Resilience: Touching a Colourful Sky: Breaking the Mould of Linear Models of Innovation and Creating Innovative Learning Spaces for Social Change of Resilient Small Scale Farmers

Kemal Kasim, Loes Witteveen, Zulham Sirajuddin, Hashim Durani, Jorge Chavez Tafur


Conventional models of intervention in agriculture and rural development policies neither gave attention to the ever changing global challenges, uncertainties and complexities of environment under which small scale farmers live nor acknowledges the importance of local knowledge’s in rural areas. Emic resources are seldom considered as a resource to be strengthened or build upon. In this context, a group of students from Africa and Asia at Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with the Centre for Learning on Sustainable Agriculture (ILEIA), during a course on Media Design for Social Change engaged in a poetry project to explore resilience of small-scale farmers. This resulted in a surprising series of poems and paintings that, put together, capture the idea of resilience in an entirely non-linear, intuitive way. The dynamics of the activities and the aftermath of exhibiting the poetry route made us to question the role of rural development organisations and structures in approaching social resilience. We realized that conceiving social resilience as a livelihood capital requires due consideration in vulnerable rural contexts of unsustainability, insecurity, poverty and emic and etic processes of change. The paper argues that other innovative trajectories could be employed to create spaces of learning and communication that encourage or articulate social resilience. To reach such goals it is required to contest the training and performance of related rural development professionals.

Keywords: Poetry, Social change, Social resilience, Spaces of learning

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