This experience of collective research, reflection and transformation was metaphorically structured as a “laboratory” that gave participants voice, redefined terms, discovered tools, opened doors and raised further questions.
A team of 16 people from 9 countries with different ages, diverse biographies and vulnerabilities was formed for a participatory research experience.
They were asked to answer urgent questions about discrimination, social justice and options for action.
The pillars of the workcamp were:
Answering questions that have arisen during the work in a participatory, experimental, transdisciplinary and holistic manner.
Out of a culture of peace, three axes were outlined: the physical/corporeal axis, the anti-discrimination workshop axis and the crafting axis. These axes structured the daily routine of the work camp and were always connected with each other.
We did physical exercises every day as a preparation to create a connection between body and mind. Self-defense and violence prevention were practiced from a culture of peace. In the craft axis, topics were explored, among other things, through body painting, woodworking or on looms.
The anti-discrimination workshop axis examined in a participatory manner some of the current discrimination and suppression mechanisms in our societies. The participants reflected on the normativity of gender, racism and other identity categorisations of people in specific everyday situations and understood how they affect empowerment or vulnerability.
This workcamp builds on the trust, participation and willingness of the participants as well as on different dynamics of qualitative approaches. Experiences and knowledge were exchanged so that the group could come together and carry out in-depth analysis and reflection work.
We took advantage of the great surroundings for some of the activities of the anti-discrimination workcamp to question dilemmas in our daily practice and to reflect on our scope for action in the face of sexism, racism and other mechanisms of discrimination. In this way, for example, a route through the mountains was intertwined with an activity of deeper reflection on violence that worked individually and as a team.
Through a transformative, qualitative, inductive, creative, transdisciplinary research methodology, we became aware of our own creativity, the variety of skills and the ability to analyse. The team had an intense, caring dynamic that created spontaneous human warmth and solidarity.
By creating a horizontal work culture in the team, we were able to examine the experience and knowledge contained therein about violence, aggressiveness, humiliation or pain, which appeared as some of the emerging elements in the work on discrimination mechanisms. We have made these conceptual approaches from a culture of peace.
We asked ourselves uncomfortable questions. Why do people discriminate against me? What are the factors that discriminate against me and what does my identity have to do with it? For what reasons and how do I discriminate? Can I do something? What can I do?
The results of this work area have been openly shared in order to contribute to knowledge about social sustainability and to offer an innovative perspective that can be useful and inspiring for decision-making actors in society.
From the conceptual results, methodological developments and personal relationships that result from this project, further follow-on proposals are being developed at Lighthouse.