We kicked off the year 2008 by celebrating twenty or twenty-one years of INNATE with an Open Space conference on nonviolence (the Open Space was written up and is on the website). Two decades of INNATE……hard as it is to believe we’ve been in business more than two decades, we are working hard to extend that time period over the horizon. A short history of INNATE was included in the February Nonviolent News and is on the website. We continued to meet on a monthly basis in our Networking Group where we plan INNATE activities, newssheet and website contents, and solidarity and support for others…. including support to other projects in the field and for activists involved in court cases. These Networking Group meetings, usually but not always in Belfast, are open to anyone interested – just contact us for details.
The training highlight of the year was undoubtedly our workshop on Eco-Nonviolence, held at Kilcranny House, Coleraine, at the start of October and facilitated by Joanne Sheehan of WRL and WRI. The workshop is written up on a ‘how to do it’ basis on our website (along with a load of other material) under ‘Workshops’; highly relevant as the ecological crisis deepens. Other activities happened around the same time, including street theatre on green versus nuclear power (also on the website, under ‘Resources’). This programme fitted into the period around the International Day of Nonviolence on 2nd October and we hope to run a variety of programme in future in the period 21st September (International Day of Peace) to 2nd October (International Day of Nonviolence). In a different piece of programme we were delighted to welcome Tony Kempster again, in November, where he spoke and sang at events in Belfast, Coleraine and Derry.
We are always pleased to meet new people, from home or abroad, in person or through electronic means, and we answer many queries directly by e-mail as well as people picking up information about nonviolence and featured activities from our newssheets and website.
We produced 10 issues of Nonviolent News during the year (in paper and longer e-mail and web editions) and a short news supplement in August. A typical e-mail/web edition now ranges up to 10,000 words, not including links to longer feature articles which go directly onto the website. Pieces published included a definitive account of the Dublin Cluster Munitions conference by Sol Santos, a long interview with departing Mediation Northern Ireland director Brendan McAllister, and several pieces by Mairead Maguire on Gaza and Palestine. Regular features include Readings in Nonviolence, and our columnists Larry Speight (‘Eco-Awareness’) and Billy King (all kinds of everything).
Our web presence continues to grow both in volume and in numbers of visitors. We added a linked photo site, on flickr, to our main website during the year and this is gradually building up…..if you have peace movement, or other relevant, photos which you might like to see on the web we’d be delighted to hear from you (click on the link on our website homepage to see what’s there). Our website statistics package changed during the year so it is difficult to give ‘like for like’ figures for the whole year so we’ll give you just a few samples; ‘unique visitors’ per month ranged from 2,449 (lowest) to 4,299 (highest); a ‘typical visitor’ examined around 4 distinct files before leaving the site and a typical visit lasted upwards of 5 minutes; the figures for unique documents delivered each month was always well over a thousand and ranged up to just over two thousand. Visitors come from links on a wide range of other websites as well as from word searches where the most popular included ‘define consensus’ (and other variations on consensus) and ‘examples of violence’. Sometimes our web presence leads to requests for involvement outside Ireland, or indeed inside, which we cannot meet but we will always try to assist enquirers in whatever way we can, including providing appropriate contacts.
Another year older – but not deeper in debt; as a volunteer organisation with very low costs, INNATE is well placed to ride out the financial storms which have been buffeting society of late, plus the funding decline for peace and reconciliation activities in Northern Ireland. But we do depend on subscriptions and donations to meet our day-to-day running expenses so we would encourage you to contribute financially so that we can continue to keep our head above the murky financial waters of 2009 and, if anything, extend our work.
We always welcome your comments and suggestions. And we welcome news and views from right around the island of Ireland, as well as other information of interest internationally. And if you think you might be able to help or get involved, wherever you are, please get in touch and we can explore possibilities.
With greetings and solidarity,
INNATE (an Irish Network for Nonviolent Action Training and Education), February 2009.