Applying participatory methods and systems thinking
In migrant solidarity, climate justice and the work of creating alternatives to the current oppressive and growth hungry system; we are faced with increasingly complex and interconnected problems that require a systemic view and most crucially the participation of all involved to increase our understanding of the plural realities involved. Participation is not only central to create inclusive movements, but also to achieve innovative, adaptive and pertinent solutions coming from minority communities as well as the mainstream. This training is hosted as part of the Ulex South Project
Participation is sometimes experienced as an added extra to enhance a programme or project, or a burden that slows down development, however, it is not participation itself that should be questioned but the approaches, methods, skills and moments in which it is used that we need to consider and get better at. This course aims to share theories, approaches and methodologies to integrate systemic and participatory processes into all stages of our work from research and analysis of the problem to project design and undertaking actions or campaigns capable of adapting to changes in an inclusive quick and efficient manner. One central line of work we will base our week on is Participatory Action Research. A body of work that encapsulates, learning in and about action in iterative and participatory ways designed by participants themselves.
Everyone in a complex system has a slightly different interpretation. The more interpretations we gather, the easier it becomes to gain a sense of the whole. (Meg Wheatley)
We will present those approaches and methodologies that today are innovating and proposing new ways of doing. We will analyze the structural models, theories of change that have been developed by participatory and systems thinking lenses. We will apply these theories, methodologies and tools in our fields of work, our projects and campaigns, to practice, test and reflect on the practice of participatory and systemic change.
We will explore three main approaches and methodologies:
This training is hosted as part of the Ulex South Project
María worked for the Red Cross in community development, strengthening civil society, education, and food security in Latin America and Africa. Building on her studies in social psychology and international development, she studied Alternative Economics at Schumacher College, UK. This led her into work on organisational change with NGOs and grassroots movements. María specialises in complexity and participation applied to organisations: organisational structures and culture, emergent strategy, leadership amongst others. She co-founded The Eroles Project, a learning for action project and La Bolina, a systemic project looking at repopulation, inclusion and agroecology. María´s co-authored: Small is Important: Learnings from an integration and regeneration Project. Factores Clave para la Acción Reflexión Colaborativa, Enfoques y herramientas participativas en la cooperación al desarrollo, Activism and spirituality.
Ruth Cross is co-founder of Eroles Project – an international learning for action centre, and, Asociación La Bolina – a visionary intercultural initiative working to regenerate land and lives through creating social integration and sustainable livelihoods for locals, migrants and refugees in El Valle, Andalucia, Spain. She is the Artistic Director of Cross Collaborations, an award winning arts for change immersive theatre company.
Ruth is an experienced arts activist, social theatre maker, researcher and educator specialising in instigating transformative and regenerative change. She can be found directing immersive performance with migrants and refugees, creating participatory arts action campaigns and coordinating cross-disciplinary projects with organisations, decision-makers, civil society and local communities.
For the last 10 years Ruth has facilitated capacity building training with activists and social movements. She is a research contributor with Schumacher Research in Action community, is a member of the international Delicate Activism community and of Social Arts network ImaginAction. As well as a collaborator with Asociación Solidaria Andaluza de Desarrollo (ASAD).
building collective agency - theory and practice
a holistic approach
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.