Masterclass 16

Masterclass 16 (18-20 november)

Act4change and CATAPA's next Masterclass (in cooperation with Arbeid en Milieu) is coming!

Three mind-opening tracks, an inspiring common programme and lots of interesting fellow-participants. What more would you want?
The tracks are:
- Climate Change and Migration (English)
- Urban Agriculture (Dutch or English)
- Engaging Employees in Corporate Responsibility (Dutch)​

Want to register? Click here!

Programme (short overview)

Friday

​18:00 - 19:30 Welcome and dinner

19:30 - 21:00 Keynote John Vandaele

Saturday

... - 9:30 Breakfast

​9:30 - 12:00 Introduction and first session of each track

12:00 - 13:30 Lunch

13:30 - 16:00 Second session of each track

16:00 - 18:30 Afternoon breather

18:30 - 20:00 Dinner

20:00 - 22:00 Evening activity

Sunday

... - 9:30 Breakfast

​9:30 - 13:00 Third session of each track and evaluation

13:00 - 14:00 Lunch

We are happy to announce that John Vandaele will kick off the Masterclass weekend with a keynote speech on the possibilities for local initiatives to contribute to the community spirit, historical insight, cultural enrichment and sustainable development.

John Vandaele started as a journalist in 1990, and wrote a number of books (Het recht van de rijkste, De stille dood van het neoliberalisme, Het alfabet van onze tijd, etc.). In his articles (for among other Knack and De Morgen) he focuses on ecological and North South issues. In 2010 he was rewarded the press award for Sustainable Development. Currently, he ​works for Mo* Magazine.

Along the way, John Vandaele tried to apply theory into practice ​through local initiatives in his home ​town Ghent. He was one of the founders of ​​ Buren van de Abdij, an association in the ​oldest building in Gent, ​the​ Sint-Baafs abbey​.​ ​They transformed this abbey into a ​​'common​'​ by organising activities​ for the neighbourhood, which ended up in the estabishment of energy cooperation: EnerGent. It invests in renewable energy and energy-efficiency, and just received a permit to co-build two windmills in Melle. Additionally, the cooperation runs a project to help people isolate their houses in a cooperative way.

John Vandaele was also involved in the Gentse Lente (Ghent’ Spring) and other initiatives on growing ethnocultural diversity.

 

Climate Change & Migration

The Obama administration has repeatedly warned the US that it will need to deal with a new wave of “climate refugees”, and similar concerns have been raised in other Western countries. Bringing climate change into the public eye is very much to be applauded. However, when paired with the topic of migration, both political leaders and the mainstream media seem to muddy the waters. The rhetoric surrounding ‘floods of refugees’ is in danger of painting migrants as a threat to Western stability. The media’s scaremongering around the world seems not to stir communities and countries into action but rather adds fuel to the already sensationalised refugee fire.

Factually accurate and informed contributions, as well as more nuanced analyses of this issue are essential if we are to have any hope of both halting the effects of climate change and of upholding a human rights perspective in regard to climate refugees.

This Masterclass explores the link between climate change and migration. It offers new perspectives, and in sharing knowledge, gives you the chance to actively participate in this crucial and current issue.

In the first session, ‘Myth Buster’, your misconceptions will be dispelled and your uncertainties clarified. Senior Research Associate at HIVA-K.U.Leuven Tom de Bruyn will introduce the main concepts, debates and policy challenges of these issues, and will frame these ideas within the broader discussion on migration. You will then participate in a workshop led by Alex Randall from Climate Outreach. The workshop will look at the connections between climate and migration and will encourage participants to explore these through a series of interactive exercises. It will explore some of the key concepts in climate linked migration and will encourage participants to work together to unpick some of these often complex ideas. This session seeks to encourage critical thinking and to set the record straight on information regarding migration and climate change.

In the second session, ‘Moving Stories’, you will first hear from Jonas Sweep, CEO of Impact Nomads, regarding Jonas’ experience working with refugees in Greece. He will discuss the personal stories recounted to him by the people he worked with and will shed a light on the situation in Greece. What's going on in the camps? What are the challenges? Why do we treat Syrian refugees differently from Afghans or Iranians? What is it like for volunteers to fill the gaps governments leave? You will then receive another short workshop from Alex Randall. This part of the session will explore the testimonies of people who have been forced to move by climate change impacts. Participants will do interactive exercises to engage with the testimonies and understand the experiences of people who have moved. This session seeks to build an understanding of the choices people often have to make and the forces influencing their decisions.

In the third session, ‘Adaptation’, you will hear from Ellen Desmet, Assistant Professor of Migration Law at Ghent University. Ellen will give a general overview of the basic characteristics of Belgian, European and international refugee law (definition of refugee and subsidiary protection status, procedure of recognition etc.). Particular attention will be paid to the legal position of environmentally displaced persons and climate refugees, especially in the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). Next you will hear from Evelyne Huughe, Founder of the charitable organisation called Een Hart voor Vluchtelingen (A Heart for Refugees), and one of its volunteers, Mattar, from Palestine. Evelyne will share accounts of some of the migrants she was worked with in relation to how they navigate through the current legislation previously discussed by Ellen. Mattar will share his personal account of his journey from Palestine to Belgium, as well as his experience upon arrival here. This session pushes for continued dialogue between legislators and those on the ground.

Werknemersbetrokkenheid bij MVO

Enkele jaren geleden was maatschappelijk verantwoord ondernemen (MVO) vooral een zaak van goede doelen in het zuiden financieel ondersteunen en dubbelzijdig printen op kantoor. Anno 2016 maakt MVO (ook wel corporate social responsibility (CSR) genoemd) integraal deel uit van een duurzame bedrijfsvoering. Een toekomstgericht bedrijf verzekert zichzelf van een businessmodel dat niet alleen voldoet aan de wettelijke normen wat betreft sociale rechtvaardigheid en milieu, maar maakt bij iedere bedrijfsbeslissing een afweging tussen de verschillende maatschappelijke en economische effecten hiervan. MVO gaat niet alleen over het verduurzamen van de bestaande bedrijfsactiviteiten. Veel bedrijven gaan een stap verder en richten zich op nieuwe markten en businessmodellen gericht op winst voor mens, maatschappij en milieu.

Toegewijd management is een vereiste conditie voor een succesvol duurzaamheidsbeleid. Maar alleen dat is niet voldoende. Om MVO onderdeel van het DNA van een onderneming te laten worden, is enthousiasme en betrokkenheid van alle werknemers op alle niveaus binnen de onderneming onmisbaar. Medewerkers van verschillende afdelingen hebben immers vanuit hun functie een hoop kennis en ervaring die relevant kan zijn in de transitie naar duurzamere producten, diensten en processen. Bovendien zullen acties die door medewerkers zelf bedacht zijn beter van de grond komen dan acties die door anderen zijn opgelegd.

Deze Masterclass track verkent de mogelijkheden en uitdagingen van werknemersbetrokkenheid bij MVO. We spreken hierover met een aantal gastsprekers en kijken naar de kansen voor MVO in onze eigen organisaties.

In de eerste sessie benaderen we MVO vanuit een verandermanagement perspectief. Maatschappelijk verantwoord ondernemen is namelijk een cultuur, een veranderingsproces. Medewerkers moeten dus de tijd, en ruimte, krijgen om zich MVO eigen te maken. MVO krijgt een breder draagvlak als medewerkers (van alle afdelingen) met eigen ideeën en initiatieven mogen komen. Hoe vindt verandering eigenlijk plaats, wat zijn de hefbomen​?

​De tweede sessie staat in het teken van de praktijk. Hoe doe je dat nou, meebouwen aan MVO? We vragen het aan een aantal werknemers die zich binnen hun bedrijf inzetten voor een rechtvaardigere en duurzamere bedrijfsvoering. Van waar komt hun engagement? Hoe brengen ze hun ideeën onder de aandacht van het management en collega’s op de werkvloer? Op welke barrières stuiten ze en hoe gaan ze daar mee om?

In de derde sessie richten we de blik op onszelf. De opgedane kennis uit de eerste twee sessies spiegelen we aan onze eigen organisaties. Via cocreatie komen we tot een doe-plan om management en collega’s te betrekken bij MVO.

 

Urban Agriculture

Urban agriculture, or growing food in cities, is a widely practiced strategy for sustainable development that aims to face the challenges of production and distribution of food amidst the current and predicted growth of urban population, pared with the ecological crisis we are facing. The practice of urban agriculture has so many different advantages: it is a transparent local economy; it is a green economy (literally); it offers fresh and high quality food; it benefits the health of the citizens; it strengthens communities; it contributes to the overall ecological sustainability of cities, etc.  

More and more city dwellers want to pursue those benefits. But what does it take for such a practice to be sustainable and profitable? What kind of facilities, equipment and expertise are needed to found an urban farm? What kind of food products can be grown in cities? Who buys locally produced food? And, where is it sold? The track, Urban Agriculture in Brussels answers all these questions and takes the Belgian capital as an example of what is happening in many cities worldwide.

This track will tell the story of urban agriculture in Brussels. Through lectures by guest speakers, on-site visits to a few urban farms and distribution points where locally produced food is sold, you will have the opportunity to thoroughly explore the process of production and distribution of food in cities.

In the first session, Introduction to Urban Agriculture, a guest speaker will give a lecture introducing the notion of urban agriculture and its economic, ecological and social aspects, values and impacts. Although urban agriculture aims to achieve sustainable production and distribution of food in cities, research points out that the practice is not sustainable by default (ex. urban agriculture in cities facing water crisis is not sustainable). To which extend urban agriculture is a sustainable practice, and to which extend is it just a hype? Building on the core idea of urban agriculture as a strategy for sustainable development, the lecture will underline all the important factors and indicators of urban agriculture, and give an overview of the situation in Brussels. After the lecture, the floor is open for questions and a discussion.

After you learned what it takes for the practice of urban agriculture to be sustainable and profitable for the city and the citizens, in the second session - Urban Farms in Brussels, we will visit a few urban farms in Brussels. In each of those we will have a guided tour followed by a discussion with the representatives of the farms. You will have the chance to see how the food is grown and moreover, to discover what are the challenges of establishing and maintaining an urban farm in Brussels. We will discuss technicalities (facilities, equipment), legislation (laws, permits), cost-effectiveness (supply and demand) and the future of urban agriculture in Brussels.

After visiting the urban production sites, the last session, New (and old) ways to get food on your plate, will acquaint you with different distribution models of urban/local agriculture. We will visit the former bakery where a cooperative market has started recently in the Brussels neighbourhood of Schaarbeek. They sell locally produced food at a lower price than in commercial supermarkets, but in return require their cooperative members to work a few hours per month for the shop. Probably someone from an online sales channel for local farmers will come as well and explain their model of distribution: customers order and pay the food online, and once every week they come to pick it up. In recent years, quite a few of both distribution channels were opened in Brussels.