Active Solidarity & Empowerment

6 to 13 April 2024

Knowledge, skills and perspectives to challenge oppression and create spaces of solidarity.

Our organising work sits within a global and historical system of interlinking forms of oppression. These shape the material, relational, and psychological conditions that influence every one of us. Unfortunately, as many of us will have witnessed, this means that within our groups and organisations, we are likely to reproduce mechanisms of oppression, often unconsciously. Without the skills to identify and transform those patterns, they will give rise to tensions and misunderstandings and will make our organising not aligned with the values of solidarity and empowerment we strive for. We can find ourselves reproducing the barriers to participation, empowerment and well-being that we see in the world around us. This is especially depleting for people who are already marginalised and discriminated against and needs to be addressed if our groups are to be genuinely empowering and transformative spaces.

Starting with the basic frameworks and concepts used in anti-oppression work, participants will  explore ways to identify and transform the dynamics of oppression at both the individual and organisational level and understand how they relate to systemic dimensions of socio-economic injustice.

  • A group of activists in a circle placing their hands on a piece of paper to make a decision.

    Every group and structure uses some combination of personal agency and collaborative teamwork.

Navigating topics related to anti-oppression in our groups is not easy, often brings up trauma responses, tensions, and conflicts and leads to the erosion of trust. To move away from reproducing harmful oppression patterns, we need to learn to build cultures of care, and move away from shame and blame towards a culture of reciprocity, accountability and collective transformation.

Through this kind of work, we can become increasingly skilled in transforming harmful tensions and conflict into enriching growth opportunities, and through better working with diversity, we can include a wider range of perspectives, experiences, and histories, for more adaptable, resilient, and powerful movements that exemplify values we strive for.

Systems of oppression often sustain themselves when we are unable to acknowledge and work well with the power dynamics, social privilege and mechanisms of discrimination that exist in our groups, communities and societies. In active solidarity and empowerment training, we carefully unravel those structures, gradually building a safe ground that can support us to explore these challenging themes step by step. Although the training content and process will address a wide range of discrimination and oppression structures, the main emphasis will be on how we can work with the dynamics that exist in groups and organisations.

The course content is not aimed at giving ready-made solutions but rather opening space for exploration, mutual learning and setting intentions for a long learning journey. Methods used during the course will invite participants to engage with emotional literacy work, embracing conditioned reactions to transform collective organising patterns.

The course focuses on individual and group level interventions, acknowledging the systemic nature of disempowerment and exclusion mechanisms.

This course is aimed at those with no or minimal knowledge on the topic of solidarity and empowerment.


The learning process will be held by facilitators using exercises and activities supporting self-reflection and self-evaluation around the following topics:

  • Stereotypes and prejudices we carry
  • Development of skillsets needed in different social positionalities (when targeted and/or granted agency under the constructed systems of oppression)
  • Exclusion mechanisms reproduced in organising
  • Identifying deeper underlying, socially constructed patterns and mental models behind individual approaches and behaviours and those of groups
  • Emotional literacy and regulation skills
  • Moving beyond polarisation, shame and blame mechanisms towards solidarity and co-dependence

Participants will be invited to challenge their views and perspectives, be open to vulnerability, share from a place of personal experience and dive into explorations of the complexity of our identities, and how power and privilege play into these dynamics.

Like all the other Ulex courses, this one will be held in the rural setting of the pre-Pyrenean mountains, enabling us to integrate some nature connection and awareness practices, working with body and mind. Those practices will help us to be more present in our training experience as well as provide the inspiration to look at our activism in a more holistic way.

The three facilitators will bring different approaches to anti-oppression work, coming from diverse cultural, activist and organisational backgrounds. Read more about them below.

The course will be delivered in accessible, international English.


Who is it aimed at?

Anyone with experience in socially engaged action addressing ecological, political and social justice issues. We embrace a broad definition of activism, including: Resistance – action preventing further damage to ecosystems and social justice; Renewal – action focused on developing and creating alternatives for healthier societies and communities; and Building Resilience – action supporting increased resilience in communities to weather the uncertain times ahead.

This course is a basic entry level course. It might not be suitable for you if you are looking for advanced practices and/or are not in a place to sit with challenging conversations about the basic anti-oppression tools and approaches.

Suggested Contribution
In the solidarity economy: €300/€450/€900
(see the details of our approach to Solidarity Economics for details)

The Team

Our Name

Ulex: Latin (argelaga Catalan, gorse English) noun:

1. A thorny-evergreen flowering shrub, with a high capacity for regeneration and resilience. Its seedpods open in contact with fire and it reshoots from charred stumps. A successionary plant that grows well under challenging conditions. It improves soil fertility through nitrogen fixing, preparing the way for renewed biodiversity.

2. A traditional choice for igniting fires. Burns hot and bright.

3. A networked project adding nutrition and fertility to European social movements through training and capacity building. It kindles the realisation of social justice, ecological intelligence, and cognitive vitality.