Renahdacimento – feels like a sort of tongue twister at first, although with some kind of familiar elements to it. Possibly because of such intuitive familiarity, it also holds the power to resonate with everyone across the world. Renahdacimento, is probably more of a mind twister, rather than a tongue twister. It embodies our chance to embrace a new mindset, and it does so by presenting us with an opportunity to be part of a global, transnational, compassionate human family. In the pursuit of a deeper understanding of the movement and all the various projects related to it, on June 20 we (virtually) got together with some of its members. Part of the exchange which resulted from this beautiful conversation, has been enclosed in the interview article below. Although we are aware of the challenge of summarizing such a unique conversation in just a few lines, we did our very best to convey the message and everything we have learned from our dialogue with QR.
SRP: “Can you tell us more about QR and where did the whole idea start from?”
Sarah (QR): “Similarly to SRP, also QR was really born out of the Quarantine period, and it really began by recognizing a number of unmet needs which were part of the world, as we knew it way before the pandemic, and which have become more evident ever since. QR is also really a product of all the people that influenced me in the way I developed my thinking over the years, and has developed into a collective effort over the course of the past two months or so of being involved in this activity. The initial idea came from hearing from a lot of people that had been having a really hard time (economically) during the quarantine period and wanted to find a way to connect with people. Having various networks in a number of different places myself, I had the chance to notice similarities in what people were facing around the world in such a difficult time, which made me realize the urgency of organizing ourselves if we wanted to be able to tackle some of those big issues. The best way to do that, was to connect with each other, and bring people together. And so I opened a page which – at the time – still looked like a blog. I then started telling people about it, and people started getting excited and contributing with so many ideas and inputs. The Facebook profile was kind of an anonymous way to reach many people from different parts of the world and some of our most active members, admins, teachers, and some of the people in this call right now (Rolande, Maria), are actually what came out of this anonymously contacting and reaching out to people from all over the world through that is really how I made sure it was a translational movement, rather than just a network of people that I or my friends happen to know.”
SRP: “Let’s talk about transnationalism…”
Sarah (QR): “Transnationalism is one of QR’s core values. Differently than internationalism, which in some ways seems to enforce the idea that everyone is just an ambassador of the place they come from, transnationalism takes the discourse one step forward, having people truly learning from each other and respective contexts.
Form transnationalism, the idea of translational solidarity was also born, which is another core value of the movement. Solidarity, for us, is an active term. It is not just posting something on Facebook, is something that require you to use your mental energy to really try and understand someone else’s context even if you have not lived it yourself and then to support them actively on their terms.
Reciprocity is also really huge for QR: we do not offer free lessons, but rather, our lessons never have to be paid or compensated only with money. The idea is that people should in fact give something in exchange fo someone’s labor and time, but that is also why we have different types of options such as mutual aid, time banking and so on.
The movement is multidirectional. We have been working really hard on a Live Resistance as well, which is more about outreaching and raising awareness, while QR is more directly about participation, and that is why we really want people to come and be part of the community. We invite people to join our collective effort in giving birth to a Renaissance: a renewal of systemic values, on a personal and social level, as a reciprocal exchange between the individual and the larger social environment around.”
SRP: “How have you observed the project growing from the early days all the way to the greater community that has formed around it? ”
Yoyo (QR): “I first learned about QR as a friend. I used to know Sarah from our time being teachers in Palestine. One day she contacted me to tell me about this idea she had, which was at the time very much a response to the disastrous effects of covid-19 and, in particular, to the economic and personal instability given by the unemployment situation created by the pandemic and quarantine – hence the name, Quarantine Renaissance. I personally think that the wordrenaissance comes in because people can learn from each other, and in this digital age, we can really try to bridge andexpand our network beyond the limitations imposed by borders. People who are currently unemployed can maybe go online and teach whatever they know, whether it is their native language or maybe a skill, and also have the opportunity to teach people who are not even in their own country. So it is the idea that you can help people, but also for the people who before were simply not able to travel, because of whatever reason, and really get to do it now through this digital age, which allows everyone to explore other cultures and learn from them. That was the original idea for QR. It all started from there, to then develop into a movement, which made us all feel stronger about what QR really means to people, because we realized that is not just about earning money and helping people who are unemployed, but it really is about sharing. Sharing skills, sharing anything since anybody knows something and can have something to share.”
SRP: “Now that we have discussed the roots of the movement, what can you tell us about future developments?”
Rolande (QR): “QR is a movement that represents the kind of world we all want to live in, and before we also discussed a lot about equality without even directly mentioning it and I think that is one of the most important points of QR and which will also very much identify how it will evolve in the next future. It’s in the title itself. Renaissance means a world that we want to live in and it represents both equality and equity. ”
SRP: “Earlier you have mentioned the Live Resistance as an active tool to give . We have seen QR in action very much recently in support of specific causes, such as the BLM movement, hosting a great variety of events to create awareness but also actively participate in this call/actiob for change. Would you like to address about the Quarantine Live Resistance as one of the other key components of QR as a movement?”
Lucien (QR): “I initially heard about QR from a friend. Being an activist myself, I immediately felt connected to the movement and became involved as a French language teacher. I quickly understood that my mission within the movement would have been greater than that. Other than French, I really opened my course to people eager to learn about my own culture, and African culture at large. I believe this is the true beauty of a transnational platform which give everyone the opportunity to be a teacher and a learner at the same time. Living in close proximity, I had the chance to personally organize with Sarah various activities also for the Live Resistance part. In Italy I have always been very vocal about certain issues such as discrimination, and racism. During the most recent Black Lives Matters protests around the world, LR has been an essential tool to amplify those voices, come together and confront each other on an open space, from everywhere in the world. (LR has already hosted two transnational roundtables about racism on their page, broadcasting in various languages*) Recently for example, I had an idea to go on the streets of the city I live in and interview people about these issues. It was a very interesting experience, and we have broadcasted it on LR’s page for everyone across the world to interact with it.
SRP: “We would like to hear more from the teachers as well. What kind of challenges have you been faced with, teaching online on QR, and what is unique about it?”
Luz (QR): “Being a dance, body movement, and stretching teacher I would say the biggest fear of teaching online was not being able to coordinate people and coach them in the right way. However, I soon found out that in my personal teaching experience with QR not only was this issue quickly overcome, but it possibly has become a benefit. I had to learnt o listen to my body again, in order to guide people into listen to their bodies as well, which has brought me to a greater level of understanding of myself and body expression, leading me to an even greater connection with my QR students and family.”
Maria: “QR really does feel like a family. The community is so big, yet to close to each other. Everyday I can send or receive messages from everywhere in the world, and it makes me happy to have this sort of bond. I am a capoeira teacher, and I understand my subject not only as a martial art, but way more. It is body, soul and cultural expression, and I am glad I get to teach it. The human experience, solidarity and connection which I have found over QR, has been truly amazing.”
Kofi: “People are interested all the time in Ewe language. Whether it is on campus or off campus, I always get these kinds of requests from everyone who might be interested in learning Ewe, and the culture behind it. When I was presented with QR I proudly took this chance to open my class on the platform and be part of the project. Everyone is welcome!”
Continue watching the full video of our Dialogue with QR, and follow us on Facebook to take part in the next chapter!
We will probably host a new Dialogue very soon, this time interacting with even more people and probably discussing various topics. Feel free to make your suggestions in the comments below. In the meantime, have some fun exploring all the classes proposed form Yoga to guitar, and so much more. The introduction video of Renahdacimento may be helpful to understand more about the concept and also to get a general perception of the community!
QR is always open to new members, whether you want to be a teacher or a student, or both! Just follow the instructions on their official website: https://quarantinerenaissance.com . The world is just a click away from you!
We would like to thank also Federica for participating as a translator for the live interview, which was lead in different languages. She happens to be teacher/learner on QR as well: https://youtu.be/Ga0Q3YLzIik .
Thank you for reading! You can get in touch with the SRP team at the contacts listed at the bottom of this article. If you are interested in social responsibility, or you have a new ideas for the next Dialogue, do not hold back!
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