There have been considerable achievements for such a relatively small group who are active in INNATE, and we have a wider impact through relating to a broader and wider network. However INNATE is a volunteer organisation, without paid staff, so there is the typical issue of ‘getting things done’ and the fact that sometimes things do not get done. Every model of organisation has its drawbacks and advantages; David Stevens, leader of the Corrymeela Community, who died in May 2010, always said whenever INNATE being a volunteer organisation was mentioned, “Don’t knock it” – in other words it has its advantages and lack of other disadvantages. It also makes for sustainability at a time when funding is under pressure in so many quarters.
INNATE was involved in supporting and publicising an exhibition of quilts and arpilleras which our member Roberta Bacic curated at the Tower Museum, Derry, on the theme The Human Cost of War. This quite clearly showed the cost for all those involved, including soldiers, and it had excellent responses. It was not our show but we were delighted to support it. In November INNATE facilitated a workshop for men responding to The Human Cost of War exhibition (which was made up of work by women) and led to a number of men making artistic and musical responses.
In June INNATE ran a workshop on “En-gendering Violence”, a mixed gender workshop on gender and violence. Other workshops were facilitated for different organisations. Rob Fairmichael completed a Women Peacemakers Program (WPP, part of IFOR) course last summer for men on issues to do with men, violence and nonviolence which took place in the Netherlands and Philippines for a month in total. INNATE is continuing to look for opportunities to utilise the facilitation skills and knowledge base gained in relation to this, and look for opportunities to cooperate with others including women’s groups on issues of cultural change to do with violence of whatever kind.
In September we had the visit of Ali Gohar of Just Peace International for a short but varied programme including speaking about the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan at meetings in Belfast and Derry, and engagements on mediation and restorative justice. We have continued to explore and work on a variety of other projects, and to support others working in the field.
Ten issues of Nonviolent News were produced during 2010 and two e-mail supplements (January and August) so there was news coming out every month. A typical e-mail and web issue is about 8,500 words on average and includes news, regular columnists (Larry Speight and Billy King) and special articles. The paper edition of Nonviolent News remains the first two sides of new items. INNATE also acts as an ‘information service’ to people directly through responding to queries of which there are many, most via e-mail. In 2011 we also distributed white poppies in remembrance of those killed in war. Our flickr photo site continues to grow as an Irish peace and nonviolence photo site (accessible via INNATE home page).
This short report started by talking about being a volunteer organisation and will end on the same point. We welcome participation and involvement in a variety of ways and try to avoid ‘first meeting secretary’ syndrome (you turning up to your first meeting to find yourself in at the deep end!); we are happy to explore possible involvement and support with you. Obviously, despite being a voluntary network, we also require funding to keep the show on the road so financial contributions are extremely welcome. In addition we welcome suggestions for tasks we should undertake or be involved in.
With greetings and solidarity,
Rob Fairmichael, Coordinator, INNATE, February 2011.
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