What skills — emotional and organizational — help us work together to achieve progressive social change? How might we create bonds of trust amidst interpersonal conflict, while still allowing space for difference and autonomy? How might the pressures generated by austerity and economic crisis generate either new openness to change or greater rigidity and closure? How can interpersonal conflict in groups be transformed into an opportunity for greater communication, new perspectives, and enhanced collective capacity? What does it actually take to create the kinds of spaces that allow people to make mistakes and come back again? And how might aesthetic objects aid us through such difficult dynamics, interrupting pre-given scripts and opening new, collaborative visions?
‘Through Conflict: Collective Capacity amidst Capitalist Crisis’ brings together the work of artist Caroline Woolard, leading community-oriented transformative justice educator Esteban Kelly from the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives, and faculty members Shannan Hayes and Craig Borowiak, teaching Haverford College courses on political economy and affect theory, in a semester-long investigation into the above questions.
Workshop, Saturday, March 7th, 1pm-4pm
In recent years, communities have garnered breathtaking momentum in building a movement for new frameworks of justice. Transformative Justice builds on the intentions of restorative justice and seeks a more fundamental change in mitigating alarming trends of the prison industrial complex and adequately addressing perpetrators and survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner abuse, and other forms of violence. Esteban Kelly of the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) and AORTA Co-op (Anti Oppression Resource & Training Alliance) will guide a workshop where we will explore why we use transformative justice practice, stories of how these practices have been used in the past, and concrete tools we can use in our own communities.
Organized by New York-based sculptor and installation artist Caroline Woolard, The Gathering is a series of workshops that explores how material objects can interrupt the unavoidable antagonisms of working together. In the first workshop, Woolard will lead participants in a discussion about the role that object-making can play in collaboration, interpersonal conflict, and collective capacity. In the next workshop, participants will respond in material form to the methods they discussed by creating sculptural objects for use in group communication. Finally, Woolard, in collaboration with Esteban Kelly, Director of the US Federation of Worker Co-ops, will train all interested members of the community on how to use the objects created in the workshop in order to enable embodied, somatic, and haptic knowledge that does not emerge in purely verbal facilitation methods.