2018 Connections Festival Schedule
The Rainbow Games
Rediscover the joy of play through our exciting, improvised fantasy game. You’ll get to team up with a group of friends on an adventure to explore a mysterious new world, and get involved in some fun challenges to save the world. This session is about embracing awe, wonder and joy, and through this we’ll bring vibrant colour back into your life - as you might get a bit wet or use body paint we strongly suggest bringing a towel or change of clothes (wipes will also be available).
Boys Will Be Boys: Games on Clapham Common
Playing games is a very different way of connecting and has become a Loving Men tradition. Join us on the common (or in the Café if it's raining) for a few light-hearted, sometimes silly, sometimes profound, interactive games and a real laugh - and do bring your own ideas for games if you have them!
I am an ageing youthful man living with HIV who grows things - in my garden & in my work. Hopefully I grow myself as well (with support & sometimes screaming)! I am an artist, a gardener, a cook & a therapist & supervisor amongst other things. I try & enjoy all I do & encourage you to do the same.
I have lived in a range of places - Chile, France & various places in the UK. I am particularly interested in Community & have lived in a number & belong to some more. Currently I live in one in Devon with 35 other adults & 12 children. We are like a village & try & make decisions by listening & finding points in common rather than emphasising our differences although they are important as well.
I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Tim, Dennis and Sanjay for more years than I can remember. I have much gratitude for this! And I have gained so much from them!
Connections in the Age of Undetectability
With the widespread understanding that undetectable positive men are not infectious for HIV, the growing use of Pep and Prep amongst many negative men, and the reality that some men are still contracting the virus, this workshop will provide a space to share feelings and reflections on the changing experiences of HIV amongst the gay, bi and queer men's communities. We'll explore the different impacts this has had, and how we are adjusting to and integrating changes in our understandings, identifies, practices and priorities in relation to HIV.
As a nurse, Bert went on completing his bachelors in contemporary dance at the Conservatoire in Antwerp, Belgium. Bert's performers and movement directors experience include projects for: BBC, La Monnaie/De Munt National Opera Brussels, United-c, Joji Inc., Mountview Academy of theatre arts, London Fashion week and Pop band Friss.be. He teaches movement based workshops for theatre and dance professionals. And is a founding member of international theatre ensemble Babakas and artistic director of MoveMe.
Marc is a psychotraumatologist who works across charities and the NHS. His passion for exploring the role of contact, play and assertion in GBTQ men's lives led him to introduce (along with Bert) PlayFight / QueerFight to the UK from the European Queer Community. He has a passion for experimental dance, and is researching the role that movement plays in trauma recovery.
Playfight / Queerfight
Created by Queer and Trans men in Europe, Playfight / Queerfight creates a unique space for you to play with physical contact and connection.
The Playfight involves a long warm-up, where we explore body awareness and contact improvisation through, gravity, experiencing touch, and dynamic embodied movement. The Queerfight ritual offers the chance to establish a connection with an opponent and to explore playfulness and embodied dialogue.
Playfight / Queerfight is a new practice that nurtures the physical and mental spaces between play, pleasure and power.
Everyone is invited to move within their own limits and possibilities, and you don’t need any previous experience of combat sports, martial arts, dance or Playfighting to take part.Playfight is open to Gay, Bi, Trans and Queer identifying men.
Can We Make Grindr Kinder?
How to use apps to make connections in the 21st Century
This workshop will brainstorm and discuss peoples experience of using apps to make connections with others.
We’ll come up with a blueprint for how to maximise the chances of intimate connection via your smart phone.
Do not despair. We can make Grindr kinder. We have the technology. 😉
You are welcome to bring your smart phone with you to the workshop.
Born in Trinidad, Haydn has worked and volunteered for various HIV organisations. He has co-facilitated the monthly group 'Black Connection' at PACE with Dennis L. Carney and has worked as a Counsellor at London Friend and The Metro.
Haydn also holds a MA Dramatherapy; has a private Counselling practice in Camberwell, South London and is training in Integrative Transpersonal Psychotherapy at Re-Vision. He loves hot yoga, the creative/cultural expression of Trinidad & Tobago, works as a part time counsellor/dramatherapist in a secondary school.
This workshop will explore the theme of 'Connections' by using the medium of Story. It will be an invitation to an experiential journey through the Korean Story called 'The Storybag'.
Using the embodied process of the Sesame Approach to Dramatherapy, being present to conversations which might develop and our collective creativity, we will attempt to learn something new about ourselves and each other. We'll do this through a series of creative exercises and small group exploration - using to music, quiet reflection and interpersonal contact.
Please wear comfortable clothing.
Andy Butterfield is a yoga teacher and shiatsu therapist and folds his experience of different yoga styles, bodywork and meditation into his teaching and practice.
Andy is passionate about creating community and holding a safe, relaxed and meaningful space for gay and bi men to meet and explore intimacy, connection and joy.
He teaches for YogaNu, as well as other group and 1:1 classes and is based in London and Brighton.
Experience Shiatsu - the touch of the heart
Shiatsu is therapeutic bodywork that uses stretches, joint mobilisation, acupressure and holding to bring the body into a state of deep relaxation, supporting and balancing vital lifeforce energy.
In this physical and experiential workshop, you will work individually and with partners to learn simple shiatsu techniques that you can practice at home with loved ones. Come and experience how movement, stretching and touch can both enliven and deeply nourish and relax us.
You will remain fully clothed so please wear warm, loose, comfortable clothing. The workshop is available to anyone, but you should be able to sit or kneel comfortably on the floor.
Amanda Gay Love
Amanda Gay Love is passionate about queers of all descriptions having great sex. Over the last 20 years she has been fairly obsessed with LGBT issues and queer sexualities. Amanda has extensive training in relationship therapy, women's sexuality, queer theory, tantra, and BDSM practices. She creates Queer Hearted spaces so that people can explore and expand their sensual, sexual and spiritual potential. Ultimately she is all about pleasure and ensuring that people have a myriad of ways to get it.
Amanda facilitates gender and sexuality experiences that are healing transformative loving joyfests. As well as running her own teaching spaces and workshops she produces a number of events and supports practitioners to ensure we all get to have shiner and more loving queer times when we get together. She also holds love rituals for queer couples, coaching, support and supervision for sex workers and body workers.
Find her at QueerHearted.com
Breath and Energy Connection
This workshop will involve using breath, sound, movement and intention to create a process where participants can have a breath and energy orgasm allowing them to journey into their queer heart. Its gender free and genital free, instead bringing forth sprit and willfullness to create orgasmic potential.
This practice is a queer hearted tantric technique which brings potential for connecting with our precious LGBT+ sexualities as sites of ecstatic joy, healing and liberation. This workshop will involve working on your own. Please wear lose comfortable clothing and perhaps bring a blanket or sarong to place over you.
Connecting with Power
In this workshop we will explore how power intersects with our sex and sexualities. Deepening our relationship to power to juice up connections with ourselves and others through using ancient and modern sacred practices. We will create a safe container to explore as we then delve into meeting our most powerful selves. Then in pairs you will be guided through a range of exercises to help balance, amp up and journey with the power between you and a partner. Finally, there will be the opportunity to use impact and intense sensation to bring another layer of power play.
The workshop is for all levels of experience and curiosity. You will be asked to work with different people at different times, you may also bring a partner and work with them for the whole workshop.
Dennis L Carney
Dennis L Carney is a co-founder of Loving Men. He has completed 12 years post-graduate training in humanistic integrative psychotherapy at Spectrum and also teaches a range of short counselling and personal development courses at The City Literary Institute, London.
Dennis has a passion for working with groups & also delivers a range of training courses on Diversity, LGBT Equality, Team Building, Anger Management, Personal & Professional Development. Dennis also runs a small private practice that offers personal development sessions to clients.
Tell Me Who You Are
This highly interactive workshop, will explore how honest & authentic we are when telling others who we really are.
Using a combination of simple exercises, theoretical concepts and group discussion we will identify what helps or hinders us from telling others who we are; in a fun, intimate, confidential and supportive space.
Simon Marks is an MA qualified Dramatherapist, counsellor and LGBTQ+ group facilitator. Dramatherapy draws on the creative arts - and powerfully fuses them with the therapeutic process.
Simon specialises in LGBTQ+ mental health, recovery and healing the inner-child. He has been running group and individual Dramatherapy sessions since 2015, providing a safe and contained space for creative expression, connection and personal reflection.
Simon runs the popular gay and bisexual men's discussion group A Change Of Scene.
Dramatherapy Taster: Discovering Your Inner Gold
Trying to connect to ourselves and each other isn't easy when we're blocked by our own shadow. Also known as the inner-critic or saboteur, the shadow and its many manifestations might tell you that you're not good or worthy enough for the life and relationships you truly desire.
Working experientially with the unconscious, and exploring aspects of Jung's archetypes, including the 'Hero', through character development and play, in this workshop you'll be invited to delve beyond your shadow and connect to the Hero within, where your true-self and inner-gold lies waiting to be discovered.
Tom Cowan is a Vajrasati yoga teacher, body worker, workshop facilitator, radical faerie and regularly supports Loving Men events.
He has a passion for nature connection work, awareness and meditative practices and also enjoys supporting group work within the LGBTQ community.
Rewilding - Exploring Connection to Self, Each Other and Nature
We will explore the urban green space of Clapham Common and spend time grounding, breathing and awakening our senses, meditatively receiving the more than human world around us.
We join together to welcome nature in with a series of practices, games and exercises to rewild our selves, strengthening the threads of connection, building resilience and community whilst having fun!
Dress for the weather and bring something dry to sit on.
Ralf Jaroschinski was born in Germany, grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and trained as a professional dancer in Europe and New York, USA.
With over 30 years' experience in diverse dance techniques, Ralf directed the dance company of the German Hildesheim City Theater and choreographed for several dance companies.
He began dancing contact improvisation over 20 years ago, and during the past 15 years he has taught it in classes and workshops throughout Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Australia.
Sensual Contact Improvisation
In contact improvisation, the zones where two (or more) bodies physically meet are the source of inspiration for sharing tactile sensations and for being in movement together with one another. This way of experiencing connection with ourselves and others is inclusive of our sensual, emotional and erotic bodies.
We'll find unique and direct ways of expressing ourselves with utmost ease, and at the same time, we'll be in close proximity with other men - a special constellation which evokes profound intimacy, great generosity and deeply felt joy.
The interactive exercises in this workshop are geared towards building trust among the participants through direct, physical communication and touch.
Once personal limits are tested, established, and respected, questions of responsibility and power will soften, and a feeling of unobstructed ease will enter the interactions. They might turn into continuous dances and even involve some acrobatic elements.
In any case, the participants will experience intimacy and discover that it can be beautiful and profoundly enjoyable to be able to trust.
Bodhi Nicholas Hunt
Bodhi Nicholas Hunt is a psychotherapist, 5Rhythms Dance & Mindfulness teacher. Bodhi has been teaching 5Rhythms for over 12 years for the LGBTQ community. He has a therapy practice working with shame/trauma and teaches a weekly movement class in London. He runs workshops in London, Europe, Russia and Asia.
He feels passionate that people have the potential to live a full, valuable and meaningful life with the capacity to heal from past difficulty inline with their values.
SWEAT - 5 Rhythms Ⓒ Movement Practice
Ignites creative action with breath (being) - no steps to learn. Instead we listen to our own body through movement and expand our physical vocabulary in relationship to both ourselves and others in the group.
Through the Rhythms we can begin to embrace feelings of compassion and courage and expand our capacity to love and be loved in the most brilliant way.
Come with an open mind and leave with a loving heart!
''I believe in the healing power of men coming together to dance, to celebrate as we have for millennium and this has been a focus for my teaching from the start'' - Bodhi
Daan van Kampenhout
A shamanic practitioner for more than 25 years, Daan van Kampenhout has studied with traditional healers and shamanic teachers from various cultures (Lakota, Southern Ute, Sami and others). Combining elements of shamanic ritual and family constellations, he developed Systemic Ritual®.
Daan is the author of seven books. His writings have been translated in eleven languages. He works worldwide, creating rituals for different communities and groups. He lives in Amsterdam and Berlin.
Gay/Queer Ancestor Ritual
In each culture, in each generation, LGBTQ people are born. Each of us has gay/queer ancestors, although we do not know their names and faces because most of them were living hidden lives.
In this ritual, we experience the lineages of queerness as they stretch out throughout time. Monotheistic religion has tried to make us believe we are a mistake, but we are part of creation. Connecting to our queer ancestors throughout time gives us a new sense of belonging. Knowing where we come from, we discover unexpected roots and solid ground.
The cruising grounds as a temple
When we visit a gay sauna, cruising place or sex venue, how do we manage the paradox of opening up for other men while simultaneously protecting ourselves? How do we manage the contrast between the power and immediacy of our instinctual drives and our knowledge about what is good or bad for us?
The environments where casual and anonymous sex are the norm are challenging in many ways. For this workshop we turn the workshop space into a playful cruising ground, where we will do a series of exercises that will build connections between our body, heart, mind, soul and spiritual resources. When we connect to all of that we are instead of splitting off and losing ourselves, the cruising ground can turn into a sacred temple where we can feel grounded, secure and whole.
The workshop will not involve nudity or sexual contact.
Love Dragon is a queer researcher of human connections. Whether in dance, bondage or at the gaming table, he is teaching people the rules of how to gently meet each other with respect and fun.
His journey started early in his childhood with ballroom dancing, which later was replaced by Tango Argentino and Contact Improvisation.
Love Dragon is a tango teacher, a sacred intimate and body worker. He is also exploring Tarot and Bondage. Privately, he's a big board-game geek
Connect to your centre and dance with your partners to the music of your hearts.
In this brief workshop based on Queer Tango Argentino you will learn how to send and receive clear signals in order to move together, silently communicating via a tender connection. More than just a dance lesson, this is a body awareness training that will also teach you about nonviolence in partner dance.
The workshop is open for everyone, neither previous experience nor partners are required.
Surrender to the magic of the rope.
In a very simple introduction to bondage, you will learn to tie a safe and easy knot and how to bring yourself and your partner into a meditative state while exploring what is possible with a single rope and one knot.
You will switch roles to also receive a session, that will take you on a sensual journey towards calmness.
"... don't think bondage. Really think meditation. And maybe think of a home-coming."
Tim Foskett is an accredited individual and group psychotherapist. He is a co-Founder and Director of Loving Men. He is a certified 5RhythymsⒸ Teacher and currently a Board member of the International Conscious Movement Teachers Association.
He has written three interactive workbooks for gay/bi men on Getting Ready for Relationships; Relationship Skills and Sex. These are available on his website.
The Four-Fold Way - a recipe for Connection
This workshop uses the Four-Fold Way (first articulated by Shamanic Practitioner Angeles Arien) to create connection, and play with space, physical contact and verbal communication.
The Four-Fold Way invites us to:
- Show Up
- Pay Attention
- Speak Your Truth without blame or judgement
- Stay Open to the outcome.
We'll experiment with various exercises to practice the four strands and then put them together to experience intimate, unpredictable, consensual contact with others in the moment.
Games on the Common
In this workshop, weather permitting, we'll take to the Common and play games that are fun, connecting and give us opportunities to do things we don't usually do.
Who knows what connections we will make!
Gavin Frank is a singer, voice facilitator, Kirtan leader, and musician. He has been empowering people from all walks of life to find, embody and express the fullness of their own true voice for the last 18 years.
He has made several recordings with the duo Madrum as has performed solo in a contemporary dance production at the Barbican.
The Singing Heart
The singing heart is an open, fearless, resonant voice that emerges when we allow our true, authentic sound to express itself. This is available to anyone whether they class themselves a singer or non-singer.
This workshop will explore practices such as chant, mantra, bodywork, breath, saptak (Indian scale) and improvisation as a way of unlocking the deepest sound of our being. Sound has the potential to inspire, transform, release and engage us more fully with life and each other.
Dr. Manrutt Wongkaew is an independent creative director and visual artist. He has spent the last 16 years creating politically charged and emotionally engaged fashion designs, visual artwork and choreography.
His work has appeared in such publications as Vogue, British GQ, and the Guardian. Manrutt has also appeared on TEDx Talks and the BBC discussing the subjects of identity and motivation.
His work is never about fashion but how he pushes its boundaries to connect with light and shade of human emotion.
Iris Apfel, a style icon age 96, once said:
"I say, dress to please yourself. Listen to your inner muse and take a chance. Wear something that says 'Here I am!' today."
Let's glam up and unleash our inner goddess. We will spank those inner critics with 50 shades of hot pink, false eyelashes and sky-high heels. We will challenge gender stereotypes and celebrate who we really are.
Please bring items you would like to wear. Be bold. Be brave. And most importantly, be you!
Nick Kientsch learnt to meditate in 1990 and taught mindfulness as an undergraduate before moving to live in an urban Buddhist community for three years and then a Buddhist monastery for 6 years.
In 2009 he set up the gay/bi men’s mindfulness group. In 2012 Nick trained in providing the 8 week Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Programme and now facilitates workplace mindfulness events and courses and evening courses.
He has trained in body work and now leads workshops around mindful intimacy.
Exploring intimacy - the power of touch with consent and clear boundaries
Starting with a mindfulness practice to ground awareness in the body, then connecting to the heart and a wish for our own well-being and that of others. Drawing on the work I’ve been doing recently with the wheel of consent and intimacy.
I'll then lead a workshop around exploring how we can come into connection with others whilst staying true to our boundaries. This will include pair work, sharing and group discussions.
The focus will be on experiential exercises that are based on establishing consent to then facilitate touch. It will be a clothed workshop, with the option to remove a shirt if agreed in the pair. But not fully nude.
JF Callens is a skilled Consultant and Coach with over 10 years’ experience in working managers and leaders to maximise their potential.
With a creative background in movement, psychology and theatre, he specialises in supporting participants increase their ability to have presence and impact and implement the necessary changes in themselves that will inspire others. He offers powerful and thought provoking sessions delivered in a caring and supportive environment.
Self-Connection & Self-Regulation
An event like the Connections Festival can fill us with excitement, hopes, desires... but it can also leave us feeling overwhelmed, scared or intimidated- making it hard to connect and socialise with others.
During this creative and interactive workshop, you will explore how to access the resources you need to manage your nerves effectively and find the courage to show up and connect with others.
With lots of fun experiential learning, and some models and theories, together we will find ways to rediscover our centred selves.
Sam Cotton trained in solution-focused therapy with Uncommon Knowledge, and is a certified Hoffman Process Teacher, having lovingly facilitated countless hours of intense personal and spiritual development work.
Sam works as a one-to-one coach to support others to connect with their authentic self, and he also draws on a wealth of experience from his own healing journey which includes 12-step addiction recovery, integrative arts therapy and an innate passion for self-enquiry.
Deeper Connection in Relationship
Are you tired of bringing your past into the present? This workshop explores how we often unconsciously transfer our early childhood emotions onto our friends, sexual and romantic partners, work colleagues and even those we hardly know.
A mixture of discussion, practical exploration and visualisation, you will come away with a clear model to work with your own transferences and reconnect with your authentic self, leaving you free to connect with others from a place of wholeness.
Laurie Slade is a UKCP registered psychotherapist, in private practice in West London. He is a member of the Guild of Psychotherapists and the Gordon Lawrence Foundation for Social Dreaming.
Laurie has been involved in social dreaming since 2001, hosting sessions in a variety of settings, in the UK and internationally.. He is co-founder of the Queer Social Dreaming Matrix, running since 2016, a bi-monthly open access meeting in London for sexual minorities.
Social Dreaming Matrix
In the Social Dreaming, we share dreams and associations. We aren't there to interpret dreams for the dreamer - we're there to pool the resources of our dreaming minds, seeing where this takes us.
After the matrix has closed, we have space to reflect on the experience, identify emerging themes, and see what Connections we are making. For anyone interested in dreams, imagination, creativity and new thinking.
Skills for Difficult Conversations:
How Do We Talk About Racism?
This workshop will introduce some key skills for difficult, complex or emotive conversations – in relationships of all kinds. We’ll use the topic of race and racism in gay relationships and the wider community as the focus for this workshop.
We’ll explore feelings, experiences and difficulties in talking about ethnicity, race, and racism between gay/bi men. We will employ an approach called the Zegg Forum which was developed to help people talk constructively about potentially emotional and difficult issues in ways that support understanding and ultimately connection.
João Oliveira grew up in Brazil and has been offering holistic treatments in London for the last decade and, more recently, workshops in London, as well as at festivals. His experience in Teaching, Bodywork, Meditation, Energy Work and Tantra as well as his eclectic background have shaped his very special style: friendly, knowledgable, profound and fun.
Find out more at tantricjourney4men.co.uk
In Tantra we learn to connect with ourselves and one another through breath, movement, sound and touch.
You are invited to go beyond the superficial and physical appearances, from a place of loving kindness to yourself and those around you, expressing your truth and boundaries..
You should wear comfortable clothes, at least 5 pieces, 3 of which may be removed during different activities. Your t-shirt and shorts/underwear will be kept on. Please bring a towel, and an open heart and mind.
Give and receive caring touch in a friendly and informal environment with varied partners.
We will work with different strokes in highly sensitive areas of the body such as chest, abdomen and gluteus regions. This workshop is very hands-on and ideal for those who are a bit shy or new to bodywork..
Please bring a towel. We will use a small amount of oil.
Those attending will give and receive floor-based massages. When massaging, you will need to be close to the floor, often sitting or kneeling. You will need to be fit enough to be in such positions for about 20 minutes at a time.
Jason Lowe is a Humanistic Integratively trained therapist, and a long time music lover. He has performed professionally with choirs and bands across the UK and South Africa from the age of 7. He writes music and enjoys playing on his guitar and singing and dancing in his car to the amusement of passersby.
Loving Men Sings
I believe the ability to sing exists in all of us; for me it's not about the sound or the key but about the connection we feel with the music. I experience music as a great equaliser and connector with the people around me; when I have no words to express myself the lyrics and music help pull me through.
I'd love to create a space where men can sing and connect together as a group in a relaxed, non-judgemental environment. This year we are planning our most ambitious medley of songs for Connections. Come join the fun :)
Yoga Wind Down
with Tom Cowan
After all the excitement and stimulation of the day, let Tom take you on a gentle yoga journey that brings you back to your breath, space and sensation in your body. Rest back into yourself with deeper compassion, appreciation and contentment and find a sense of ease and wellbeing in the present moment.
Mindful stretches and movements will be blended together with yoga nidra, a special practice that brings about deep relaxation and rejuvenation.
Yoga Wind Down
with Andy Butterfield
After all the excitement and stimulation of the day, let Andy take you on a gentle yoga journey that brings you back to your breath, space and sensation in your body. Rest back into yourself with deeper compassion, appreciation and contentment and find a sense of ease and wellbeing in the present moment.
Mindful stretches and movements will be blended together with yoga nidra, a special practice that brings about deep relaxation and rejuvenation.
Daniel E Browne
Daniel Browne is a e-coach and business consultant with over 10 years' experience working with individuals and teams. He uses practical coaching and spiritual tools to help people clear the beliefs and blockages that hold them back from creating what they want in life. Daniel helps clients with relationships, leadership and balance.
Daniel is the author of the WHSmith best-selling book 'The Energy Equation - how to be a top performer without burning yourself out.'
He is also a practitioner of the Theta healing technique, Ancestral Clearing and the Body Mirror System of Healing.
Dating in the internet age can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
In this workshop you will learn:
- how to use your natural intuition to navigate the world of online & offline dating
- how to use the law of attraction to attract the right dates to you
- how to free yourself from the beliefs that hold people back from attracting what they desire
This will enable you to cut through the fluff, save yourself time and ultimately find the partner that you are seeking.
Booking, deposits, final payments and cancellation
Booking, payments and cancellation
For all events, Loving Men advise you to take out travel insurance to cover yourself for illness, emergency or cancellation
Conduct at Events
To ensure your own and others' welfare, Loving Men asks you to: