES! is based in California, USA, and each Jam is co-organized by a diverse team of partners, specific to that location or theme. The Toronto Jam grew out a short program in 2012 first organized with YES! by Rehana Tejpar and Lisa Thacker, which then led to a longer Jam in 2013 co-organized by Rehana, Lisa, Brigid Tierney and Nisha Ahuja. Subsequent jams, including the 2017 jam, were and are a collaboration of alumni from previous years.
Read more about YES!'s mission, values and approach: http://www.yesworld.org/who-we-are/values/