Building Community Action: Stories from Colombia

05/02/2014, 17:00 - 19:00


Short film followed by discussion with Javier Sanchez

Activists, academics and policy makers in Wales and across the UK are, for a range of reasons, interested in ways in which communities can be strengthened during difficult times. While there are good arguments for using ‘bottom-up’ approaches, in both research and policy, there is still a lot of uncertainty about what this might mean and how it could be put into practice in situations of widening social and economic inequality. One way of understanding what we can do is to look more widely at what other people do. In Wales this means developing our knowledge of what is happening not only elsewhere in the UK and in other European countries, but also in communities of people across the world who are struggling to sustain social lives in unsympathetic economic and political situations.

In this seminar we will learn something about what is going on in Colombia, and have the opportunity to discuss more general lessons for effective community action.

Accion Comunitaria is a short, community docufilm shot in the southwest Colombian mountains. The film is a snapshot about the community life of participants in a complex process of experimentation with self-governance and direct action. It aims to illustrate how communities can organise and strive towards self-reliance, without interference from central government and despite more than 50 years of armed conflict, using bottom-up organising principles.

Javier Sanchez is co-founder of CAIS Maloka (Centro de Accion e Investigacion Social) and a founding member of ISBO (International School for Bottom-Up Organizing): currently an active member of both organisations. Born in the central cordillera of Los Andes in Tolima- Colombia, Javier is the son of peasant parents. In his teens he migrated to the UK where he got involved in several community organisations dealing with refugee and migration issues, while also studying performing arts and anthropology. For the last six years Javier and his family have been living in a rural community in southwest Colombia where CAIS Maloka is based. Currently Javier is working for Refugee Youth, a national organisation based in London.

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Committee Room 2, Glamorgan Building
King Edward VII Avenue
CF10 3WT

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