Come and join us at the Big Man Gathering II


Men of all backgrounds are invited to attend this year’s Big Man Gathering II, a weekend of unique workshops and activities set amongst the tents, yurts, campfires and woodlands of the beautiful WoWo campsite in Sussex.

The event is created by some of the leading practitioners working with men in the UK today as part of the 3rd National Conference for Men and Boys, so if you’re a man who is interested in personal growth and development then why not join us for a day or even spend the whole weekend with us at this year’s Big Man Gathering.

The event takes place on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th September and you can book your tickets online now here.

Once you buy your ticket you have a choice of great workshops throughout the weekend from some great facilitators including:

  • Kenny D’Kruz of Menspeak
  • Max MacKay-James of Men Beyond 50
  • Rob Fallon of Wild Nature
  • Marc Broderic of Wisdom Walks
  • Barry Fowler of The Men’s Network Suffolk
  • Paul Howell of Clarity Coaching
  • Sasha Mitrofanov of Become Authentic
  • Rodney Browne of Spirituality and Men
  • Glen Poole of the AllMen Project
  • Tricia McLeod of the AllMen Project
  • Nicola Dexter of Wisdom Walks
  • Jakkie Talmage of MindBody Courses

For a full list of workshops see our post here.

To see the full programme for each day see the links below:

Saturday Programme

Sunday Programme

If you’d like to take part in this year’s Big Man Gathering then you secure you place by booking your ticket online now here.

If you wish to stay overnight low-cost accommodation can be booked through the campsite (new window).

We look forward to seeing you at the Big Man Gathering II. If you have any questions about coming to this event contact us today:

Michael van Rensburg             07733 360838

Dr Sasha Mitrofanov                    01273 556159

Glen Poole                                             07981 334222

Workshops At The Big Man Gathering


A Men of all backgrounds are invited to attend this year’s Big Man Gathering II, a weekend of unique workshops and activities set amongst the tents, yurts, campfires and woodlands of the beautiful WoWo campsite in Sussex.

The event is created by some of the leading practitioners working with men in the UK today as part of the 3rd National Conference for Men and Boys, so if you’re a man who is interested in personal growth and development then why not join us for a day or even spend the whole weekend with us at this year’s Big Man Gathering.

For details of the timetable of activities that take place on each day see:

There are a series of collective activities throughout the day and everyone who comes to the Big Man Gathering can also take part in two smaller workshops which are listed below:


Workshop One: Embrace The Joy Within – Loving The Man You’ve Become with Marc Broderic of Wisdom Walks

The first of two WisdomWalks, this group coaching experience will combine a walk in the woods with a conversation to free you from the constraints of the past and give you a joyful experience of being alive and being a man.

Workshop Two: Menspeak with Kenny D’Kruz

Men’s Group – hanging out and checking in with who and where we are right now

Workshop Three: Ultimate Emotional Resilience: Laughing in the Face of Adversity with Dr Sasha Mitrofanov of Become Authentic

You will discover how to be peaceful and happy in the midst of challenging life events without the need to suppress any unpleasant emotions. This workshop does NOT require one to be able to meditate, or to think positively, and provides a universal solution without the need for a specific religious or spiritual world view (even though it is congruent with what most spiritual traditions teach).

Workshop Four: Awaken The Inner King with Paul Howell of Clarity Coaching 

Exploring the 3 Kings (Archetypal, Political, Personal) in relation to personal life context and mission of service in the world.


Workshop Five: Deeper into meditation with Rodney Browne

A deeper experience in meditation and a new perspective of consciousness, mind, self, life etc

Workshop Six: The wild man within – The Quest for fire! with Rob Fallon from Wild Nature

Ever wanted to now how to rub 2 sticks together to make fire – here is your chance! A master class lesson in the basics, and an experience of the skill and awareness of our ancestors.

Workshop Seven: Men Beyond 50 with Max Mackay-James and Kenny D’Kruz

Open to all who are curious and want to hang out together, share what is different and explore everything to do with the second half of life. It’s a gas

Workshop Eight: What’s on Top? A Meditative Experience with Barry Fowler

Guided silence, Standing or sitting in a circle. Physicality in Silence. Supported Share.

Workshop Nine: Live Beyond the Shadow of Survival with Mark Broderic

In this Shadow Work® Experience you will bring a part of the survival instinct out of the shadows and explore and understand the true essence of your shadow and finding the powerful, joyful expression within it.


Workshop Ten: Die-a-Log with Max Mackay-James

Light-hearted and serious talk to help break the taboo about death and dying

Workshop Eleven: Touching the Sacred Wild with Rob Fallon

A guided class taking you beyond the normal confines of perceived reality, in a safe fun environment. Experience the world through an expanded sense of awareness you may never have known existed.

Workshop Twelve: Instant Enlightenment: Tapping into Your Inner Peace with Dr Sasha Mitrofanov of Become Authentic

This workshop will provide with an effective self-care technique to manage any challenging emotions as they are happening – Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Fundamentals of EFT will be introduced in conjunction with a spiritual (non-denominational) paradigm aimed to provide a shortcut to reaching one’s Enlightenment without the need to spend decades of your life searching for it. This workshop does NOT require one to be able to meditate (even though ability to step back from one’s thinking will certainly be of benefit!), and builds on common-sense wisdom.

Workshop Thirteen: Living A Created Future – A Man With A Mission – Be The Man You Want To Be with Mark Broderic

The second of two WisdomWalks™, this group coaching experience will combine a walk in the woods with a conversation to explore and create your future and the kind of man you want to be…


Workshop Fourteen: Learning From The Ancestors – Heal The Wounds And Claim The Gifts Of Your Lineage – Hypnosis with Mark Broderic and Nicola Dexter

In this Shadow Work® Experience you will bring a part of the survival instinct out of the shadows and explore and understand the true essence of your shadow and finding the powerful, joyful expression within it. Creating space where we look at the gifts from the ancestors. Looking at wounds and shame, carried for the ancestors. Getting access to the gifts of the ancestors, to bring that to future purpose and mission in life.

Workshop Fifteen: Relationship and Sexual Empowerment for men with Trisha McLeod 

Are you searching for a safe, friendly and supportive “men’s” group run BY a  woman FOR men aimed at discussing questions of a sexual nature around approaching and connecting with Women? Do you have questions around the themes of “sexuality, sensuality and intimacy with women”? Would it make a difference to you to recieve some practical help and guidance? Would you like to be part of a small men’s group network  centred around openness, honesty and respectfulness, that seeks to help, support and empower each other in these topics?” This will be a taster session that will enable us to look at some of these issues and to focus on how we take this work forward together .

Workshop Sixteen: Menspeak – Men’s Group with Kenny D’Kruz

A deeper sense of self, connection with other men, stimulation and awareness, a good laugh and tools to take away and use immediately. Tools to take a man from ‘Am I?’ to “I am”.

Workshop Seventeen: The Masculine Feminine Dance with Jakkie Talmage of MindBody Courses and Glen Poole of the AllMen Project

A workshop to explore the potential of the masculine and feminine powers in all of us.

To book your tickets for the Big Man Gathering today click here now

To find out more contact us today:

Michael van Rensburg             07733 360838

Dr Sasha Mitrofanov                    01273 556159

Dr David Bloodwood                    07776 001823

Glen Poole                                             07981 334222

Young dads have difficulties, that doesn’t make them deadbeats


There was great feature on Young Fathers by Yvonne Roberts in this weekend’s Observer newspaper.

Fatherhood is one of the key issues addressed and the National Conference for Men and Boys so if this topic is important to you then book your tickets for the conference online today here.

The feature highlights research that shows that children with involved fathers generally have fewer behavioural problems, greater emotional self-regulation, increased language development and improved cognitive skills. Evidence also shows that the more fathers are involved with their children when they are babies, the more likely their relationships with their children will be sustained over years, in spite of divorce or separation.

In the UK, the proportion of fathers who aren’t living with their child’s mother from birth is higher in Britain than in most other European countries. Though an often overlooked fact is the nearly half of these fathers attend the birth and are involved in some way at the beginning of their child’s life.

In terms of young fathers,  Roberts says, “if the relationship between father and mother is fragile, and the mother denies access, many teenage fathers lack the resources to fight for the right to be in their child’s life.”

Roberts highlights the work of the academics Charlie Lewis and Michael E Lamb, who since the 1970s “have challenged stereotypical and one-dimensional portrayals of fathers as “deadbeat dads” or “play partners” incapable of the serious business of rearing a child.”

According to Roberts, Professor Lamb argues that “good enough” fathers perform very similar roles to that of “good enough” mothers; they offer love, interest, boundaries and security.”

“For young fathers, however, the barriers to becoming a “good enough” dad are multiple and complex not least because, too often, their own needs aren’t addressed,” says Roberts.

“Many have little or no contact with midwives, health visitors, social workers or the staff of children’s centres. A study for the Department of Work and Pensions published last year describes ‘a cycle of disengagement’. ‘Low self-esteem leads to an inability to find appropriate support both because of a reluctance to seek [it] and a lack of available services. That leads to increased frustration and conflict with the mother’.”

Roberts quotes Chris Facey at the charity Working With Men who says:

“It’s very difficult for many of these young men. They have to sit through meetings with lawyers and social workers. Everyone has a negative perception of their abilities and they have to keep their cool. At risk is the real chance that if they show their frustration, even by an inch, their child may be put up for adoption. It happens. It takes maturity to handle a situation like that.”

Roberts also quotes the American author Mark S Kiselica who said in his book When Boys Become Parents: “For too long our culture has treated boys who become fathers… as detached misfits who are the architects of many of our nation’s problems, rather than seeing these youth for who they really are: young men trying to navigate a complex array of difficult life circumstances that place them at a tremendous disadvantage.”

You can read Yvonne Roberts’ full feature here: Too Young To Be A Dad 

To buy your tickets to the conference today please click here now. 

The three ancient rules of masculinity


Psychologist Martin Seager is undertaking research on the ancient rules of masculinity in an attempt to put these rules into words. Martin, a pioneer of male psychology in the UK, is hosting a male psychology conference in 2014 and has been campaigning for several years for the British Psychological Society to approve a Male Psychology Section.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 this week Martin said there are three ancient rules of masculinity which we’ve been which add up to a male script:

  • Men should be fighters and winners
  • Men should be protectors and providers
  • Men should retain mastery and control

Seager says these are shame rules which means that when a man is unable to remain control or to provide or be a winner he may sit on those feelings which can make him more vulnerable to suicide for example.

Seager shared his masculinity rules during a  BBC Radio 4 Today Programme interview about male suicide.

Related articles

Government failing to tackle male suicide

Male Suicide Prevention The Department for Health is failing to target suicide prevention work at men say experts, according to a report on male suicide BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.

Jane Powell of the male suicide prevention charity CALM said:

“It’s cultural as much as anything else. We don’t really see men as needing help in anyway or as being vulnerable unless they’ve got some additional asset or qualification which means we should look at them as needing any further assistance.

“And that  runs through our entire society which says that failure and being weak is something that women’s do and being strong is what men do. And so when we look at the suicide prevention strategy where it says and mentions that men are at higher risk than women, it then goes on to look at what other factors like ethnicity, sexuality or anything else that bring that kind of added qualification as for why we should look at a particular group as needing anything.

“We equate manhood as being invulnerable so we can’t allocate resources in that area because they’re men. A man who is depressed is more likely to behave aggressively, to  self medicate, to have anger problems and to end up in prison than end up getting any kind of mental health help.”

The Psychologist Martin Seager, who was also interviewed on the programme said that we have to “remove the blind eye we’re turning to it  because in 104 out of 105 countries that  we have statistics for the male suicide rate is much higher so it isn’t purely a cultural thing it seems to be an embedded evolutionary mind and body issue for men.

Male suicide is one of the key topics covered at the third national conference for men and boys. To buy your tickets today click here now

Is violence against black men sexist as well as racist?

gun_violence_alg_stop_sign1On Monday we published an opinion piece on violence against men and boys highlighting how our tolerance of violence against men puts black men and gay men at greater risk of racist and homophobic attacks.

We have subsequently come across an excellent article by  a writer called Noah Berlatsky which takes a deeper look at how misandry (hatred of men) was at play in the murder of the black teenager, Trayvon Martin. Here we highlight some of Berlatsky’s key points and  recommend you find time to read the full article linked at the bottom of this post.

According to Berlatsky, the Trayvon Martin case “justly, focused on race—on the ‘black’ part of ‘black men’.” But it’s worth considering how his killer’s  “anxiety, hostility, and eventually his violence were directed not only against Martin as a black person, but against him as a man—or, in this case, as a boy.”

“There’s every reason to believe that if Martin had been white, he wouldn’t have been pursued and shot, and that, if he were shot, his killer would not have gone free. But there’s also every reason to believe that Zimmerman would have reacted much differently to a woman, of whatever race, walking nearby,” he argues.

Berlatsky says that ‘misandry’ can be a useful concept. “In particular, I think it can help explain the experience of how men, and particularly men from minority communities, are targeted for violence—most often not by women, but by other men,” he says.

“Closer to home, in the U.S. men are more likely than women to be victims of assault, robbery, and homicide,” adds the writer. “Misandry helps to see these disparate incidents and statistics as related, as part of a system. Men, across cultures, are seen as dangerous and violent…, by their simple presence, are an excuse for violence. Because of misandry, violence against men is necessary and justified by the fact that men are men, which can help explain why men are more often the victims of homicide and assault.”

Berlatsky concludes by saying that: “Violence against black men is justified on the grounds that blackness and maleness are biologically dangerous categories that must be confronted with genocidal force. We need to re-think all those categories if we want to stop giving ourselves excuses to kill,” he says.

To see Berlatsky’s full article go and read Misandry and the Trayvon Martin Case at Splice Today

See also: Why is the G20 killing not violence against men?


Online abuse, is it a man thing or woman thing?

imagesThere’s been a lot of talk about online misogyny in the past week after Twitter made a public apology to women who have been subjected to rape threats. So is online abuse a gender problem? Is this another area of life where “women have problems and men are problems”? And if misogyny is a problem, what about online misandry?

We don’t pretend to have all the answers but you can rely on the National Conference for Men and Boys to always try and offer a broad range of perspectives—which is another good reason to buy your conference tickets online today.

In the meantime, here are some of the most interesting voices talking about online abuse from a gender perspective relevant to men and boys in the UK that we’ve heard so far:

It’s not misogyny it’s just plain bad manners

“What is problematic is that the organisers of Trolliday do not see this as a question of manners, but of misogyny – hate crime, in other words. The women-hating trolls do not show that society has a problem with misogyny……the most pleasant places to live are those where… in particular have an incentive to be viewed as gentlemen – a word sadly missing from this debate about the treatment of women.”

Ed West, The Spectator, Why do people write abuse on the internet?

This is a man-made problem and women are the victims

“This is a men-on-women issue. Guys are pretty much doing it to the girls. Which, thankfully, is where our good friend socialism steps forward. Because this will not stand for those of us who are socialists. We are all equal.”

John Niven, Daily Record, Trolls who abuse

It’s not a gender issue 

“I don’t think it’s a gender thing at all….I couldn’t say whether it happens more to women or to men but it’s quite clear that men and women will both abuse people online and be the recipients of that abuse.”

Professor Mark Griffiths, BBC, Why cyberbullies are targetting women

Women don’t troll

“There are very few female trolls because women are more virtuous than men….. women of any age will never hate men as much as teenage boys hate women.”

Jennifer Wright, The Gloss, Where are all the female internet trolls?

Women do abuse men online

“A female tweeter I didn’t follow…tweeted that I was a **** – an interesting word for a self-confessed feminist to use. I replied to the profanity….My words were immediately re-tweeted. For the next 24 hours I was subjected to abuse and threats of violence from many of this writer’s 70,000-odd followers….Despite a reporter’s thick skin, I’ll confess to a sleepless few nights. I’d never received such constant abuse and it certainly affected me emotionally.”

Niall Paterson, Sky News, What About Male Victims?

Women abuse other women

“Abuse also happens online by women against women. This includes  harassment, cyber-bullying, Gaslighting, mobbing, verbal abuse. It also happens within feminism. And yet…..feminism is deathly quiet on the issue. The anger & volume that we collectively use to denounce male violence is noticeably absent when it comes to women that abuse.”

Portia Smart, Feminist Blogger, We need to talk about women

People who live in glass houses….

“Caitlin Moran might well fall foul of a new, improved “report abuse” button. She’s been quite vociferous in her condemnation of the attacks on Caroline Criado-Perez, even proposing a 24-hour boycott of Twitter to protest about the site’s failure to deal with the abuse problem. She appears to have forgotten that, three years ago, she was pretty abusive towards me. Here are a couple of things she tweeted while I was debating Germaine Greer on BBC2’s Late Review:

“God, the reliability of Toby Young to be a total C*** could be used to power the atomic clock.”

“Oh, Germaine Greer. You’re still F***ING MAGNIFICENT. Please end this brilliant monologue by running a sword through Toby Young’s face.”

Toby Young, Daily Telegraph, Most twitter trolls are harmless attention seekers

Most trolls are boys (and so are most victims)

“I was really surprised to find the level of boys admitting that they got involved in cyber bullying and the number of boys who have been victim of cyber bullying. Sixteen percent of males said someone had sent them a threatening message online, compared with 7 percent of females. And 11 percent of males said that they had sent threatening messages online.”

Sarah Pedersen, Huffington Post, Cyber-bullying, are boys worse than girls

I’m a man and I love to troll 

“I come from a cohort and culture of males in which a cheap jibe or insulting comment is part of everyday interaction, held under the banner of ‘crack’ and ‘banter’. I am not condoning abuse of any sort, I realise that it occurs amongst peers causing a great degree of harm. In combating fascism we tread the fine lines of freedom of expression, but we must be sure in distinguishing the difference between what is actually offensive and what is an impulsive comment towards people enjoying their 15 minutes of fame.”

Daniel Swanson, TEDx Salford, What to do about trolling

Kill All Men? Ignore it, it’ll go away

“It can be very tempting, when one’s human sub-group is challenged, to respond in kind…..we tend to react strongly when our “team” is called out. That’s why the recent Twitter trend of appending the #killallmen hashtag to various female grievance-oriented posts is such a frustrating phenomenon: It’s a direct provocation, and something of a mass movement, but it’s also too crazy to pay much attention to.”

Michael McKenna, Ask Men. Why #KillAllMen is a thing that exists

Autistic men need better protection from online bullies

“Because of my autism I can’t do social things like go to the pub or go to nightclubs. Ninety per cent of my life is spent online. The entire social aspect of my life is online. But every time I go online I get abuse. Current laws against cyberbullying just don’t work at all. They haven’t worked for me.”

Kevin Healy, Autism Campaign speaking to BBC,  Why cyberbullies are targetting women

Men get bullied by girls

“There’s something about a bully that really annoys me. They’ll say something online that they’d never dare to say to your face.”

Comedian and self-professed “troll slayer” Dom Joly who discovered that one of those who’d threatened him was a 14-year-old girl with nine different online identities. BBC: Trolling who does it and why?

There’s more misandry  than misogyny 

“There is ten times more misandry expessed in the west than there is misogyny, but people have been trained not to notice this…..Blocking men’s voices on the grounds of ‘misogyny’ is common on internet forums, websites and social media such as Facebook – even when these voices are clearly not misogynistic at all. The upshot is that misogyny is going to continue to increase until men get a fairer deal and until they can express their views without being continually blocked by the overly politically-corrected and feminist-dominated. Of course, those rape threats were, in my view, completely unacceptable. But I can assure you that men have been on the receiving end of similar threats ever since the internet became a place where men and women have been in verbal conflict.”

Angry Harry, Blogger, commenting on Why do people write abuse on the internet?

When it’s a male victim we ignore the gender

“Women’s groups have been very adept at ‘genderising’ any and all problems that affect females, and are able to exploit the media’s obsession with women-specific issues. As the current Twitter abuse issue shows, they have asserted that it is almost always women that receive these kinds of comments. On the other hand, abuse aimed at men is assumed to be non-gendered, receives no attention, and is usually considered fair game. Complain, and you’ll never be far from a ‘man up’ style dismissal. As is so often the case, there are double standards in play here.”

Tim Reed, commenting on Why do people write abuse on the internet?

Online abuse is not limited by gender

“If you cast a wide enough net you soon discover that online abuse is not limited by gender. If we want to live in a less sexist society it does mean finding ways to tackle misogyny. It also means taking time to understand and address the experience of male victims of violence and abuse too.”

Glen Poole, National Conference for Men and Boys, writing in The Guardian Comment Is Free section

Click here no to buy your conference tickets online today.