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Women's NAtural Building Apprenticeship 2013!  RSS feed

 
Sarah Highland
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Location: Ithaca, NY
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Women's Natural Building Apprenticeship 2013 in Marlow, NH

Join us, and dive deep into a way of building that blends modern methods with ancient wisdom. Be part of creating a supportive community and developing your gifts as a leader. Become a Women's Natural Building Apprentice!

May 25th-Aug 25th 2013

Our apprentice program for the summer of 2013 will be held in beautiful southwestern New Hampshire, led by Liz Johndrow of Earthen Endeavors with Sarah Highland of Highland Artisan as a frequent guest instructor. Our host and collaborator is Kroka Expeditions, a non-profit environmental education organization that for over 20 years has lived out its deep commitment to living lightly and consciously in this world.

During our twelve-week apprenticeship we will build a straw bale and timber framed cottage. We'll explore in detail the methods needed for building in cold climates, but the systems we will learn can be applied almost anywhere. We'll also work with other wall systems and techniques, so that apprentices will have a solid introduction to the most common natural building methods in use today.

We'll have hands-on learning in:
Straw bale construction
Timber framing
Cob
Straw-clay
Clay and lime plasters
Wattle-and-daub
Slate roofing
...and lots more!

To learn more and to register, go to www.womensnaturalbuilding.com
Apprenticeship-2012-photo.1.jpg
[Thumbnail for Apprenticeship-2012-photo.1.jpg]
 
Jeff McLeod
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Location: New Hampshire
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Exclusion based on gender isn't really what permaculture is about is it? Should only young people apply as well?
 
Sarah Highland
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Location: Ithaca, NY
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Hi Jeff,

Yes, good question. The reason for offering a natural building apprenticeship for only women is that many women have had fewer opportunities than men to feel comfortable around tools, construction, or even asking questions about it. I've taught timber framing workshops with only one or two women in a class of a dozen, and that kind of setting can feel a little inhibiting to someone without a lot of self-confidence. It can be a powerful experience for women who are new to construction to work alongside women who are experienced and confident. We'll be both teaching tool skills for beginners and enhancing the skills of those with more experience. We'll even visit a lumberyard and a hardware store and learn about what to ask for - again, many women have had awkward or rude receptions in these settings.

Last year's Women's Natural Building Apprenticeship in North Carolina was enthusiastically received by eight apprentices, who were excited for that opportunity to learn with other women. So there is a need, though I agree with you that in an ideal world we shouldn't have any need for a gender-exclusive program, since there wouldn't be any differential treatment of women and men. Fortunately, things are changing, and we're hoping that the women we help to train will further close the gap between women and men in the building world.

Thanks for posting.
Sarah Highland
www.womensnaturalbuilding.com
 
Amedean Messan
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Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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Forgive me but I have to second McLeod, permaculture should not be gender biased so this thread in my opinion is out of place. I really do not like this idea because it prevents me and my wife from having the option to do an activity together, sharing experiences and growing mutually. It sounds like the program is more accessible or even geared towards single women or women in same sex relationships.

My opinion on the matter is if there are men who make the class environment hostile towards women than they should be warned or removed. I do not empathize well with the reasoning that men should have to be excluded because of stereotypes that women are sensitive or uncomfortable.
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Sarah Highland wrote:Hi Jeff,

Yes, good question. The reason for offering a natural building apprenticeship for only women is that many women have had fewer opportunities than men to feel comfortable around tools, construction, or even asking questions about it. I've taught timber framing workshops with only one or two women in a class of a dozen, and that kind of setting can feel a little inhibiting to someone without a lot of self-confidence. It can be a powerful experience for women who are new to construction to work alongside women who are experienced and confident. We'll be both teaching tool skills for beginners and enhancing the skills of those with more experience. We'll even visit a lumberyard and a hardware store and learn about what to ask for - again, many women have had awkward or rude receptions in these settings.

Last year's Women's Natural Building Apprenticeship in North Carolina was enthusiastically received by eight apprentices, who were excited for that opportunity to learn with other women. So there is a need, though I agree with you that in an ideal world we shouldn't have any need for a gender-exclusive program, since there wouldn't be any differential treatment of women and men. Fortunately, things are changing, and we're hoping that the women we help to train will further close the gap between women and men in the building world.

Thanks for posting.
Sarah Highland
www.womensnaturalbuilding.com


well said, Sarah. I have had a similar experience teaching a very basic woodworking project as part of a weaving class. I also include the lumber yard run and how to pick and choose your boards and not just be sold something. These are things women of my generation were not generally exposed to...I was given a cloth tape measure not a steel tape measure...I had a lot of catching up to do.
 
Jeff McLeod
Posts: 95
Location: New Hampshire
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Sarah Highland wrote:Hi Jeff,

Yes, good question. The reason for offering a natural building apprenticeship for only women is that many women have had fewer opportunities than men to feel comfortable around tools, construction, or even asking questions about it. I've taught timber framing workshops with only one or two women in a class of a dozen, and that kind of setting can feel a little inhibiting to someone without a lot of self-confidence. It can be a powerful experience for women who are new to construction to work alongside women who are experienced and confident. We'll be both teaching tool skills for beginners and enhancing the skills of those with more experience. We'll even visit a lumberyard and a hardware store and learn about what to ask for - again, many women have had awkward or rude receptions in these settings.

Last year's Women's Natural Building Apprenticeship in North Carolina was enthusiastically received by eight apprentices, who were excited for that opportunity to learn with other women. So there is a need, though I agree with you that in an ideal world we shouldn't have any need for a gender-exclusive program, since there wouldn't be any differential treatment of women and men. Fortunately, things are changing, and we're hoping that the women we help to train will further close the gap between women and men in the building world.

Thanks for posting.
Sarah Highland
www.womensnaturalbuilding.com


Thanks for your reply Sarah. I wouldn;t know about these opportunities for men you speak of. I was raised by my single mother and a sister. Over the years I have made sure that my daughter is fully aware of any and all opportunities that are available to her regardless of gender. It saddens me to see this kind of stereotyping but it is not unexpected. My daughter has been turned away from courses not because she is a girl ... but because she is handicapped. It seems that simply enforcing yet another discriminatroy policy we step further away from that possibility of another world.

You can never paint a masterpiece with a broad brush.

Peace

Jeff
 
Kenzie Greenwood
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Hi,
I'm new to the forum, but this topic just begged me to reply.
No, permaculture isn't about exclusion.
It is about learning, teaching, sharing, sustaining, surviving and thriving.
Right?
Right?!
So please, for the sake of the mission...
Don't throw a guilt trip on someone for providing a learning experience that is more conducive to learning. And sharing. And... Well, I made the list up there. Just because its not what you consider ideal, don't fight those on your side.
Personally, as a woman, a teacher, and a student, I feel that there should be options for gender segregated classes in MANY areas of study.
Pretending that the only difference between men and women is the sex organs might be politically correct, but it is not correct in any part of reality.

I feel that there are very good reasons to teach men and women separately. I also feel that there is a time to teach young people without older students in the same class. There are times when men should have their own classes. I know I've been in some classes where i was the only female, and at first there was the obligatory compliements on being the "hardest working woman they ever met" but then the men behaved as if no women were around... Let me tell you: it was very uncomfortable for me and I did not learn as well as I could. Whose fault is that? Mine for signing up for the class or for not being "thick skinned" (read: manly) enough? The men for being totally open in their conversation? The teacher for not offering a men's only class? I don't think it's anyone's fault.

At the same time, I can understand your chagrin began. It doesn't seem fair that men default to "excluded", because they're apparently a majority or something. Let it go, allow people to LEARN, and SHARE, and GROW in whatever way works best for them, and everyone will benefit. Even the men who weren't allowed into the class. There are many mixed classes, and they are almost always excellent. Exclusively female classes occasionally held will not limit your opportunity to learn.

I have also taught classes exclusively for physically handicapped gardeners. Another class, covering roughly the same material, is offered where they are not excluded. I have been told every time that they appreciated having classmates they can relate to.

My father taught me that a melting pot produces weak and useless metal. He taught me to separate myself when it was going to make me stronger or better in some way. This also includes with who and what I surround myself when I am trying to accomplish something. Like learning, or writing a paper, or building a retaining wall. Whatever it is, control over your context is a powerful tool that some of the members on this forum seem to not value. I push back hard when I run into situations where I or my students are kept from maximum potential under the guise of "fairness". It's NOT FAIR to make me try to learn in an environment not suited to my learning!!

Now that I've addressed that in way more words than necessary... (As my hubby would say, "just like a woman!") On the original topic, this class sounds great. I hope I can schedule it in!

-Z
 
Amedean Messan
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Location: Melbourne FL, USA - Pine and Palmetto Flatland, Sandy and Acidic
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Kenzie Greenwood wrote:I feel that there are very good reasons to teach men and women separately. I also feel that there is a time to teach young people without older students in the same class. There are times when men should have their own classes. I know I've been in some classes where i was the only female, and at first there was the obligatory compliements on being the "hardest working woman they ever met" but then the men behaved as if no women were around... Let me tell you: it was very uncomfortable for me and I did not learn as well as I could. Whose fault is that? Mine for signing up for the class or for not being "thick skinned" (read: manly) enough? The men for being totally open in their conversation? The teacher for not offering a men's only class? I don't think it's anyone's fault.

At the same time, I can understand your chagrin began. It doesn't seem fair that men default to "excluded", because they're apparently a majority or something. Let it go, allow people to LEARN, and SHARE, and GROW in whatever way works best for them, and everyone will benefit. Even the men who weren't allowed into the class. There are many mixed classes, and they are almost always excellent. Exclusively female classes occasionally held will not limit your opportunity to learn.


A fair assessment and I empathize with your perspective. If you are wondering what stemmed some of the strong objections then I would be glad to fill you in. During the time of this thread there were roughly two other "women only" threads extending very interesting classes available for free but naturally excluding to men. If there were just one thread I could see a passing response but maybe there was a feminist holiday I missed but IMO there were too many gender biased opportunities floating in the threads in a relative short period of time. In contrast, there was nothing afforded for men as per usual so naturally I hope you can understand the strong objection.

Not only this, but I imagine I am not the only person who might roll their eyes every time there is a women only event. Can't help but to fire up the imagination from experiences of yet another land owning older man or male abstaining feminist looking to provide "opportunities" for young beautiful women. Believe me, there have been some shady situations created in the guise of women's empowerment. I could be wrong but I believe McLeod implied something similar along the lines of his comment "Should only young people apply as well"?

I think there is a good picture analogy which I think you can understand where I am trying to articulate my point.

 
Miles Flansburg
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Howdy Kenzie, welcome to permies. Great first post.

I see no problem with anyone putting together a class for only one group or another. That is business. If there is a need, someone should take the opportunity to fill it. It is not like I, as a man, cannot find dozens of other opportunities just like this one, where I can learn all of the skills listed in the first post. So I do not see what it hurts. I have not been excluded from learning those skills because I can learn them somewhere else. Now if the class was a truly once in a lifetime thing, one that I would find nowhere else, than I might be offended to know that I couldn't attend because I was somehow different from others who were allowed to attend.

I am old and have seen a lot of things. I have a daughter and a son and I am married. There is no doubt in my mind that men and women can, on occasion, have a much richer learning experience with others of their own sex. There are also times when we can all learn together.

I once took a class with my newly wed bride. It was about french braiding of hair. I was the only man in class. I was uncomfortable, I am sure the women did not talk about some of the things they would normally have , so the experience was different for all of us because I was there. Still a good one, just different.
 
Kenzie Greenwood
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Amadean, that's a excellent point, as well, though that it hadn't occurred to me is another reason why I am glad to have another perspective around when I make commitments.
I hadn't noticed the other women's classes posted simultaneously. Too many, especially all at once, might raise eyebrows, but it also raises the question of whether there really are more exclusive than inclusive, or whether the exclusive ones are being more widely advertised due to the extra struggle to fill the class enough to bother holding it at all.

I'm glad my general point was clear enough. I run into all sorts who, when given a similar explanation of my views, say something like, "huh, I thought you were a feminist..." As if I'm not. I just think the feminist movement got some momentum going and lost control over the direction of the motion at some point. But that's a grander topic than this post!

And Miles, thanks for the welcome! And don't get me wrong! The most essential things I've learned in my life have all made me uncomfortable in the learning of them, though the greater lessons were hardly ever the intended point of the exercise (classroom, or just living). But, alas, technical data in particular is difficult to absorb in a state of heightened discomfort.
 
paul wheaton
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This thread has been brought to my attention about six times. And I think each of those folks want me to do something different.

A few months ago there was a women-only permaculture event in ashland, oregon. It was announced here on permies and a few different women asked me to give it a bump in my daily-ish email. I was conflicted. On the one hand, I support people pulling together a group in whatever way they want. Maybe they want "men only" or "hispanics only" or "whites only" or "only smart people" or whatever. If it has to do with permaculture, then permies is the place to announce it. At the same time, it does seem to me that I reserve the daily-ish email for only those things that I think are the best. According to my standards. And I do think that the permaculture mission is inclusive. And I think sexism is a problem. And when it comes to the list of social issues that appear to be on the permaculture agenda, I think sexism makes the list. And an event where I am excluded because of the way I was born strikes me as .... not very permaculture-ish.

And still more: I think that if there was an event that's something like "natural building for gay fellas" a sort of thing where you can learn about building stuff and, at the same time, possibly meet that special somebody. Well, that seems totally okay. So you could have "natural building for singles" (the implication being straight) and "natural building for lesbians". These all seem like really smart ideas. And working gender in seems appropriate and non-sexist.

For the course in this particular thread, I would prefer to see "natural building for non-builders" with an explanation that it is for people that have never held a drill or hammer. And further explanation that the class will be geared to the beginnerest of beginners.

So: posting this event at permies.com is proper. I hope that permies.com was of help in filling the class seats. At the same time, I hope that next year the class is, perhaps, for "non-builders" rather than limited to how a person was born. That would feel more permaculture to me.

I think all of the people that brought this thread to my attention over the last few months are all correct. This is an awkward and evolving issue. I appreciate the passion that people have for wanting the world to be a better place and having the courage to say something. And having the decency to keep the discussion respectful.


 
Jennifer Jennings
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Sarah, Jeff, Amedean, Judith, Kenzie, Miles, and Paul - the dialogue that just went down here was... fabulous. The reason why I do not usually frequent forums of any kind is because people cease to be people in them (more often than not), and instead become zealously hateful. I commend you all for addressing each of your concerns with respect, intelligence, and candor. THIS is the reason I like hangin' at permies.com.
 
Miles Flansburg
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Permies is very refreshing in that way Jennifer.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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