“How do we make collective sense of ourselves as colonizer and colonized?”

Directors: Barbara Williams and Jo-Anne Carlyle

Consultants: Anita Prasad, Christopher Scanlon, Janelle Joseph, Lubna Khalid, Stewart Morton, Tanya Lewis

The recent un/covering of unmarked graves and murders of Indigenous children forced to attend residential schools calls Canadians and the world to re-examine histories of the colonization, genocide and enslavement by the British Empire. This call requires awareness of how current privileges are built on Colonialist forces across the world to accumulate wealth, enforce cultural dominance and exploit indentured labour. How can we use our understandings to meet the demand for reparation, remembrance, recognition and reconsideration from Indigenous peoples, refugees and black, white and brown bodies with different histories, experiences and identities living on colonized lands in Canada and in many parts of the world.

How do we make collective sense of ourselves as colonizer and colonized? How do we use language to express these differences of power and history within society and to describe their impact on our bodies and daily lives? What helps us name and address oppressive power relations under capitalism? What opens up our tendency to rigidity in how we see and understand one another by ignoring the complexity of multiple identities that exist within each of us?

How can we explore and reconfigure our (un)conscious understandings of ourselves and our relationships through exploring our internalized constructions of authority and authorisation, to undo, redo and explore our thoughts and feelings in the hope that something different might emerge that moves us towards holding a curious regard for one another, resisting oppression and seeking reconciliation and reparation?

This experiential learning workshop draws on the group relations tradition (www.tavinstitute.org) and will include large and small study groups; storytelling, review and application groups, and movement to uncover our projections, our defenses and the forms our resistance takes.