A NOTE ON DECOLONIALITY & FACILITATION

It is clear how this happens at a larger scale. For example, when countries are labelled as ‘developed’ (the ones that know better) or ‘developing’ (the ones that, according tot he 'developed ones', are still learning).

 

But what does 'development' mean in that context? Development is a very specific cultural way of being.  To be developed is to control nature, to value material worth over everything else, to think that humans are superior and separate from 'nature'. And how can this be considered 'development' when these practices  have led to the current environmental and social crises?  

 

Coloniality defines a way of being. At a more individual and community level, this means that our everyday practices and relationships can also be shaped by it. The difficulty is that this way of being has become so normalised that we do not always notice when we are doing it ourselves.

 

And so it can be present in our facilitation style.

 

Decoloniality is the practice of making coloniality tangible AND making space for different ways of doing things that are outside of the colonial (white supremacy-western-capitalist-binary-racist-patriarchal-extractivist)  way of being.

 

Part of my journey has been about understanding how we can practice decolonial facilitation. Through experience in my role at Nourish Scotland as well as my academic and personal background,  I've come to understand that  decolonial facilitation is woven by the practice of listening. 

I invite you to:

By: Diana Garduño Jiménez

Coloniality is present in all aspects of our lives. I say coloniality instead of  'colonisation' because coloniality highlights that colonisation is not a 'thing in the past' but something that keeps happening.  Coloniality  is the counterpart of ‘modernity’.  One cannot exist without the other: ‘modernity’ has only been possible through the systemic extractivism of non-white-western peoples, plants, trees, soil, waters, animals and other non-humans.  Practicing coloniality means assuming that: 

'I' OR 'WE' KNOW BETTER, KNOW EVERYTHING, AND THEREFORE DO NOT NEED TO MEANINGFULLY ENGAGE WITH OTHER PEOPLE, SPACES, BEINGS.

EMBODY LISTENING

Listening happens with our whole body. How is my body responding to what is happening?  Is my heart thumping, my face feeling warm? Why is that? What is this telling me? Why do I feel scared, excited, is this something I should communicate? Is how my body feels influencing how I am responding to others? Are these responses adequate?

Be aware of your whole body, the relationship between your mind and body is critical to understand what is happening. 

COLONIAL MYTH BUSTED: THE MIND & BODY ARE SEPARATE AND THE MIND IS, OBVIOUSLY, MORE IMPORTANT

DISTRIBUTE FACILITATION

In a group, at any given moment, everyone present is facilitating how the group interacts. By being silent, speaking, moving, being: we co-create the atmosphere that we are all in. Everyone has ownership and responsibility for this atmosphere. 

Everyone in the group shares the energy of the interaction you are having. This energy will go through us and come out of us in different ways. These ways will be guided by each person’s particular experiences. It is important to listen to where each person is coming from because everyone’s experience is valid and there is always something we can learn from it. 

COLONIAL MYTH BUSTED: THERE IS ONLY ONE RIGHT WAY OF BEING. THE PERSON 'IN CHARGE' KNOWS WHAT THIS IS.

BE HOSPITABLE TO SILENCE

COLONIAL MYTH BUSTED: SILENCE IS EQUAL TO 'NOT KNOWING'

With silence come pauses, and with pauses come other types of engagement. Having pauses in your dialogues can be opportunities for people to notice where they are, the soil, plants, people, etc. What they learn in these pauses can be brought back into the dialogue.  Silence also gives us time to reflect and to process, to feel how, whatever is happening, is landing in our bodies. This idea of slowing down in times of emergency can be difficult because of the ‘crisis’ narrative. But, taking time and pausing can lead to more informed courses of action.  

RECOGNISE WHERE YOU ARE GROUNDED

We are always reacting and relating from a place of experience. Everyone, including the facilitator cannot be neutral. It is impossible to park your experiences, thoughts and histories somewhere and go back to collect them later on. Pretending to be neutral can bring a risk of not acknowledging how our own ‘self’ is influencing how we manage something. Instead of trying to be neutral, I invite you to recognise your subjectivity. Recognise how your own experiences have made you who you are. This can enable you to recognise the subjectivity of others and begin to work with different perspectives and mediating between them.

COLONIAL MYTH BUSTED: A PERSON IS ABLE TO SEPARATE THEIR PERSONAL EXPERIENCES FROM HOW THEY ACT, VIEW A SITUATION FROM AN ELEVATED PLATFORM AND DELIVER A BLACK OR WHITE VEREDICT.