Huge thank you to my main Advisor Jennifer English, for her constructive feedback, integrity & inspiration. Thanks also to my associates who I learn so much from. My family and friends that patiently interact with me and support me in working out my ideas and principles. The land at Brook End for its constant nurturing presence in my life.

The hill behind my house. First frost of the season.

Pathway Reflection

This is my last project-related output before my Learning Review and closure of my pre-capstone year. As such, my focus is on doing an extensive reflection before setting goals and intentions for my capstone year.

I had intended on submitting both my Output 4 and Learning Review by the end of December 2014. However, November turned out to be an incredibly stressful and challenging month, with several crises that needed my full emotional, mental and physical attention.

My main intentions with my MSc are now to:

  • Submit my OP4 January 1st 2015
  • Submit my Learning Review February 1st 2015
  • Submit my Capstone year Learning Intentions Pathway Design March 1st 2015

Pathway Tracking

This output expanded from its original design, which can be found here (February 2013) and here (May 2014). Unable to compartmentalise my political thinking, it moved from an anti-speciesist to an anarchist framework in which to explore my ideas.

The ambitious output design was scaled down in other ways. For example I reduced time spent on exploring the origins of animal agriculture, domestication patterns and landscape impacts. I also deferred energy from looking at the ecological roles farmed animals play in ecosystems.

The result was increased focus on different worldviews around animal agriculture as well as how animal oppression is being challenged by different groups and movements. These stages of observation and surveying have laid the foundations for my thinking around anarchist agroecology.

Project Integration

I track how and why I have renegotiated my project commitments in my project re-negotiation tracker, so I can better see patterns.

Output Packet Process Reflection

What went well?

  • I met a huge number of my goals in my original output design, which included achieving a greater awareness of my role as an organizer in the animal liberation movement and what I want to achieve and a greater holistic integration of my interests. I also achieved improved self care (following the tracking and design cycles of OP3 & 4).
  • I stretched my own learning edges, especially in regards to navigating different worldviews. Through this process I recognise I most strongly developed my critical evaluation skills.
  • I managed to interact with the material without moving to act straight away (my biggest fear with this output was that it would generate new projects and passions that I am unable to integrate into my life). At the beginning of the OP process I made a pact to myself (on encouragement from my Advisor) to not take on any new projects until after my learning review. This has been a powerful act of self protection.
  • Through this OP period I have made strategic decisions which will influence my decision making more than any other - the power of focus on two fields - agroecology (food autonomy/food sovereignty/permaculture) and repression (prison abolition/supporting political prisoners/resilience to repression). It has only been 6 months, however the power of this focus has amazed me, and I look forward to moving into the new year with greater focus and intent.
  • The output period itself yielding some very humbling achievements in my life, such as teaching on the world’s first vegan permaculture design course.

What was challenging?

  • The output work itself wasn’t too challenging, however the emotional patterns and pressures I was experiencing this year, really were challenging! There were recurrent patterns of loss, grief, fear and life/death situations for people close to me.
  • It was challenging trying to stay objective and thinking critically when I was engaging with material that objectifies, brutalises and oppresses animals.
  • I am into my extension months of my pre-capstone year, so I did not access as much advisor support as I have historically.
  • My computer was damaged in October! It caused a time lag of accessing data/processing information and so forth.

Pathway Connections: Political Agroecology

This output builds on my existing work exploring agroecology, popular education, race, colonialism, anarchist economics, resilience to repression, prison abolition, energy struggles, food sovereignty and more.  It centres my attention on animal agriculture, highlighting the complexity of worldviews around nonhuman-human relations. It explores patterns of resistance to animal oppression and gave me the opportunity to situate myself in the field. This is complemented with research, observation and reading exploring how movements for food system change consciously or unconsciously perpetuate different forms of oppression (such as racism, sexism, speciesism) and legitimise oppressive institutions such as the state.

The outcome of this output creation process is the formation of new questions around agroecological and social change work. The idea of an ‘anarchist agroecology’ has emerged to frame my current thinking and lay a foundation for my capstone year and ongoing engagement in social struggle to change the food system.

Responding to Feedback

Edges to consider from Output 3 review

  • New media?
  • Include an assessment of you as a designer.
  • More charts or graphical images that show your development/progress in these areas.
  •  Would like to see you begin to write in a style that is consistently relevant to the reader. How can you write OPs with the voice of a teacher/guide?
  • Would like to see more references within report.
  • How can you further disseminate your work.
  • On the design of OP - I'm stoked that you renegotiated with yourself! Great map - reveals a lot of your structure. I'd like to hear what your decision making/design process was? Can you articulate your steps in like a flow chart (similar to GaSADIE)?
  • Great overview of gains from process. When you include learnings that are constraints, I suggest you always come up with a possible action item (potential solution step).
  • I like how you streamlined your roles and accountabilities by just providing an update. Interesting note about solo projects of recent. Is this an edge that you think would be good to refine? Do you think by getting good at that - it may give you even more insight on how to work better with groups?

Edges to consider from Output 2 review

  • Consider: Editing. I'd run through the OP just once more.
  • Again be more explicit about OP timing focus in abstract.
  • More explicit intervention timings.
  • Have you considered weighing your engagement in each step of the action learning cycle - tracking that in some manner?
  • More about pathway & time management tools
  • How to track benefits to the field
  • How could your work be more validated?
  • Validating your research for multiple audiences.
  • More detail on how you ‘exploted niches’ and how you turned problems into solutions



Nicole Vosper
27 December 2014, 19:23
1 comment