20 March 2018 9 views

February Days 2018

A Youth Section conference exploring questions about Rudolf Steiner’s impulse and its meaning for the 21st century.

From the 1st to the 4th of February, over 100 young people gathered at the Goetheanum for the conference “February Days”. Participants included the students of the Anthroposophical Studies (Dornach), the Foyer Michael (France) and members of the different Youth Sections in countries such as the Netherlands, Latvia, Germany and Brazil.

The theme “Spiritual Fellowships in Service of the World” was inspired by the organising group’s interest in furthering our understanding of Rudolf Steiner’s impulse, and the meaning of the Anthroposophical Society and the School of Spiritual Science in present times.

All of us gathered to strengthen our connections to each other and discuss key questions of interest to young people who are part of the Anthroposophical movement: what is the future of Anthroposophy? What does it mean to be a member of the Society? What are our responsibilities as members of a spiritual community? How do we build meaningful relationships to work in service of our societies?

To explore these questions, a very international team - Guadalupe Olaizola (Argentina), Mila Kowarik (Dornach), Janna de Vries (Netherlands), Ioana Viscrianu (Romania) and Andrea de la Cruz (Spain) - invited young people and veteran members of the Anthroposophical movement to talk about their experiences belonging to different types of communities. It was our wish to provide a platform for young people’s voices next to those of more experienced lecturers, and to offer a peer-to-peer learning environment.

The event opened with a lecture by Constanza Kaliks on the development and history of community building. Using communities such as the Templars and the Franciscan Order as examples, her speech set the tone for vibrant working groups that explored issues around hierarchy, rules and autonomy. On the second day, a dialogue between Bodo von Plato and Robin Schmidt gave way for deepening conversations around the meaning of relationships, and the interconnection between the elements “I, You, We”.

Workshops in the afternoon sought to put theories and ideas into practice, with young facilitators offering their skills in areas such as music, theatre, eurythmy and painting. In the spirit of community and collaboration, the evening programme offered a Storytelling evening from three different storytellers; folk music and an open mic session; a classical concert by Trio Nenufar and a Eurythmy Ensemble performance by the Goetheanum Stage Group.

Discussion groups on the topics of the history of the Anthroposophical Society, sparked lively debates about the significance of the Goetheanum, the School of Spiritual Science’s First Class and the challenges we face with language when conveying spiritual concepts and ideas to others outside the realm of Anthroposophy.

Four days were simply not enough for all the conversations, debates, questions and ideas sparked by the themes of the conference. On Sunday evening, a spontaneous group made up of attendees continued discussions in the Youth Section House about the nature of the Society and the role of the Goetheanum - not only as a centre for Anthroposophy, but also as a school, a theatre and a contemporary building with a mixed identity and a lot to offer.

Perhaps reflecting on the life and future perspectives of Anthroposophical Society and of the School of Spiritual Science is an ever-contemporary subject, but for me both in my life and in the circumstances where the society and school are at the moment, it was primordial for them to be re-thought by the youth. (Participant feedback)

The conversation has since inspired continuous gatherings at the Youth Section House, which indicates an increased interest from the youth community of Dornach in the Society’s activities and the future of the Anthroposophical movement. Perhaps next year the debate will continue around the same topic; perhaps it will change completely. As always, it is up to the youth to decide.

“February Days” is an annual conference in its 13th year running. It focuses on the in-depth study of a particular theme chosen by young people. The next conference will take place at the Goetheanum from 31st January – 3rd of February 2019. For suggestions and ideas on themes, get in touch with the Youth Section’s team through mail@youthsection.org

For information on the Youth Section’s activities and upcoming events, visit www.youthsection.org

Article by Andrea de la Cruz Barral, Youth Section at the Goetheanum

Dornach, 20 March 2018