BelongCon delivered on its promise earlier this week, an event packed with content from speakers who bared their souls. It truly brought people together and resonated with everyone in the room. So inspiring in fact, our editor Jennifer Le Roux published a confession of her own. Here are our favourite bits from the night:
Aimee Challenor and Lee-Anne Lawrance: ‘Campaigning, and pushing for change’
“You don’t need to be an expert, a business person or know how to make a trust – you just start simple and build on it.” Lee-Anne Lawrance
The evening kicked off with Aimee and Lee-Anne, who gave an eye opening talk about the importance of campaigning and collective voice. The bottom line of this session was that if there’s something you care about- talk about it.
Covering issues of gender identity, Lee-Anne addressed the audience about their campaign #XMyPassport. A campaign that pushes for others to follow the example set by countries such as Denmark. Who offer the option X for Trans or Cis gender passport holders. It’s surprising that in 2017 England, this is still not a thing!
Helene Klaustrup, ‘Bursting Your Bubble’
“A bubble can be defined as “a thin sphere of liquid enclosing air or another gas…but it can also be defined as ‘a good or fortunate situation that is isolated from reality or unlikely to last’.” Helene Klaustrup.
We’re all guilty of operating within the safe confines of our proverbial bubbles. Helene pointed out these lovely warm bubbles that we so comfortably nest within can often be isolating and exclusive. A habitual comfort that may feel good, but can be misleading. A sentiment highlighted with the Brexit shock that many were not expecting, safe in their bubble of reassurance it would never happen. Helene also got people thinking about the differences between a ‘bubble’ and a community.
Can you burst your bubble and can you tell the difference?
Follow @and_helene on Twitter.
Martin Rowsell, Uniting People Around the World
“People are people: skin, bones, blood, water, squidgy bits and holes…” Martin Rowsell
A real highlight of the evening was hearing Martin Rowsell talk about his brainchild ‘Postcards for Peace’. The organisation have run multiple campaigns including ‘Reach out to Syria’, ‘A World of Hope’ and ‘Refugee’s Welcome’ and aims to truly bring people together. Martin’s talk resonated with the our ethos by combining his creative skills as a designer to make an impact on society with an alternative idea – very ALT-MU indeed!
Follow the cause on Twitter @postcards4peace
Vanessa Barrett AKA CoCo Deville: Self Expression Through Creativity
“We think of artists as that gifted few who have that courage and confidence. We think that the world of the creative artist is to be approached with mystery…well I can assure you, that is definitely not the case.” Vanessa Barrett.
Vanessa Barrett is an international, award-winning and highly acclaimed cabaret performer. Not only that she is a talented and creative Wonder Woman to boot. Her talk emphasised the idea that art and creativity is in fact for everyone. It can be as simple as picking up a pen and doodling, she encouraged. Anything to get those creative juices flowing. The art of performance and creativity helps us to discover ourselves – there is no limit.
Follow Vanessa on Twitter @CocoDeville
A flood of inspirational moments in one short evening
There were so many more ‘click’ moments. The host Benita Matofska was the perfect glue to bring it all together. The concept of belonging could not have been more aligned with her own mission as a social entrepreneur and global sharing economy expert. What was most impacting about this event was the way everyone in the room embraced their humanity and allowed themselves to be completely vulnerable. Claire Green’s stories from the streets were spine tingling and really made you think about how we can all do small things to help homeless people. Hearing Natalie Lloyd and Sophia Hill’s story was empowering. How two people can go from a chat over coffee to create a whole new way of connecting, creating a menu of questions in their monthly Manner events that leads to real conversations and building ‘speed friendships’. Jo Cruickshanks brought the whole night to the perfect close with a talk on how we can all belong anywhere. Including a soma exercise to help us all become more mindful and present in the moment. By the end of the night we all felt like we belonged.
The start of a BelongCon movement #BelongCon
…And so it was, that in one short evening we learnt to burst our bubbles and push for change, to build intimate networks through the art of conversation and understand the impact of volunteering – all in the name of belonging. No one should feel like they don’t belong and the with the discussions resonating in our minds, we headed home with the valuable tools to create an inclusive community for everyone.
“So, we’re different colours and we’re different creeds, and different people have different needs, it’s obvious you hate me though I’ve done nothing wrong, I’ve never even met you so what could I have done – People are People, Depeche Mode.” Martin Rowsell, Postcards4Peace
It may have been an intimate event this time, but we have a feeling this is the start of something big.
If you missed it then head over to their Facebook for live videos and updates on their next event in June.
Do you feel like you don’t belong? Do you have a bubble that needs to be burst? Share your story with us in the comments or tweet us @altmumagazine #BelongCon