Empowering Collaboration

21 to 28 May 2022

Making our organising truly empowering and effective


In our work for social change it is crucial that we develop the capacity to embody our values between us, to develop skills for mutual empowerment and inclusion, to transform conflict and to empower our efforts of collaborative transformation.

This training is structured around core elements of our Transformative Collaboration training. Building on those key elements participants will choose strands and modules covering:

  • Effective and Transformative Collaboration
  • Anti-Oppression and the creation of spaces for empowered inclusion
  • Conflict transformation
  • Mindfulness for social change.

We’ll explore skills for truly embodying our values in the ways we work together – and gaining understanding that can make our ways of organising truly empowering and effective.


Drawing on our Transformative Collaboration Training, this strand will help you to collaborate, communicate and make decisions effectively. It will help you to draw out the best in yourself and others, stay in healthy relationship, build teams based on shared values – and get things done!

Working with others is not always easy. It can feel frustrating, draining and unproductive. Meetings drag, personalities clash, power conflicts arise, chaos reigns and all this gets in the way of achieving what the group or organization set out to do at the beginning. But collaboration is key to collective agency and empowerment. It’s a basis for effectiveness, a crucial means of embodying our values, and it can bring forth emergent and creative qualities that alone we could barely imagine. Collaboration is not only a root of social transformation, it also provides a vital context for individual transformation, enabling us to share and live out our deepest values.

In whatever way we envisage contributing to the wellbeing of our world, for most of us it is going to mean working with others. It is going to mean collaborating. Collaboration is key to collective agency and empowerment. It’s a basis for effectiveness, a crucial means of embodying our values, and it can bring forth emergent and creative qualities that alone we could barely imagine. And collaboration is not only a root of social transformation, it also provides a vital context for individual transformation, enabling us to share and live out our deepest values.

This core strand will use participatory and immersive learning you will learn how to:

  • Develop shared purpose and vision
  • Create a culture that reflects your shared values
  • Keep your approach responsive and relevant in an ever-changing world
  • Communicate more collaboratively and understand patterns that help us hold important conversations
  • Work with power – transforming it, distributing it, and using it well
  • Use key systems concepts in the design of organisations and groups
  • Learn effective decision-making skills for a range of contexts, that support accountability, creativity and initiative
  • Harness diversity and help each other to bring our best to our teams and groups
  • Apply key facilitation skills
  • Understand the inner life of group dynamics and cycles
  • Ensure participatory processes draw out the collective wisdom and supports individual autonomy, while making our work together a context for individual growth and development
  • Use emotional intelligence to support effective collaboration.



These aspects of the training will help you to learn the know-how of building more inclusive and empowering environments for activism and social change work. We will share tools and practices that aim into reducing discrimination based on race, gender, psychosexual orientation, economic status, disability, age, ethnicity or religion.

Systems of oppression often sustain themselves when we are unable to acknowledge and work well with the power dynamics, privileges and mechanisms of discrimination that exist in our groups, communities and societies. In anti-oppression 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 smaller groups.

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 that we carry
  • experience of oppression (both external and internalized)
  • understanding privilege related to the social groups we identify ourselves with or that we are identified with in the eyes of others/society
  • intersectionality of oppression
  • discrimination mechanism reproduced in our activist groups and movements

Applying foundational knowledge, frameworks and concepts used in anti-oppression work, participants will be invited to explore ways to deal with discrimination and oppression at the individual, organizational and systemic levels. We will encourage participants to step out beyond shaming and blaming strategies, and to reflect on the personal capacities and boundaries that grow out of the unique experience of our own conditioning. The focus will be on identifying ways of empowering people with experience of oppression in order to be able to build more sustainable social movements, as well as reflecting on the links between anti-oppression approach and solidarity practices.



Conflict in our groups is common. It’s natural. And it’s inevitable. It can be painful and damaging, undermining our efforts and draining our energy. But it can also become a source of creativity, learning, and a basis for deepening trust and learning between us.

Learning to work well with conflict, developing the skills to find the transformative potential within them, and supporting everyone involved to learn and grow in the process can deeply empower our work for social change.

This strand will offer methods, frameworks for transforming conflict into opportunities for deeper understanding and learning. We’ll learn how to support the building of shared understanding, to hold such spaces more safely, and attend to the healing involved in handling conflict well.



Mindfulness is about being fully present here and now, being in touch with what is going on inside us and around us. We can harness our attention and awareness to become more responsive and connected, and to engage courageously and effectively in the world. On this training you will learn to develop the empowering skills of mindfulness in service of values and action for social and ecological justice.

Drawing on our Mindfulness for Social Change training, this strand will share practices to train our minds and focus our attention, we build inner resources to become more balanced, energized and emotionally intelligent. In our fast-paced, stress laden, and complex world, Emotional awareness is crucial for being resilient in challenging times. It is central to mobilizing, engaging, communicating and influencing others, as well as thinking deeply, creatively and strategically. Harnessing mindfulness has never been more important in helping to bring about social change.

This strand will help participants to:

  • Learn and deepen their mindfulness practice for developing inner resources of clarity, insight, patience, courage and emotional resilience.
  • Develop an understanding of the integrated nature of the individual, society and nature and how our approach to each informs and supports the other.
  • Build effectiveness in engaging, supporting, working with and influencing others
  • Review and evaluate personal strategies for working to realise social change.

It is suitable for those who are new to mindfulness or new to exploring secular mindfulness approaches (such as mindfulness based stress reduction/cognitive therapy) and how it can support being an effective agent of social change within groups, communities, movements or organisations.



This course will be hosted at La Solana, a venue close to the Ulex Project centre that we are using to host rescheduled courses that were impacted by the Covid pandemic. Venue details to follow.

Suggested Contribution
In the solidarity economy: €400/€750/€1300
(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.