“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence,
it is self-preservation,
and that is an act of political warfare.”
The Creative Solutions Symposium allowed my group to reflect on the goals of our work and where to locate our energy. The fact that we were so taken care of made it possible to be immensely productive without feeling exhausted or overwhelmed. The conversations I had, the beauty of the physical space and the compassion and generosity of our hosts is something I will carry with me as a reminder of how resistance is possible when we are nurtured.”
-Rage Kidvai, 5 Boro Defenders, CSS ‘17
“During the days of mental and physical relaxation at SPACE, I came to realize that there's more work to be done in my arena but not at the expense of not taking care of me. My takeaway [from SPACE] is to ensure that I create a space at least once a month that allows for me to recharge mentally spiritually and physically.”
-Dr. Vanda Seward, Kings County District Attorney’s Office, CSS ‘16
Applications for the 2019 Creative Solutions Symposium are closed. Please check back in mid-2019 for applications to the 2020 Creative Solutions Symposium.
The Creative Solutions Symposium is a weeklong gathering (August 26th-August 31st, 2019) for activists, advocates, organizers and thinkers who are creating positive change in the world. So often, those working in the social justice arena give so much of themselves to their causes that there is little time for self-care and reflection. The Creative Solutions Symposium is an opportunity for reflection, recharging and focused work time away from the bustle and noise of daily life and in an environment that fosters idea-sharing, building relationships and collaboration.
The Creative Solutions Symposium is lightly structured to give residents the opportunity to shape as much of their time on Ryder Farm as possible to best suit their needs. During their stay, residents have access to Ryder Farm’s 127 acres of woodlands, meadow and lakefront as well as ample non-traditional meeting and work spaces both indoors and out. The only requirements are that all residents gather together three times a day for farm-fresh meals and give back two hours of their time to Ryder Farm through farming, landscaping, maintenance, building or community initiatives. Each organization also leads a workshop for the other Symposium residents as part of a community exchange. Past workshops have run the gamut from a guided meditation to a workshop on equity, diversity and inclusion.
SPACE is committed to supporting a wide range of groups of organizations and professionals through the Symposium. As of 2017, all of SPACE’s individual and small group residences are free to participants, and SPACE grants at least 50% of residencies to persons of color and underrepresented voices.
Residents cover their travel to and from the farm. If you are traveling from New York City, a round-trip off-peak Metro North ticket from Grand Central Terminal to Brewster Terminal is $29.00. Transportation between the Brewster Terminal and farm is provided by the SPACE team.
All Creative Solutions Symposium applicants must be at least 18 years old.
Groups must have a clear plan for sustaining and expanding their work or project beyond the Creative Solutions Symposium.
Applicants cannot have previously participated in the Creative Solutions Symposium. Former participants are encouraged to apply for a Creative Residency.
The Primary Contact on the application may only apply for one SPACE program each season.
Past Creative Solutions Symposium participants include a wide range of activists, advocates, organizers and thinkers: 5 Boro Defenders, And Also Too, Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement, Chicago Community Bond Fund, The Correctional Association of New York, Corrections Accountability Project at Urban Justice Center, Fit the Description, The Gathering for Justice, Girls for Gender Equity, H.O.L.L.A. (How Our Lives Link Together), The Kings County District Attorney’s Office, New York Anti-Violence Project, New York City Zen Center for Contemplative Care, SPARK Movement, US Department of Arts and Culture, Urban Leaders Academy, the Vera Institute of Justice Ending Girls’ Incarceration initiative, WITNESS and many more.
-Shawnda Chapman Brown, Sarah Zarba & Halimah Washington
Vera Institute of Justice, CSS ‘18
“The Creative Solutions Symposium gave our team time and space for deep, focused work. Being in residence with other artists, advocates and community organizers who were also working on creative solutions to social justice issues helped me feel less siloed while inspiring me with ideas and approaches I hadn’t considered before.”
-Una Lee, And Also Too, CSS ‘15
“It was a deeply thrilling, fruitfully productive, and wonderfully collaborative time for the four of us, and we valued it so very much. Additionally the kindness of the entire SPACE crew was just astonishing. We felt cared for and supported at every moment.”
-Sue Yacka, Anti-Violence Project, CSS ‘16
“What SPACE did for me was re-energized me and help build more capacity within me to do the tough work when it comes to challenging and changing all that is wrong with our criminal justice systems along with the policies, which give them authority to operate the way they do. At SPACE I learned how to heal and create ways to deal with the trauma I face in my work. Plus the mixture of different people who are in different fields of advocacy is refreshing because one gets to see other perspectives of advocacy work and the methods which are applied in order to get things done.”
-Tyrrell Muhammad, The Correctional Association of New York, CSS ‘15
The Creative Solutions Symposium is supported in part by the Deupree Family Foundation and the Ellen Mitchell Gallagher Fellowship.