Toronto Jam 2018
September 22-25 – Mansfield, Ontario
Need a moment to pause and reflect? Craving a digital detox and time in nature?
Looking for clarity of purpose in your journey? Want to get re-inspired about your projects or dream up new ones?
Hoping to connect more deeply with others working for social change, however defined?
Want to explore authentic leadership?
Excited about transforming yourself, your relationships with friends and family, your workplace, the world? Need support, a push, a shift in perspective, a re-alignment?
Want to find new ways to collaborate? To move conflict from breakdown to breakthrough?
Need a space to practice who and how you want to be?
Join us at the 2018 Toronto Jam!
Priority Application deadline: July 8, 2018
Final Application deadline: August 5, 2018
WHAT’S A “JAM”?
Jams are gatherings of about 25 people who spend four days reflecting, sharing, building community, and creating new possibilities. Think of when musicians get together to jam. They meet, experiment, play off of one another, and create new music. Now imagine that, instead of music, it’s stories, experiences, struggles, hopes, projects, and ideas that are being shared.
Take what you know about conferences, retreats, and symposiums and throw it out the window. Each Jam is unique, and you can anticipate a blend of facilitated dialogue, reflection, play and movement, artistic expression, and skill-building.
Jams are co-created. As facilitators (who are also participants), we don’t arrive with a schedule set in stone; rather, we design the days based on participant applications and learnings from past Jams, and adapt as the needs and desires of the group emerge.
We believe that what’s going on inside of each of us, what’s happening in our relationships, and what’s happening in the world are inextricably linked to one another. We therefore try to make space for all three of these areas of transformation — the personal, interpersonal, and systemic — in each part of the Jam.
WHY NOW? WHY TORONTO?
On a daily basis here in Toronto, many of us are constantly doing. Especially in times of personal struggle and political turmoil, the urgency to do can sometimes overshadow the need to step back and check in with ourselves and with each other. Yet, it’s profound what can happen when we take the time to slow down, to breathe, to find spaciousness in our chests. When we cultivate different ways of being with ourselves and each other, while remaining engaged in the world with all of its beauty and its pain. When we draw on the wisdom of the heart, and body, and spirit, as we move through the world.
Bringing a different intention to our lives and our work — one that is loving, kind, and curious — has transformative power. Our political spaces can become welcoming, supportive, energizing, and powerful. The blocks in our relationships with ourselves, and with friends, colleagues, lovers, and family can be shifted. Our creative energies can be unleashed.
The Jam is a moment in time and space — removed from the city, and yet deeply engaged with the city — to practice being in a new way. It is a moment that can have powerful ripples in our lives as they flow forwards.
We believe that this is something that each of us needs — and something that Toronto needs.
WHO COMES TO A 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 terms of life experience, identity (class, race, religion, sexuality, gender, age, dis/ability, ethnicity, etc.) and worldview. We take time for conversations that allow us to bridge our divides, and we take an honest, courageous, and loving look at our connections and disconnections with one another.
We also look for diversity in terms of the work that participants do in the world. We are in a time when all forms of imagination, creativity, and resistance are needed in order to bring about a more just and humane world. The Jam offers an opportunity for people who use different approaches to change and have different areas of focus to connect and build stronger networks in our city.
You can read more about past Toronto Jams and other Jams worldwide here: http://www.yesworld.org/connect/jams/
LOCATION, FOOD, AND COST OF THE JAM
The 4th Toronto Jam will take place at the Mansfield Outdoor Centre, which is 90 minutes northwest of Toronto. Participants will generally share rooms in doubles and triples. There will be delicious and nutritious, primarily vegetarian, food.
The cost of the Jam is a sliding scale of $200 to $600. The approximate cost of lodging and food is $300 per person, therefore we ask participants who are able to do so to consider this as a minimum contribution in order to ensure we cover our hard costs. Contributions up to $600 help pay for materials, childcare, travel costs, and stipends for organizers and facilitators.
We never want money to be a barrier, 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 $600 are welcome and help us provide scholarships to support the broad spectrum of participation on which this event thrives. Donations over $50 are tax-deductible.
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.
We love having children and families at the Jam, and will provide childcare. Please let us know if you want to bring your children and we will work out childcare arrangements with you.
HOW DO I APPLY?
Priority deadline: July 8, 2018
Final deadline: August 5, 2018
If you are an alumni of a previous Toronto Jam and want to come again, please do! Just write to us and we’ll send you an alumni-specific application.
WHO’S BEHIND THE TORONTO JAM 2018?
The Toronto Jam is organized and facilitated by a team:
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.
After 10 years of designing and leading artful leadership programs within the not-for-profit sector, Rehana Tejpar became disenchanted with the conventional ways of work in organizations that left her feeling disengaged and creatively stifled. She kept sensing the need for organizations and people who work within them, to be more engaged and to live in greater alignment with their values and purpose. Rehana co-founded bloom consulting as a container to design and facilitate participatory leadership processes in organizations, to rejuvenate creativity in individuals, teams and communities and to host conversations that matter. She works with people in a way that invites them to be authentic, explore their creativity and build trusting relationships. She is a passionate mother, dancer and theatre artist, and loves being in nature.
Jeff Carolin is a criminal defense lawyer living in Toronto who focuses on providing top-notch legal representation to people who can’t pay out of pocket. And, when he gets the chance, he loves to sit in circles. Hence the jam. But it’s more than just the circles. For Jeff, exploring theatre of the oppressed and other participatory community organizing traditions and attending jams has been a key part of discovering how he can–in this life, with this body, and with his experiences–engage around complex issues of racism, colonialism, inequality, and other forms of systemic oppression, without this work leading to further division, burnout, and in-fighting among people who are trying to build something new together. Seeking common ground while always acknowledging the importance of difference, starting from a place of openness and caring, and tuning in to the body’s knowledge a little more and the analytical mind a little less, have all been practices that he has continued to hone through jam circles–and are practices that he tries to introduce in all facets of his life. For a more facts and figures perspective: you can check out jeffcarolinlaw.ca.
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.
Francesca Allodi-Ross spends her weekdays providing free legal services to low-wage workers in 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 cycling. 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.
HOW DID THESE JAMS START?
YES! is celebrating its 28th year of service this year. The first Jam was a World Youth Leadership Jam, 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 organize place-based, sector-based, and identity-based Jams all over the world. In the past three years, Jams have taken place in India, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Morocco, Nova Scotia, Toronto, New York City, California, Colorado, North Carolina, Alabama, Vermont, New Mexico, etc., 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, Nova Scotia Gaels Jam, and Black Diaspora Jam.
YES! is based in California, USA, and each Jam is co-organized by a unique and diverse team of partners. The Toronto Jam grew out a short program in 2012, which then led to a three-day Jam in 2013, and four-day Jams in 2014 and 2016. This is Toronto’s fourth Jam, organized by alumni from 2016 and previous years.
Read more about YES!’s mission, values and approach: http://www.yesworld.org/who-we-are/values/
We look forward to welcoming you to the JAM. If you have any questions, please write to yestorontojam[at]gmail.com.
With excitement and love,
BK, Brigid, Francesca, Jeff, Rehana, Shilpa