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Reclaiming the Afro

22 October 2014 - 3:10pm

White Eurocentric Beauty standards

Written by Jess Poyner













I first rejected the word ‘afro’ to describe my hair aged around nine or ten after a group of white teenage boys on my estate hissed and yelled the word at me as if it was an insult. From that day until a couple of years ago I always insisted that my hair was ‘curly’, grew it out and used curl definition gel to keep it in perfect ringlets framing my face.

It’s shameful how pervasive white, Eurocentric standards of beauty are in all types of media; I remember very few images of black women with their hair in a natural style such as an afro or in locs while growing up. Until very recently the dominant images in my life have been of white western styles, with the only famous people wearing locs being white people such as Newton Faulkner.

I have had to make a conscious decision to alter the bias in the media I consume and now follow many black fashion blogs on Tumblr which is inspiring me to be more and more creative with my natural hair and to properly appreciate its versatility. There’s a huge increase in black women embracing the natural hair movement which defies the idea that unstraightened black hair is unprofessional looking, ugly and unclean. Racial stigmitisation against natural hairstyles is definitely still prevalent in society; take for instance the massive backlash against Beyonce’s choice to keep her toddler’s hair natural, over 5,000 people signed a petition demanding that does something to stop it “developing matted dreads and lint balls”. Hair choice is of course a personal choice and should be that way, but due to bullying by society, people with afro hair are denied choice, and must succumb to impossible white beauty standards.

I went through a few phases of straightening my hair when going to the hairdressers, and feeling uncomfortable when my hair was brushed out and looked ‘frizzy’ (a ridiculously long and expensive process, lasting only a few days). Then when I was 16 I went for a radical change and cut it super short that changed it’s texture to looser and more kinky curls. I’m now far more confident to brush it out, and I style it using Aussie curl definition gel which conditions and fluffs it up and has a bit of hold in it that keeps my hair in place. Reclaim the word ‘afro’ to describe my hair has been an important part in defining my identity as a black woman.



DF Zine #12 – War & Peace

16 October 2014 - 3:42pm

Deadline: end of December

Calling all DFs

28 September 2014 - 9:48am
Calling all District Fellows! It’s Autumn again, and the days are getting colder. Summer has come, summer has gone, camps have been camped and songs have been sung. It’s Autumn again, and we’re all a little older.


As you get on with the new school year, the new university, the new job or the new freedom of a year whiled away with few commitments, cast your mind back to some old memories. Old memories which have stayed with you, experiences which have changed the way you think about the world and the way you live your life. Maybe they happened at District Camp this summer, maybe at an Elfin group night in the far distant past. Whatever they are, wherever they are from, they’ve helped to shape you as you’ve grown older.

Now, throw your minds eye into the mists of the future, the great unknown just waiting to be discovered. New opportunities, new challenges, new friends and new places. Maybe you know exactly what you want to do this year, maybe you haven’t the foggiest idea. Either way, I’m sure you want Woodcraft Folk, and the District Fellows Movement to be a part of it!


In just a couple of weeks time, a group of DFs will congregate on a house in Bristol. Who are these people I hear you ask? What is this weekend? These DFs are the DF Committee and the other roles that are elected at Althing each year to facilitate the fabulous work of our Movement. This weekend – Old/New – is when the old guard and the new get together to hand over, discuss the the roles and the things they’d like to do over the next year.

One of our main jobs as your elected representatives is to help you achieve all the fabulous things you want to do. Maybe you have an idea for a great project, maybe you want to set up a new group in your District, or perhaps you think that what we really need is a network of carrier pigeons to keep us all in touch – but you’re not really sure how to make it all happen.

Well, if you get on down to you’ll be able to find out all about what DFs is getting up to or planning, and how you can get in touch with DF Committee.


So, what can you do now? Well, before Old/New, we’d really like to know what you think about DFs and where you’d like to see us go in the future.

What do you enjoy about being a District Fellow?

Group nights, national events, campaigns, helping with younger ages and making beautiful new resources, the list of things DFs get up to is long and varied; what have you enjoyed?

What do you think is important about District Fellows?

What makes being a DF different, what is it that means you just keep coming back?

What would you like to see in the next year of the District Fellows Movement’s journey?

Maybe it’s something we do already that you’d like to see more of, maybe it’s something new and exciting that we’ve not done before. Whatever it is, at whatever scale, it’s your ideas, your passion and your energy that makes it happen and keeps us going!

Feeling inspired yet? If you are, and you’d like to make your voice heard, email your thoughts to

Hope to hear from you all soon!

Blue skies

DF Committee 2014-2015


Climate Change info

26 September 2014 - 6:10pm

This is a (not conclusive!) list of good online resources for info about climate change.

The Basics

Royal Society summary

Royal Society on Climate Change Myths

Alevel chemistry student’s revision video on climate. Good on explaining how greenhouse gasses work.

The Carbon Breif (climate science + policy website)

Met Office Climate Guide

The 5 scariest things that could happen or are probably already happening because of climate change

Fracking explained with good graphics

A film about climate change science, politics, and The People’s Climate March

Drilling deeper into Fracking

An Inconvenient Truth (film)


Green solutions

A carbon rationing system

How solar pannels work

One Million Climate Jobs

Book about sustainable energy

This list is not finished!!! Partly because I’m about to go out and partly because I don’t have all the useful explaining climate change resources but I’m thinking that together we do right? email me at or message me on facebook (my name is Josie Tothill) if you have links to anything that could be useful for DFs around the country.

Venturer Committee 14-15 Report

18 September 2014 - 6:09pm

What have Venturer Committee been up to this year? A lot, that’s what! Read on…


We have secured funding and are in the process of opening a bank account. This means it will be a lot easier for us to apply for more funding, manage our expenses and be more organised.


Venturer Committee


Venturer committee has produced  a short information pack for leaders of venturer groups based on venturers’ views about how groups should be run best. Of course venturer leaders have a great deal of experience and some of the information in the pack will be familiar to them, but we hope they will still pick up some new tips and ideas- after all, no one knows more about what venturers want than venturers! The guide has been written and is currently being adorned and made beautiful and will be published on the woodcraft website within a few months.



Two elfin groups in Cambridge and Brighton have been twinned through two members of the committee. Badger elfins in Cambridge district and Galleon elfins in Central Brighton and Hove district were twinned by Sean Irving and James Holmes, who both volunteer at their local elfin groups. So far the groups have exchanged drawings, photos, and friendship bracelets and the link between the groups looks set to grow in the future. Venturer committee decided to support the twinning project set up by TREE by linking groups committee members are connected to, and hopefully more new links will be formed in the future.



Venturer committee would like to thank all the regions and the DFs for giving us funding now that TREE is over. We are now able to continue our work as venturer committee and are incredibly grateful.


Venturer Committee at their March Meeting

Venturer Secret Friends

Venturer Secret Friends is a new initiative set up by Venturer Committee, based upon the current Secret Friends for DFs and Kinsfolk. It will be a way for venturers around the country to forge links and friendships with other venturers across Woodcraft.

The system works whereby participants fill in their address and email on a form and each participant gets given a ‘secret friend,’ a participant who does not know of your connection and so you can send them items/emails/glitter/poems/fun-words without them knowing who the person sending is. It would be advisable to set up an email address especially for this e.g. “” so you do not mistakenly send your name to your secret friend.

The form will have a notes section at the bottom for you to detail any important things for whoever receives your name for example

●      Gluten-free

●      Vegan

●      Vegetarian(Can’t really see chunks of meat being sent through the post but oh well)

●      Don’t like glitter

Every 2-3 months the friendships will be moved out of the realm of secrecy, letting everyone know who exactly it is who has caused an influx of glitter and crumbs inside the hoover. Participants will be given a notice as to this so if they wish can send out a message revealing themselves. After the revelations unfold, the form shall be reopened and new participants will be added to become friends for the next round.

Winter Wonderland North Booking Open

16 September 2014 - 6:30pm

 Winter Wonderland North Booking is Open now! 


Winter Wonderland happens 27th-30th December every year. Don’t worry though, we won’t be camping! This event is the big celebration of DFs, we welcome a new year of DFs on DF new year (30th Dec).

This event will be full to the brim of  dancing, singing, shouting ‘TUNE’, walking, discussing, debating, crafting, wonderful people, hugs, oven cooked food, eating said food, sleeping, warm indoors, dressing up, 3 theme nights, guitars, ukuleles and smiles.

Coordinators – Manchester DFs

Site – Near Harrogate/Darlington

Event – £65 including Fairer Fare

Date – 27th – 30th December 2014

Who – DFs (16-20 members of the Woodcraft Folk)









As there has been problems with lots of people dropping out in previous years, so  there is a refunds policy for this years events CLICK HERE to find it.

If you cancel without a valid reason

  • More than a  month (before 27th Nov)- Full refund
  • Less than a month (after 27th Nov) – £15 cancellation charge
  • Booked but do not attend/cancel on 26th Dec – £30 cancellation charge






Winter Wonderland South Booking Open

16 September 2014 - 6:30pm















Now that September is well and truly upon us we have all been buried under a pile of work, part time work, school work, house work, work work.

BUT there are also a multitude of things to look forward to in the next couple of months:

picking a halloween costume, carving pumpkins, watching the fireworks, writing to santa, going to South East Thing, pumpkin spice latte, jumpers, snow, Christmas, Other wintery celebrations of family and life

See, loads to look forward to. Hang on. I’m sure there was something else for that list. something about woodies? And winter? oh yeah, Winter Wonderland! Now that’s what we’re really excited about!

So let’s get to the nitty gritty. This year there are going to be two winter wonderlands, one in the north and one in the south. South is being run by:

  • Faye Deakin (admin)
  • Sophie Holden (admin & night programme)
  • Esther Price ( day programme)
  • Minne Alred (KE)
  • Zoe Fidler (KP)
  • Charlotte Williams (KP)

Dates – 27th-30th December 2014

Price – £65 including Fairer Fare. Pay when you arrive or post a Cheque to:

Faye Deakin, 9 Godesdone Road, Cambridge CB1 8HR

Who – DFs (16-20 members of the Woodcraft Folk)

Winter Wonderland South is being held in a really beautiful building about an hour from Cambridge.

Nearest Train Station - Huntington

Programme is still in the works but there will of course be a cheesy disco and a mini thing as well as other fantastic entertainment for the night and activities for the day. If you would like to run something please don’t hesitate to contact Esther or Sophie.

As always Winter Wonderland will take place from the 27th-30th December. Booking is open now so get ready to have an amazing three days and we’ll see you soon!

As there has been problems with lots of people dropping out in previous years, so there is a refunds policy for this years events CLICK HERE to find it.

If you cancel without a valid reason

  • More than a  month (before 27th Nov)- Full refund
  • Less than a month (after 27th Nov) – £15 cancellation charge
  • Booked but do not attend/cancel on 26th Dec – £30 cancellation charge


Sea Monsters for Climate Change – Get involved!

5 September 2014 - 7:45pm


On the 21st of September 2014 a UN summit on climate change is taking place in New York, ahead of the climate change conference in Paris next year. Lets show them that we care. Across the world The People’s Climate March is taking to the streets, so let’s join them! Dressed as monsters from the depths of the ocean DFs will express their delight in the fact that if human governments continue to do as little as they are to protect the planet, then we will rule supreme as the lands are flooded and other sea creatures die out.

Grab your DFs and get to an action! Maybe you could make costumes at a group night? Bring along other age groups in your district? Gently persuade non woodies to don some scales and come with. Most importantly BE THERE!

Click here  to find out where the nearest action to you is. While you’re out and about, talk to people about the campaign and why it matters to you. Take lots of photos and videos if you can, and email me about what you’re up to at

Althing Booking Open

11 August 2014 - 9:37pm

Booking Open is open now!

Find out more about what Althing is HERE

£25 per person including food, accommodation, and fairer fare

Site – Drumhill Scout Camp
Morley Lane
Little Eaton
DE21 5AH

Nearest Train Station- Derby (DBY)

Any more questions email

If you want to send cheques, send to
Naomi Wilkins
1 Moor Lane
North Somerset
BS24 9QJ


Nominations open for Althing

22 July 2014 - 4:20pm
Althing is fast approaching. Motions and Musings are already being sent in.

We also need people to stand for roles. To stand all you need to do is be a DF with up to date Woodcraft Folk membership and fill in the form at the bottom of this page. You don’t have to come to Althing to stand, nor do you need any experience or cash. Any DF is welcome to stand.

Here’s a bit of information about all the roles. To find out more you can click on the page of the relevant role or talk to the person who currently has that role. If you get voted in you’ll have a month or so to get all the info you can from the old Rep and you get to come to Old/New, our changeover event.

International Affiliations

Responsible for all our overseas endeavors.

Changeover Pack 

Communications Rep

Committee Role, Two years

The comms rep is responsible for all DF Communications. Find out more by reading the Comms changeover pack.

Changeover Pack



Committee Role, Two Years

Keep minutes of all DF business and make sure we do it all right and don’t forget anything.


Affiliations Rep

Committee Role, Two years

You keep the DF Movement connected to other similar organisations, helping us work together for our shared goals.


Campaigns Rep

Committee Role, Two years

Each new Campaign comes with a new Campaigns rep. Your role will vary depending on what the campaign is. Campaigns rep manages the main campaign of the DF Movement and helps DFs with any other campaigning they’re interested in.

Campaigns Changeover Pack



Committe Role, Two years

Manager of MEST-UP. You make sure it all runs smoothly at events and elsewhere. Try to develop MEST-UP to reach even more people in more ways.

MEST-UP Rep Changeover Pack


Consideration for Chair of DF Committee

Chair of DF Committee isn’t elected by Althing. At Althing, whoever fancies standing for Chair of DF Committee needs to have the approval of Althing to be on Committee. They hust to the floor and anyone over RON will go one to be considered by the new DF Committee. As with all roles, if no one is able to fill them Committee is able to coopt someone.

If elected by DF Committee this is a Committee Role, one year.

Chair Changeover Pack



Committee Role, Two years

Laymembers sit on DF Committee but have no specific role. Their job is to help out with anything that doesn’t fit into another area and take on jobs that other DFs don’t have time for. They provide a unique perspective on what DFs should be doing, as they aren’t focused on any specific area.



Committee Role, One year

To stand for this role you must have treasuring training and experience with DF finances.


Shadow Treasurer

Committee Role, One year

Become trained in treasuring and gain experience with DF finances by shadowing the current treasurer.

Treasurer Changeover pack


Zine Editor

Other Role, One year

The role of Zine Editor is to manage the submissions, editing, and publication of the DF Zine. For every zine, submissions must be sent in by the movement (usually around a theme), compiled, edited, laid out, and published. The published copies are usually then sent out with the courier but can be sent out on their own if needs be. The zine editor has a budget to spend over the year, and can choose how many publications to make (3/4 is best). To allow for some time to create a first zine, it is best if editor of the previous year publishes one late summer/early autumn. A zine editor needs to be creative, and interested in both design and content, although needn’t be the one creating either. That being said, it is very useful to have a good understanding of how to use adobe indesign, or other design software, and be willing to write as well.

Check out the Zine here


Venturer Committee Liaison

Other Role, One year

The venturer committee liaison role is all about supporting Venturer Committee and acting as a link between them and the DF Movement. This means going to all Venturer Committee meetings, helping Venturer Committee get on with their actions, helping them get in touch with any members of DF Committee, being able to provide information about DFs, and keeping DFs/DF committee informed about what Venturer Committee is up to. It’s a great role, because Venturer Committee do really interesting stuff and achieve lots!


First Aid Rep

Other Role, One Year

Make sure all DF events have enough First Aiders. Arrange rotas for First Aiders on events. Organise training for more First Aiders. Keep a log of all serious incidents and make sure they are reported to the right people. Help event teams with parks of their Risk Assessments.


Workers Beer Rep

Must be over 18, Other Role, One year

Arrange the Workers beer places for that year. You get to guarantee yourself a place at your fave festival.



Other Role, One year

A fairly high level of technical skill is required for this role. The Webfairy is responsible for making sure and the Committee emails are working properly. They work closely with the Comms rep to make sure all DF online communication is running smoothly.


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