Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Contact us / how to apply / fees and funding 2014 - 15

Who should apply?
We are keen to have a mix of backgrounds and abilities on this course, so please don't assume that this course isn't for you! We very much welcome activists who want to go back to education, as well as students who are keen to get involved in movements, mature students as well as traditional ones, and people with different community or movement points of reference. Students come from a range of different countries and ethnicities, genders and sexualities.

Contact details:
For general information and queries, please contact the Dept. of Adult and Community Education, NUI Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland at adcomed@nuim.ie or (+353-1) 708 3784.

To apply to this course, you need to go through Ireland's online application system for postgraduate courses at www.pac.ie. The PAC code for the MA is MHA64. The deadline for applications is May 30th 2014, but we suggest you register for PAC well in advance so you can see what information they will be looking for. Our form asks you for two references. These can of course be the usual academics etc., but for this course they can also be activists or community educators etc. who can talk about your practitioner knowledge and skill.
The basic requirement for entry is a BA with a 2:2 result or higher, or the equivalent of a BA. If you are in doubt about whether you meet this requirement, please email us at the address above.

Along with the usual information for the online form, we will look for a short (one – two pages) statement about any aspects of your experience which you feel are relevant to the course, and what you are hoping the course will be able to offer you that will benefit your practice. The personal statement isn't a test! We want to tailor the course to bring out what students already know and can share with each other, and what their priorities are in terms of learning needs, and we can't do that if we don't know where students are coming from.

Fees and funding
You will probably need to set aside some time to find out about funding possibilities. 

Ultimately fees are set by government policy on higher education, according to which Irish and other EU students are partly subsidised while those from outside the EU pay what is calculated as the full cost of their education. In practice though a majority of postgraduate students probably receive some funding, whether to cover fees alone, living expenses or partial supports. 

The system is complicated and takes time to explore; at time of writing details for the 2014-15 year are not always available. Below are some starting points:

From the state

The Student Finance website has some useful information on this. All student funding from the state is now processed and administered through the newly centralised system SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland). In its first year (2012-13) this system had a number of well-publicised problems but it is important to say that delays in SUSI did not prevent students taking part in the course - they simply had to spend more time than they should have done trying to get the system to work.

There are two ways postgraduates may qualify for student grants. (Exact details below are for the 2013-14 scheme but this is not expected to change substantially for 2014-15).

1) A flat rate, means-tested fee contribution of €2,000. The initial income threshold is €31,500 but there are a number of other factors taken into consideration when assessing eligibility, including how many family members are in full-time study. Studentfinance.ie has a calculator on its website to help you determine if you qualify.

2) Full fees for students with a family income no greater than €22,703 (net of Qualified Child Increases and standard exclusions) and in receipt of one of a number of payments from the Department of Social Protection.

All applications are made through Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) and the process will probably open around mid-May for the 2014 -15 academic year. It is important to say that the grant covers a range of different nationalities and statuses.

SUSI Helpdesk contact details: support@susi.cdvec.ie, tel. 0761 08 7874, facebook facebook.com/susisupport

There is some really useful information on SUSI at this site: http://www.cdvec.ie/Student-Supports/Grants.aspx and more detail and clarification at the Student Finance site here.

If you are already in receipt of state benefits / supports, the type you have (e.g. Jobseekers, Lone Parents, Back to Education etc.) can make a big difference in terms both of what funding might be available to you but also in terms of whether you will be able to maintain your existing benefits while studying. (NB also that information-gathering is now very centralised so your new student status will show up where it might not have before!) If you are currently on benefits, we strongly recommend that you talk to your local Citizens Information Centre well in advance of taking the course to discuss your options. Some people may be in a position to change from one type of benefits to another but this takes time.

From the university:

There are two funding sources at NUI Maynooth; for more details see this page.

1) Taught Masters Bursaries at a value of €2,000. There are 60 of these which will be shared across all taught MAs in the University. To apply you must meet the minimum requirements (a 2:2 in a relevant BA) and have been in receipt of a SUSI or city / council Higher Education Grant for your undergraduate studies. The deadline for the first round of applications is May 1 2014.

2) NUI Maynooth Alumni Scholarships at a value of €5,000. These are open to NUIM graduates (including 2014 graduates). The deadline for applications is June 2 2014.

It is also worth doing a search online as there are a limited number of specific scholarships and bursaries offered on the basis of criteria like the area of research (e.g. this site) or the Universities in Ireland Postgraduate Scheme which would support students from Northern Ireland pursuing postgraduate studies in the Republic. Again Student Finance has a good starting list of possibilities.

Beyond this, there are grants, supports and even occasionally scholarships, for fees and for maintenance, as well as tax relief on fees, student medical entitlements and support for students with disabilities, and the Back to Education scheme which allows you to retain social welfare payments while studying. You can find information about these from Citizens' Information, the HEA's Student Finance site, and the Graduate Studies pages on funding and finances. You can also contact the NUIM Fees and Grants office.
International students will find useful information on funding and many other practical issues at the Irish Council for International Students.

Tuition fees have not yet been set for the academic year 2014 / 2015, but should be in the region of €5160 (the 2013-14 rate) plus a registration fee of around €2600 for Irish and other EU students; for non-EU students the tuition fee is likely to be in the region of €13,000. For EU students, half of the tuition fee is payable prior to registration and the other half is usually payable before February 1st. For non-EU students resident overseas, the full fee is payable before registration. Up-to-date information is available via Graduate Studies and the Fees and Grants Office.

Finally, you can find practical information for prospective Maynooth students at this page, including access students, mature students, international students, and childcare.

The basic message that we hear from CEESA students is that postgraduate study is not easy but is doable for people from a wide range of different situations and backgrounds. As a team we are committed to supporting people in difficult personal circumstances to be able to complete the course.

For some history of how austerity-related cuts have affected access to postgraduate study see this post.

CEESA MA 2014 entry

MA in Community Education, Equality and Social Activism

Another world is possible: learning from each other's struggles

NUI Maynooth Depts of Sociology and Adult & Community Education

How can we bring about social justice and environmental survival in Ireland and beyond?

From the Land League to women’s liberation and from the Dublin Lockout to community activism, the struggle for equality and social change has been driven by social movements from below. Today, ecological campaigners have put climate change on the agenda, global justice activists have highlighted the crisis of neo-liberal capitalism and popular movements have changed the world, from Latin America to the Arab world and from South Africa to Eastern Europe. 
As austerity politics bites, cuts target the poorest communities and neo-liberal “business as usual” tries to roll over democracy and popular organisations, social movements are having to rethink their strategies and communities are taking a hard look at their own understandings of how social change can come about. What can we learn from each other’s struggles for equality and justice -  and what do we already know about how to change the world?

This course brings together students who want to learn how to make equality and social justice into realities, with more experienced activists in community education and social movements looking for space to reflect on their own work, and a team of staff who are experienced teachers and researchers, community educators and social movement practitioners - to form a community of practitioners learning from each other’s experiences and struggles to create new kinds of “really useful knowledge” and develop alternatives.

This course enables students to think about how to build real alternatives to challenge existing structures of oppression and injustice. It is about developing our capacity to change the world through community education, grassroots community activism and social movement campaigning. In the face of powerful voices telling us that “there is no alternative” but to trust in their expertise and solutions, this course starts from the view that “another world is already under construction”.

The main force behind positive social change in Ireland and globally has always been "people power": those who were not "on the inside", without property, status or power coming together to push for change where it was needed. Community activism, the women's movement, global justice campaigners, self-organising by travellers and new Irish communities, trade unions, GLBTQ campaigning, environmentalism, international solidarity, anti-racism, anti-war activism, survivors of institutional abuse, human rights work, the deaf movement and many other such movements have reshaped our society and put human need on the agenda beside profit and power. This process has not ended.

Movement participants have developed important bodies of knowledge about how to do this, which are fundamental starting-points for trying to make a better world possible. Radical adult and community educators help develop knowledge and learning that are critical and questioning, that are aware of taken-for-granted assumptions, that are systemic, political and social, that ask difficult questions, that are against technical and one-dimensional thinking alone. In the age of Occupy and Shell to Sea, anti-austerity struggles and radical media, global justice and communities in crisis, what can we learn from each other’s struggles?
What students say about the course:

“In a world where injustice is the norm, there is a sense that there is a whole world of people out there fighting alongside you and that at last, change just might be possible.” 
“There are misunderstandings about the word activism… If you are challenging the system and the way it is, then you are an activist, you are not passively existing in the world, you are taking action…”

“The knowledge and experience of activists are valued.”

“A chance to get really detailed feedback on the way you’re thinking about how to change things.”

“It’s a course for practitioners.

The Departments of Sociology and Adult & Community Education collaborate on this MA to develop thinking about critical pedagogy in community education; power and praxis in social movements; and understandings of equality, transformation and sustainability. Our commitment to the public use of academic knowledge is a long-standing one and we have a wide range of practical experience as well as research-based knowledge. This includes involvement with social movements, community activism and issue-based campaigning; media work and public debate; active involvement in political parties, trade unions and lobbying groups; community education and literacy; development and human rights work. Maynooth is also Ireland's leading centre for research on social movements and one of the few venues in Europe with so much expertise in the area. Our student body is very diverse, with a wealth of different experiences and a strong tradition of involvement in community development and social activism.

The course explores three core strands: Critical and praxis-oriented forms of thinking (e.g. in community education, social theory, media literacy, participatory action research…); Equality and Social Justice (e.g. in feminist praxis, social class, race, political economy, social change...); and Power, politics and praxis (e.g. in social movements, community activism, grassroots organising, environmental justice…) The course content is all taught from the standpoint of "praxis": the understanding that theory without practice is meaningless, while practice without theory is likely to fail. The basis of our work is dialogue between reflective practitioners, systematically including both these aspects. 

What students say about the practical benefits:
Helps to makes links with fellow activists working in different movements.”

“A chance to challenge and enhance your practice.”

“Puts names on things that you have done and helps to frame your ideas.”

“An opportunity to work collectively.”

“Make friends, networks, comrades.”

“An opportunity to challenge academic norms.”

“A chance to be more objective about your practice.”

Course participants
Both Departments have a long history of attracting students who are concerned about social and global justice and keen to draw on their analytical skills to develop a professional life in these areas, including mature students who have already had such an engagement and want to develop their practice further.  This programme is aimed at the needs of this very diverse group.  This includes those involved in social movements, community development, adult learning, grassroots activism, workers in NGOs and statutory agencies, and minority rights organisers. 

The course is geared to bringing together the best of practitioner skills in the field with the best of academic research. Our workshops are not traditional classroom experiences but draw on our community, popular and radical educational practice to bring out and work with participants' existing knowledge. We bring our own lived experience into the classroom, and encourage other participants to do the same, creating a conversation between practitioners in which students are not passive learners and teachers are not unquestioned experts. We also bring in a wide range of outside mentors.

The course is aimed at people who already have either basic knowledge of social analysis or experience of social movement organising (or both!) It helps you round out your own skills and understanding across the theory / practice barrier and across different movements, times and contexts. This bigger picture, developing yourself as a reflexive practitioner with a strategic perspective, will enable you to contribute powerfully to social movements, community education projects and activist organisations - or to create new ones.

The programme attracts a wide range of students, with very diverse backgrounds, movements and levels of experience. Participants so far have included working-class community organisers and radical ecologists, radical educators and service user campaigners, feminists and rural community activists, GLBTQ rights campaigners and trade unionists, adult educators and radical artists, migrant rights organisers and media activists, young graduates and experienced political organisers. 

Students’ experience of the course:
“It’s fun and challenging, constantly changing.”

“Moves beyond/transcends your own organisation or movement. That can help to change your practice as well.”

“Can be fun and interactive and our input feels valued.”

“Challenges your views and perspectives.”

“The lecturers are open to being challenged and to change academic practices.”

“We were very lucky in our class group dynamic and a willingness for each person to reveal who they really are.”

“The lecturers are deadly too!”

The course involves two days a week on campus (typically Monday and Tuesday) over two twelve-week semesters, along with independent reading and study which you should expect to take another two days equivalent during the rest of the week. Your thesis, which is usually linked to a movement project you are involved in or developing, typically takes three - four months after the end of classes. The programme includes core modules in “Community of praxis”; “Power and politics”; “Radical education and critical pedagogy”, “Equality and social justice” and "Feminist theory and practice". Along with these students choose one elective module a term, such as “The market, the state and social movements”, “Critical media and cultural pedagogy in communities", “Participatory action research in social movement practice”, “Political economy”, “Environmental justice” or “Sustainable communities”.

We run special sessions on topics like “Sustainable organising”; “Critical media literacy” and “Digital media production” and invite a wide range of movement speakers to discuss their work. Field trips to date have visited community projects and direct action campaigns, local oral history projects and social centres. Major events have included our “Masked Activists’ Ball” launch, our “Beyond the crisis” seminar with John Holloway, a conference “New agendas in socialmovement studies” and a workshop "How can women resist austerity?" with Selma James. Finally, participants take research modules and complete a thesis project. This is geared towards developing your practice in a particular area, helping to contribute to a particular movement, and is often produced in a format which will be accessible and useful to other people in that movement.

Participants will leave the course with a deeper understanding of how the politics of equality and inequality works in a range of substantive areas. They will have developed the skill of practicing "politics from below": active citizenship, civil society, community education and development, social movements and other forms of popular agency. They will have gained skill as a reflexive researcher, developed their writing and presentation skills and completed a practice-based research project. This is embedded within a wider learning community where participants are supported to stay connected after graduation and the course itself builds links with a range of different social movement projects.

Reflections from past students:
“There’s a lot of self-evaluation and self-reflection.”

“Really clear your timetable, take the opportunity to step back from your work.”

“I didn’t realise how much reflection is on the course.”

Contact and admissions
The course website is http://ceesa-ma.blogspot.com. Application is via the HEA’s online PAC system, at http://www.pac.ie. The course code is MHA64; the deadline for applications is Friday May 30th 2014. The minimum requirement is a primary degree (BA etc.) in social science, humanities or adult education at 2:2 level, or the equivalent. For any queries, please contact the Dept. of Adult and Community Education, NUI Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland at adcomed@nuim.ie or (+353-1) 708 3784. Our website includes information on fees, grants and scholarships for 2014 - 15.

Admission is by interview with staff members, and offers of interview are made on the basis of the online application. Your personal statement is particularly important in this, because this is a practitioner course which is geared towards supporting you in developing your own practice. 

You do not have to have a particular level of experience in order to be accepted on the course. We accept students at all levels, from school-leavers who had just completed an undergraduate degree to mature students who have been active in movements for decades, and this classroom diversity is part of the richness of the course. Participants learn greatly from each other’s life experiences and organising knowledge, intellectual perspectives and political traditions. The personal statement helps us to gauge how each participant might gain from the course.

A student says:
“The main thing I enjoyed from the course was not what we learnt but how we learned it. For me the mix of people in the class was electric and we all learned so much from each other.  In a way I didn’t feel like I was going into ‘college’. This was greatly encouraged from the lecturers who by the way are experts in their fields and are always at hand for guidance, advice and criticism.  In a way I even feel awkward calling them lecturers as the whole learning process for me was so far removed from what most are used to in a college setting. 

As regards the material, like all reflection and philosophising, one day you could be disillusioned with everything, doubting and questioning everything you ever stood for while the next day you want to take on the world, but what kept it together was the energy and camaraderie and that we were all in it together.  I hope courses like this and more importantly the whole critical way of learning together is mirrored in other colleges and institutions. And for those like ourselves who are serious and committed about what we do, there is no time like the present to do this course. I already feel the knowledge I gained and more importantly the network of people I have met will be vital to any campaign or project I will be involved with in the future.”

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"Peripheral Vision" documentary screening this Friday April 4th

Dublin screening of documentary “Peripheral Vision”

DATE:             Friday, April 4th, 2014
TIME:              8pm
VENUE:          The Pearse Centre, 22 Pearse Street, Dublin 2

Since 2008 Ireland has become a by-word internationally for political passivity & resignation. However, in reality, small groups have attempted to mobilize the public against the bank bailouts and austerity. This documentary, filmed over 12 months by award-winning director Donnacha Ó Briain, chronicles the experiences of some of this small minority – those who took a stand during one of the most momentous periods in Irish history.

The film follows the fortunes of some key grassroots initiatives launched in 2011-12: including the Dublin-based Spectacle of Defiance & Hope with its French Revolution-inspired ‘Books of Grievance’; and the dogged villagers of Ballyhea in North Cork, who started a weekly march against the bondholder payouts...only to bring their protest to the doors of the ECB in Frankfurt.

Filmed in raw cinema verité, the film charts with immediacy the realities and frustrations of those trying to build a social movement against bank debt in Ireland during an age of political indifference and passivity.

Duration: 99 mins

Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1436186223292833/?context=create&ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming&source=49#

The film is part of a three-day festival "In The Face of Life" organised by the Progressive Film Club. You can access the full programme at www.progressivefilmclub.ie

Friday, March 28, 2014

Dublin Anarchist Bookfair programme now up

... at the WSM site. April 11th - 13th, looks like a great programme.

Update: Selma James is coming. If you missed her at CEESA last year, now's your chance!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Whistleblowers, GSOC and the "rape tape"

Good analysis of the links between the current whistleblower scandal and the treatment of the women involved in the 2011 recording of Corrib gardai discussing raping protestors here.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Capacitar workshop on healing and transformation, March 31st

Capacitar: Workshop in Healing and Transformation

Presented by Orla Quinn (former CEESA participant and social justice activist)

Monday 31 March 2014, 4.30 - 7.30pm
Venue: Room ACE1, Ground Floor, Rowan House, north campus, NUI Maynooth (#48 on map here).

This workshop will introduce participants to Capacitar practices including Tai Chi movement, breathing exercises, visualization, finger holds, acupressure protocols, energy exercises and much more.  Taught in over 30 countries worldwide, Capacitar is an intensive, hands-on program of holistic wellness practices for individuals and agencies who serve traumatized people and others in need. The Capacitar practices are effective for self-care as well as for use with individuals and groups in peace building, education, mental health, social work and community service. Capacitar incorporates theory and practice in multicultural and popular education methodologies, enabling participants to teach what they have learned to others.

Orla Quinn is facilitating this workshop as part of her assessment process to become a qualified Capacitar trainer.  Orla has been practicing Capacitar for a number of years and over the last year, has started to facilitate Capacitar workshops with work colleagues on a weekly basis.  Orla travelled to  Peru and Colombia in Sep 2013 as part of a wider programme on peace building and trauma recovery to co- facilitate Capacitar workshops with colleague and Capacitar trainer, Patty Abozaglo.

This workshop is free and open to the general public.  Please RSVP Orla at this email address or call 0862596775 to confirm your attendance.  Feel free to use the attached flyer to advertise the event further.

For more information on Capacitar visit Capacitar International at www.capacitar.org

Monday, March 17, 2014

Disarm the markets: launch of Attac Ireland

Disarm the Markets: Launch of Attac Ireland with a public talk by Esther Jeffers (University of Paris VIII and European Attac Network) and IFSC walking tour with Conor McCabe.

Where: Room 4-027, Dublin Institute of Technology, Aungier Street, Dublin 2

When: Saturday 5th April, 2pm.

Attac is an international movement working towards social, environmental and democratic alternatives to neoliberal globalisation. Founded in France in 1998, it fights for the regulation of financial markets, the closure of tax havens, the introduction of global taxes to finance global public goods, the cancellation of debt, fair trade, and the implementation of limits to free trade and capital flows (see www.attac.org).

5th April marks the launch of the Irish chapter of Attac. Attac Ireland is delighted to welcome Esther Jeffers who will speak at the event. Esther is a lecturer at the University of Paris VIII and a specialist on shadow banking and finance in the Euro area. 

Esther’s talk will be followed by an open meeting for anyone interested in becoming involved with Attac Ireland. This meeting will provide an opportunity for people to learn more about Attac, and to discuss how Attac Ireland could be developed to challenge financial power and injustice through education and activism.

These events will be followed on Sunday morning 6th April, with a walking tour of the Irish Financial Services Centre (IFSC) by Dr Conor McCabe (UCD School of Social Justice). Time tbc.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book launch "Feminist Identity Development and Activism in Revolutionary Movements", March 27

Dr Theresa O'Keefe's book Feminist Identity Development and Activism in Revolutionary Movements will be launched at 8 pm in Dublin on the evening of the 27th March, 2014.

The book documents how and why women became active in the armed Irish republican movement including an examination of their roles within the IRA. Based on personal interviews, it explores the ways in which republican activism fostered feminism in many women and how this newfound 'republican feminism' was positioned relative to the broader women's movement in the north of Ireland.

The book will be launched in Dublin by Brid Connolly of the Department of Adult and Community Education and is supported by the Department of Sociology.

DJ Bambina will be on the decks.

Update: Venue the Grand Social, 35 Lower Liffey St., Dublin 1.

Info and directions: https://www.facebook.com/events/762239163801344