Throughout the conference, we will be adapting a methodology used for organising by the Urban Land Committees in Venezuela (Comité de Tierra Urbana, or CTUs), as it seems appropriate for both the questions we want to raise and the ways of producing knowledge that we would like to explore.
The methodology involves five steps.
First is the accumulation of information, the telling of each person’s story or experience that is elicited through a guiding question (la echada de cuentos) and generative questions. The group will then split into smaller groups to share and write reflections on the generative questions.
Second is to code the information into themes (codificación), with all groups working together with faciliators who support transforming the codification into themes.
Third is analysis – debating the content of each theme (debate). This is again done in small groups, with each group discussing each theme.
Fourth is to synthesise the debate to reflect the multiplicity of experiences, proposals and practices that we have identified for helping to move forward (síntesis). Each group writes up its own synthesis, and these are then shared and a joint synthesis produced of analysis and ideas in relation to the key problematics identified in step two. The synthesis is typed up by the facilitators and sent around to all participants.
Fifth is the evaluation – at end of the process, all evaluate (in this case, at the meeting).
Key to this process is an ‘open registry’ of everything that is said. That is, one person or a team of people writes what is said on butcher paper, which is then posted on walls. This serves as the material from which to debate and write a collective synthesis of the discussion. The process may take several hours or several days.
The methodology’s analysis of practice is also guided by a number of principles:
- The three ‘inters’: interdependencia, interconexión, and intercambio (interdependence, interconnection, exchange)
- The three ‘mutuos’: apoyo mutuo, conocimiento mutuo, respeto mutuo (mutual support, mutual knowledge, mutual respect)
- The three ‘autos’: autogestión, autonomia, autosustentación (self-management, autonomy, self-sustainability)
To learn more about the history and context of this methodology, see Sara Motta’s ‘Notes towards prefigurative epistemologies‘.
Can you help facilitate?
We are putting together a group that can help facilitate work at this conference, and who could come to a preliminary workshop to develop the methodology in Nottingham, closer to the date. Please email us if you would like to be part of this!