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
Ruth Cross makes things happen. Her practice has developed from landscape performance and micro-choreography into coordinating projects which bring people together to talk, play, inspire and collaborate. She is an associate artist with Encounters Arts and Battersea Arts Centre and co-founder of The Eroles Project, an international network that explores inner work for outer action. Ruth founded Cross Collaborations in 2009, a collective who devise social actions and intimate live art performances which focus on voice, listening with compassion and connecting to the earth.
Maria worked for the Red Cross for seven years in community development, strengthening civil society, education, and food security in Latin America and Africa. Building on her studies in social psychology and international cooperation, she decided to take on a Economics for Transition Masters at Schumacher College, UK. This led her into work on organisational change and facilitation for both NGO´s and grassroots organisations. Maria specialises in systemic thinking and participatory methodologies applied to organisations, designing and facilitating training’s around organisational culture, project management, strategic planning, leadership, and skills to work in a complex, changeable and uncertain context.Maria co-founded the Eroles Project a learning for action project, and co-authored Tools for collaborative Work for Social Organizations as well as a book on “acitivism and spirituality”.
a community of practice
Skills for building collective power
Agency, theory and strategy - a deep inquiry
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.