Salvage Capacity-building Workshops April-June 2017: Reflections

We have recently completed our second workshop series. This workshop series culminated in a strategy day, so if you want to hear about what is going on with the salvage collective and how to get involved check out the round-up below.

Thanks to all those who took part, facilitated, cooked food, hosted us, gave us money and did the important hidden and invisible support work that enabled this workshop series to happen. Special thanks to Babs, The Collective Liberation Project, The Common House, Food Not Bombs, Hannah Lewis, Jacqui Gabb, Junction 3 library, Kathryn Tulip, Molly Carroll, Navigate, Nate Eisenstadt and The Open University.

The Intentions of the Workshop Series

The key purpose of the second ‘capacity-building’ workshop series was to support and strengthen a network of activists engaged in the production of sustainable and effective practical interventions that address ongoing barriers to inclusive social justice movement building. We learned from our first research project and workshop series with activists across the UK that there was a need for people involved in safer spaces, accountability and consent activism to come together to meet and support each other as well as learn, discuss and share skills, ideas and experiences. This second ‘capacity-building’ workshop series was funded by The Open University as part of the Citizenship and Governance strategic research area. This meant the workshops were free to attend as we could use the money to cover all the costs of the workshops including facilitators, everyone’s travel costs, venues, food and refreshments.

We identified four key areas of need: challenging white supremacy and learning about non-oppressive practice; sharing and developing our workshop facilitation skills; avoiding burnout and learning about how to make our activism more sustainable; and strategizing about how to develop and support our work in the future.

Workshop One: White supremacy 101 and effective white allyship (Katie Finnegan-Clarke) / Mindfulness and anti-oppressive practice (Nate Eisenstadt)
Saturday 29 April, Junction 3 Library (Bristol)

In the morning session Katie (The Collective Liberation Project) took us through a series of exercises to explore white supremacy and how it shows up in our lives and activist spaces. We explored our emotions and the weight of silence around discussing race within our lives. In this we looked at the characteristics of whiteness, white fragility and white gaze. This allowed us to discuss allyship as an active, consistent and uncomfortable practice of solidarity.

Katie also gave us a couple of articles to read:
Why White People Freak Out When They’re Called Out About Race by Sam Adler-Bell
The Maturation of a White Ally by Mushim Patricia
White Supremacy Culture by Tema Okun*
*I have since found this article useful in helping to identify how white supremacy culture shows up in activist spaces and gives some ideas on how to challenge it. It was most likely Katie who pointed me towards this!

In the afternoon, Nate (Eco Dharma and Kebele) took us through some of the basics of non-violent communication and we explored our own responses and defenses to being challenged. We did some small group work with scenarios to think through how to put non-violent communication into practice as well as thinking through some of its barriers and limitations.

We talked about what our next steps could be including affinity groups, staying in touch with others in the group, finding 1-2 other white people to share/learn with, and Katie mentioned the Whiteness Learning Facebook Group.

Workshop Two: Workshop Facilitation (Hannah Lewis) Saturday 13 May, Future Learn/Open University Camden (London)

Hannah (Navigate) was such a great facilitator. I learned a lot by just watching her facilitate the day. She did some great things like modelling what activities to do if people were late (on activist time), was welcoming, expressed warmth and validated the experience in the room, invited all the parts of people into the room including worries, anxieties and acknowledged our sensitivity and vulnerabilities.

We had a lot of discussion on the question ‘what is going to support you to be more safe today’ individually, in small groups and as a whole group to create a ‘feeling safer together’ flipchart. Then we reflected on what it was like to have this discussion and came up with some really good ideas about ways to support discussion about safer spaces especially in relation to our experiences in activist spaces so far.

Then we did a small group activity in which we shared our most challenging and difficult experiences as a workshop facilitator. We then chose one scenario to act out with the rest of the group and from that chose one scenario to problem-solve.

We then spent some time sharing the content of the workshop we have done, the types of activities we have created, what has gone well and what hasn’t to create a flipchart of workshop facilitation tips

Hannah had a table with lots of resources on workshop facilitation from Training For Change.

Workshop Three: Sustainable Activism: Avoiding burnout and developing a network of care and support for each other (Molly Carroll & Kathryn Tulip), Sunday 14 May 2017, The Common House (London)

Molly and Kathryn (Navigate) took us through some activities to explore our burnout and identify the factors/context that leads to our burnout. We discussed the external messages we get about work and how this feeds into some of the problems we see in activist culture – as task-focused, unable to deal with conflict, reluctance to talk about emotions, needing to work to prove you are an activist etc. We talked about how these messages are related to neoliberalism, victim-blaming, ableism, capitalism, patriarchy/misogyny.

We also looked at what sustains us and how to nurture resilience and well-being across 6 areas: giving; creativity; physical activity, connecting to others, developing awareness, learning new things. We also talked about the self-care practices we have seen work in our groups. We then worked on two questions in relation to our current activism/or activism we are thinking about getting involved in: 1. What support do I need from the group to do this work sustainably? 2. What can I give to the group that would contribute to a supportive culture? We also spent some time setting our own boundaries and exploring how it can be difficult to maintain our boundaries e.g. if they aren’t respected, you find them hard to make, if people are in crisis, if you feel pressure to be nice.

We shared some tips and ideas of how to keep self-care in the forefront of groups

e.g. well-being checklist; checkouts (how you feel about how much you spoke whether you would have spoken more if you had the opportunity, if you listened, if you felt listened to or felt talked over); ways to keep a safer spaces policy active and alive; have a frustrations section to air and be accountable to each other about issues before it gets bad; have a strategy day to review safer spaces policy or say it out loud at the beginning of every meeting; to balance gender check outs for women and non-binary people to be a brag about an accomplishment and for cis men to check out with an emotion/feeling; learn about non-violent communication; co-counselling (spaces for active listening, asking question, contained venting spaces), ambush training (doing training on self-care within a meeting with no prior warning), create a process to distribute labour with realistic timescales and making sure it is ok to revisit workload if it is not sustainable and change plans; learning about project management skills; having back to basics meetings (reviewing who does what, think about roles changing), written resources, mentors.

Cultivating sustainable activism

Workshop Four: Salvage collective strategy day (Hannah Lewis, Navigate) Saturday 17 June, Future Learn/Open University (London)

In this workshop we spent a lot of time thinking back to where we have been, how we got to where we are now, and talking through the challenges we face in our work in supporting survivors. There were a lot of difficult challenges in our work:

In the afternoon we thought creatively about possible actions for how to take this work forward given our capacity, need for self-care and boundaries. This involved lots of ideas bouncing about including a co-counselling network, a network of workshop facilitators, ways to prioritize what events to do, transformative justice camp, work with abusers, spaces for information sharing (especially legal ramifications), craftivism, a comedy night, apologist bingo, flyers to amplify lived experiences of marginalised survivors, podcasts, video, following @deadbeatpunkboyfriend on Instagram.

Hannah facilitated us down to what was possible/workable. Here the idea of the Salvage Collective becoming an umbrella collective. For us, this looks like a loose network which can link up individuals, groups and campaigns that could connect/support each other doing work around sexual violence. It was decided to aim for quarterly events in different places and start work on the infrastructure (e.g. points of unity and safer spaces).

Salvage next steps

What next?

We are currently working on the first salvage collective forum event to be held on Saturday 23rd September in Sheffield at the Quaker Meeting House. The Salvage Collective Forum will hold space to share our skills, challenges and experiences, to listen and discuss ideas with each other and invited speakers, and develop survivor-centred ways to resist and respond to harm, violence and abuse in our communities.

We are inviting grassroots groups and collectives already working on or who are interested in challenging gendered oppression, violence and harm that happens within our communities to participate. This can involve groups, campaigns and collectives who are involved in safer spaces work, accountability processes, survivor-led projects or consent activism (and much more). The aim of the Forum is to link up as many of our groups as possible in order to share and learn from each other.

Would you like to deliver a presentation about your organisation and the work you do? Would you like to facilitate a skill-share session? Would you like to attend the event to learn about anything specific? Are you interested in hosting a future forum in your area?

Fill in the Salvage Collective Forum sign up form here

 

Mission Statement

salvagehires360

Image by Emma Thacker

Survivor-led Challenges to Violence and Abuse in Activist Communities

To bring together women, transgender and non-binary people who have experienced gender-based oppression, violence, abuse and harm in activist communities to share resources and  build communities of belief, support and action.

Salvage capacity-building workshop series: Register now!


Why capacity-building workshops?


Building on our experience of facilitating workshops with activists who wanted to better identify, challenge and prevent gendered violence in their communities, there was a need to figure out ways to better support and increase capacity of activists currently involved in community accountability processes, safer spaces and consent activism across the UK.
This work can be very isolating, exhausting and challenging and commonly falls to a handful of individuals (often survivors) who can quickly become burnt out. We also wanted to create spaces to bring people together to talk about ways to build a network and develop this work so that it is more sustainable, reflective and intersectional as well as develop and share our facilitation skills and challenges in doing this work.
  • All workshops are free although spaces are limited to 10 per workshop (don’t let this put you off though – please do register even if you feel like you have not done ‘enough’ of this work or have a lot of ‘experience’. This is your space. We will operate a first come first served policy until all spaces are filled and then we will open a wait list in case any spaces open up)
  • There is support available to pay for travel expenses.
  • All venues are accessible and lunch and refreshments will be provided.
  • We will be prioritising people who are already engaged in accountability, safer spaces and consent work within activist communities in this workshop series
  • You do not have to be a member of the salvage collective but you are more than welcome to get involved.
  • You can also help us to spread the word about the workshops by printing out and distributing this Flyer for us in your local social centre, book shop or at events.

Workshop information


Workshop 1: White supremacy 101 and effective white allyship & workshop skill-share/training on mindfulness and anti-oppressive practice 
Date/time: Saturday 29 April 2017 10am-4:45pm
Venue: Room J4, Junction 3 Library (Baptist Mills Court, Easton, Bristol, BS5 0FJ)
Facilitators: Katie Finnegan (The Collective Liberation Project) & Nate Eisenstadt (Kebele/EcoDharma)

At our research report-zine launch Camille Kumar (Imkaan) kindly offered us some questions to help us to interrogate white supremacy in our research that also has implications for our radical social justice activist practices and communities. In this workshop we will focus on understanding how oppression works, the need to value and centre marginalised perspectives and voices, and develop strategies for self-directed learning and tools that we can use in our everyday lives to create supportive and just communities.

Workshop 2: Workshop skill-share/training
Date/time: Saturday 13 May 2017 10am-5pm 
Venue: Future Learn/Open University Camden (Room 2a, 1-11 Hawley Crescent, Camden Town, London, NW1 8NP)
Facilitator: Hannah Lewis (Navigate)
A workshop that focuses on developing the skills and confidence to design and facilitate engaging and experiential workshops on issues such as sexual violence and consent. We’ll share experiences of facilitating workshops, ideas about how people learn, and some tips of the trade that we’ve picked up over the years. You’ll apply all this to design your own workshop session, practice facilitating, and receive feedback from peers.
Workshop 3: Sustainable activism – Avoiding burnout and developing a network of care and support for each other 
Date/time: Sunday 14 May 2017 10am-5pm
Venue: The Common House (Unit 5E Pundersons Gardens, Bethnal Green, London E2 9QG)

Facilitators: Molly Carroll & Kathryn Tulip (Navigate)

There can be enormous challenges in consistently facing and seeking to transform society, which take their toll on us – impacting our relationships, our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing and the effectiveness of our work. To help us stay nourished, creative and inspired to continue this work, we need to value our own health and wellbeing, develop practices that increase our resilience, support each other and create ways of organising together that help us thrive. Through a selection of individual, pair and group reflections and exercises we will explore tools and perspectives which value our wellbeing and sustainability.

Workshop 4: Salvage collective strategy day
Date/time: Saturday 17 June 2017 10am-5pm
Venue: Future Learn/Open University (Room 2a, 1-11 Hawley Cres, Camden Town, London, NW1 8NP)
Facilitator: Hannah Lewis (Navigate)
What’s next for us? We will spend a day developing our strategy to help us get to grips with the issues we’re facing, and get clear how we can do this work more effectively. We will work on narrowing down bigger picture problems into more manageable parts and use creative tools to help us learn skills for strategy and develop a birds-eye view on the future of our work.

Want to sign up?


It would be super helpful if you could fill in this Registration Form and email it back to us: thesalvagecollective@gmail.com. Please remember to include travel information if you would like us to book and pay for your travel in advance.

January Newsletter

Check out our latest newsletter below. You can subscribe to our mailing list here.

Hello

It’s been amazing to meet so many people and thanks especially to everybody who contributed in some way to making the workshops happen last November and December in Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne, Cardiff and London. We learned a lot and hope you did too!

We found the workshops challenging, energising and illuminating. It was heartening to see what people took away from the workshops, especially those committed to continuing discussions and taking action after the workshops.

We have some funding left over and we are aiming to spend it on skill-shares and training to further develop our expertise and capacity to facilitate shorter and more focused workshops in the future. Please do get in touch if you are interested in being involved in making future workshops happen.

You can read more about the workshops here and access the resources we used in the workshops including the presentation slides, reading and resources list, support services information sheet, information about activities and photos of flipcharts from the ‘what is abuse’ activity.

Next events

Saturday 1 April 2017 – Table and workshop at Liverpool Anarchist Bookfair, The Black-E, 1 Great George Street, L1 5EW

Wednesday 12 April 2017, 2-4pmChallenging gendered violence, abuse and harms across critical spaces’ Engaged Scholarship seminar. The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA.

  • Vanita Sundaram (University of York) – Universities Supporting Victims of Sexual Violence
  • Anna Bull (Portsmouth University) & Tiffany Page (Goldsmiths) – 1752 group
  • Lena Wanggren (University of Edinburgh)
  • Julia Downes (Open University) – salvage collective

If you would like to attend this seminar, please contact michelle.stevens@open.ac.uk

Check out

Sexual Violence and Accountability Learning Group – an informal learning and discussion facebook group about sexual violence and accountability. This is aimed at survivors and those who support them but those who are new to this work are welcome to use the space to educate themselves.

Articles, in case you missed them

Six key messages about sexual violence in UK activist communities – Open Democracy
Challenging sexual violence in activist communities – Peace News

B a c k   i n   s t o c k

If you missed out the first time round, we found a secret stash of salvage zine-reports. If you like the feel of a zine you can get one from our store here but you can always download a PDF version for free here

You can also pick up a copy of our toolkit and download it for free here

We would love to hear about what you thought about our research project, if you’ve found anything useful or not useful, or if you have any ideas for future research.

You can read more about our first research project here.

We are currently working on a second edition of the salvage zine-report to take account of some of the main responses and criticisms our work has received so far.

G e t   I n v o l v e d!
The salvage collective is a small group of people who are interested in challenging gender-based oppression, violence, abuse and harm experienced by women, transgender and non-binary people in activist communities.
Our work aims to realise a community of support, belief and action by creating and sharing resources, workshops, training and skill-shares for activist groups, campaigns and organisations across the UK.

We are currently looking for more people who are interested in workshop facilitation. We can provide training and skill-shares including support with travel and expenses.

If you would like to get involved or just want to find out more, please get in touch thesalvagecollective@gmail.com
Lastly if there is anything else of interest relating to community accountability and/or safer spaces that you would like to make happen please just get in touch. It was such a pleasure to meet you all and feel inspired by the great work happening around the country!

Registration is now open for our workshops

Identifying, challenging and preventing gendered violence in your activist group, organisation and community
Free 1-day workshops facilitated by the salvage collective
The salvage collective brings together women, transgender and non-binary survivors and activists who experience gender oppression, violence and abuse in activist communities. We aim to provide a network to share experiences, resources, skills and build communities of belief, support and action.
We recently launched a zine-report and toolkit from our first research project to help develop knowledge and resources to challenge gendered violence in activist communities.
We are very happy to facilitate a series of free one-day workshops funded by the Feminist Review Trust across the UK:
Saturday 5 November: Glasgow Autonomous Space
Sunday 6 November: Next to Nowhere, Liverpool
Saturday 19 November: Broadacre House, Newcastle upon Tyne
Sunday 27 November: YMCA, Cardiff
Sunday 4 December: DIY Space for London
The workshops start at 10am and finish at 5:30pm at the latest. Food and refreshments will be provided. Activists of all genders are welcome.
Places are on a first come first served basis however if the workshops are over-subscribed priority will be given to activists with disciplinary, complaints, safer spaces, accountability and policy responsibilities.
For more information and to register for a place head on over to our workshops page.

You can buy our zine and toolkit online

Some people have asked how to get hold of a physical copy of the zine-report and toolkit. I have set up a big cartel store if you would like to buy a copy for cost price and have it posted out to you.

You can visit our store here: http://salvagecollective.bigcartel.com

Remember that the zine-report and toolkit will always be available online as free PDFs.

If you run a distro and you are interested in stocking our zine and toolkit please get in touch: thesalvagecollective@gmail.com

 

Our report & toolkit is out now!

Today we officially launch our report and toolkit from our first research project. It has been a lot of hard work and we have many lessons to be learned from it. We will post more reflections in time.

I hope that we have succeeded in our aim to open up a bit more space to talk about violence and abuse in activist communities. You can read more on our research page.

We will be at the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies later today to discuss our findings, report and toolkit with some amazing speakers.

Content note: this zine contains discussion of survivors experiences of sexual violence and how those around them responded including: silencing, denial and blame.
Salvage Zine-report
Salvage Toolkit

Final report & toolkit launch event – Weds 21 September – Centre for Crime and Justice Studies

Registration is now open for our final report & toolkit launch event. We are very excited to have so many amazing speakers agree to come along and share their perspective on our research project and final report. The event is free, fully accessible, has a safer spaces policy and food/nibbles will be provided. Places are limited. You can register for a place here.

Gendered Violence in Activist Communities
The Salvage Research Project explored the lived experiences of harm, violence and abuse experienced by women, non-binary and transgender individuals in radical activist communities in the UK. This event will mark the launch of the final report and toolkit with a panel discussion of the key findings and implications for action and social justice.

Background

Recent cases of high-profile male activists accused of perpetuating violence against women activists have highlighted a persistent culture of sexism and exclusionary practices within social justice movements.

Alternatives to the criminal justice system, such as safer spaces policies and community accountability processes, have been the subject of controversy and debate. However little is currently known about the contexts and complexities in which both harms and alternative interventions take place.


Speakers

  • Dr Avi Boukli is Lecturer in Criminology at The Open University. Their recent work has examined anti-trafficking regimes and the financialisation of victim services, and they have broader interests in gender, sexuality, critical victimology and social harm. Avi is currently in the early stages of setting up the Queering Victimology project.
  • Dr Alex Dymock is Lecturer in Criminology and Law at Royal Holloway University of London. Her research interests include visual and cultural criminology, gender and sexuality studies, and feminist and queer perspectives on criminal law. Alex is currently in the early stages of setting up the Queering Victimology project.
  • Camille Kumar is Membership and Sustainability Coordinator at Imkaan, the umbrella group for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) organisations in the UK. Camille has worked in the ending VAWG sector/ movement for 15 years primarily in service provision for women experiencing VAWG. Camille is also a member of Black Feminists UK and Freedom without fear platform and is committed to developing and nurturing intersectional black feminist approaches in her work and her organising.
  • Dr Sarah Lamble lectures in criminology at the School of Law, Birkbeck, University of London. Sarah’s research addresses issues of gender, sexuality and criminal justice, with a current focus on community engagements with transformative justice. Sarah is co-editor of the Routledge Social Justice Book Series and a member of the Reclaim Justice Network.
  • Salvage is a collective of survivors, activists and allies who aim to challenge endemic sexual violence and inadequate responses to sexual violence within radical social justice movements. The research project was conducted by the Salvage research collective: Dr Julia Downes is a Lecturer in Criminology at The Open University, Karis Hanson who works at Solace Women’s Aid and Rebecca Hudson who works at Crossroads Women’s Centre.
  • Sisters Uncut is a feminist direct-action collective who are united by a desire to campaign for better domestic violence services

Safer spaces policy

There is a safer spaces policy in place for this event, available to view here. Please email thesalvagecollective@gmail.com for further information. The safer spaces policy will be shared and explained at the beginning of the event.


Venue, time and date

September 21st, 2016 7:00 PM   to   9:00 PM
Centre for Crime and Justice Studies
2 Langley Lane
Vauxhall
London, SW8 1GB
United Kingdom