Collective Care - Online Workshop Series

How can we center care as a force for political action?

We are living through a moment full of contradictions: all around the world, we are bearing witness to brutal violence, repression, and attacks on our civil liberties - and yet we are also undeniably experiencing a moment of resurgence and revitalization in organizing. From student activism for Palestine, to movements for racial justice, to the climate movement, activists and organizers are coming together to fight for a fairer, safer, and more inclusive society.

Engaging in organizing gives us glimpses of the better world we all deserve but it can also be very depleting: whether we face backlash and repression, emotional and physical exhaustion, or the pressure of balancing activism with other responsibilities. Sustaining this level of political engagement can however be very difficult both on a personal and a collective level. 

  • How can we counter the tendency to burn-out and instead make our organizing resilient?

  • How can we attend to our personal and collective needs while still remaining active and politically engaged?

  • How can we center care as a force for political action?

Join us for this online series, as we explore the topic of Collective Care with leaders from the field of community organizing, academia, and mental health.


Programme Structure

This summer, we will be offering a series of four online workshops on the topic of collective care. Starting in June and running through September, these workshops will be hosted by leaders from the field of community organizing, academia, and mental health, each exploring collective care through a unique lens.

This four-part workshop series balances a mix of theoretical and practical approaches, and alternates between a focus on the personal and the collective so as to explore care in all its facets, as both a political and collective endeavor. 

Each workshop will be divided into two parts: a webinar session facilitated by a guest speaker, and an optional follow-up reflection session for participants interested in deepening their engagement with the topic. These reflection sessions will take place a week after each workshop, and will provide an opportunity to build off the themes of each workshop in an intimate group setting, where participants will be paired with other organizing initiatives from around the world to reflect on and explore this topic together.

Workshop Descriptions

I. The Transformative Potential of Political Emotions

When: Saturday, 22.06.2024, 18:00 - 20:00 CET

Humans pride themselves on being rational: logical thinking and intelligence are commonly viewed as separate from and superior to emotionality. Yet emotions determine our judgement, our behaviour, our health, our ability to learn, our decision-making and, most importantly, our social relations. If emotions are hierarchized, devaluated, mixed with stereotypes and prejudices, and attributed to specific groups of people – what does this do to the individual, and to us as a societies? Powerful as they are, political emotions can align or disalign individuals with communities, having the ability to foster solidarity or sow polarization, all depending on how we decide to engage them. This session will explore the transformative yet challenging potential of political emotions, reflecting about how emotions propel our political claims and how our politics shape the way we appraise our emotions.

Julia Sujin Noël

Sujin is a coach and consultant to teams who are future-proofing their organizations, and to BIPoC activists who are developing their leadership skills. Through the filter of emotions, values, and narratives, Sujin looks for patterns in the political landscape that help diverse societies learn, unlearn and grow.

Optional Reflection Session: June 30th, 2024 | 18:00-20:00 CET 

II. Politically Grounded Self Care: How self care can sustain our collective struggles

When: Saturday, 20.07.2024, 18:00 - 20:00 CET

Our participation in collective action and movements can only be sustainable if we take steps to look after our needs and boundaries, both as individuals and the larger groups we belong to. If we aren’t looking after ourselves, we cannot hold space for others. Too often, this concept of self-care is represented as highly individualized or even consumerist, and as removed from a political grounding in our broader collective struggles. This workshop aims to explore tools and concepts that can help us care for ourselves in an explicitly political context, where self-care is understood in relation to our drive to sustain participation in collective struggles and movement organizing.

Hala Alyan

Hala is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor at New York University, and writer. She is the author of the novel SALT HOUSES, winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the Arab American Book Award and a finalist for the Chautauqua Prize. Her latest novel, “THE ARSONISTS' CITY, was a finalist for the 2022 Aspen Words Literary Prize. She is also the author of four award-winning collections of poetry, including THE TWENTY-NINTH YEAR. Her work has been published by The New Yorker, The Academy of American Poets, LitHub, The New York Times Book Review and elsewhere. Her latest poetry collection, THE MOON THAT TURNS YOU BACK, was recently published by Ecco. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Optional Reflection Session: July 28th, 2024 | 18:00-20:00 CET 

III. Sustaining Societies of Care: Centering an Ethics of Care for Sustainable Social Transformation

When: Saturday, 17.08.2024, 18:00 - 20:00 CET

Care is the essential relational practice that sustains the world we live in, it's everything we do to attend to the needs of what we want to maintain alive. Whether this is our communities, our movements, our societies or the entire ecosystem, none of them can do without care -and yet, the system we live in compels us to not value it as we should. But moving towards a more just and democratic society requires that we place care at the center of our societies, and in consequence, at the center of our politics. In this session, we will explore the importance of embracing an ethics of care to build towards a sustainable society, touching on the breadth and materiality of care, as well as on the ways by which care can open up our perspectives to challenge the current dominant system of interlocked injustices, to learn from the past, and to envision the future.

Joan C. Tronto & Deva Woodly

Joan is professor emerita of political science at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and the University of Minnesota.  She is the author of many works on care ethics, including over 50 articles and several books, including Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethics of Care (Routledge, 1993) Caring Democracy: Markets, Equality and Justice (NYU Press, 2013).  In 2023 she received the Lippincott Award for outstanding work in political theory from the American Political Science Association. She served as a Fulbright Fellow in Italy and has been awarded two honorary doctorates from the University for Humanistic Studies in the Netherlands and Louvain University in Belgium.  Her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Deva is Professor of Politics at Brown University. She is the author of Reckoning: Black Lives Matter and the Democratic Necessity of Social Movements (Oxford 2022) and The Politics of Common Sense: How Social Movements Use Public Discourse to Change Politics and Win Acceptance (Oxford 2015). She has held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton as well as the Edmund J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. Her research covers a variety of topics, from social movements to race & imagination, media & communication, and political understandings of economics. Her newest work is on the politics of futurity - particularly what it means to take the concept of political worldbuilding seriously in the 21st century. Regardless of topic, she focuses on the impacts of public discourse on the political meanings of social and economic issues as well as how those common understandings change democratic practice and public policy. Her process of inquiry is inductive, moving from concrete, real-world conditions to the conceptual implications of those realities. In all cases, she centers the perspective of ordinary citizens and political challengers with an eye toward how the demos impacts political action and shapes political possibilities.

Optional Reflection Session: August 25th, 2024 | 18:00-20:00 CET

IV. Collective Care: Practicing Collective Care and Centering Interconnectedness in Our Struggles

When: Saturday, 22.06.2024, 18:00 - 20:00

In this session, we will explore concrete examples of practices of collective care in movement contexts, and get a better understanding of the role these play in sustaining our organizing. The notion of collective care brings into focus the importance of interconnectedness in our struggles for social justice. It requires us to think outside the normal ways we’ve engaged with each other, including how we approach harm and safety; it allows us to dream and create a new world where love and solidarity are present. 

Collective care is both a strategy for growing and sustaining our organizing, as well as a form of praxis. By leveraging our time and material resources to ensure that care is centered, we model the practices and values at the heart of our struggle and bring into being a system of care where members are supported by the collective as they navigate individual and communal struggles. We will explore historical examples of collective care as well as current examples.

Adilka Pimentel

Adilka is a Black Latinx non-binary femme who was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to Brooklyn in 1991. Adilka has 21 years of organizing experience beginning in 2003 as a freshman in high school and youth leader at then Make the Road by Walking (now Make the Road New York). Adilka is a firm believer that Youth Organizing saved her life. She wore many hats during her 18 years at Make the Road NY including: Lead Organizer, the Leadership Development Coordinator of the Youth Power Project and the Coordinator of the Internal Community Security team. Adilka has thrown down in many campaigns in various issue areas (city and statewide) including: passing the NYS Dream Act, Defunding the NYPD, Fight for $15, removing cops from our schools, the Safer NY Act and opening the first Student Success Center in NYC in 2007. Adilka found a deep sense of community and solidarity in the families that have lost loved ones to police violence. She organizes alongside the families of: Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham, Delrawn Small, Shantel Davis and many others to get accountability for their loved ones. Adilka has a deep love of facilitation and political education and is a co-trainer for SOUL (School of Unity and Liberation) and A.I. (the Advocacy Institute). Adilka is a spoken word artist, an abolitionist, a pup mom and a lover of all things coffee. She currently lives in Munsee Lenape land (Queens, NYC).

Optional Reflection Session: September 29th, 2024 | 18:00-20:00 CET

How To Join

We encourage participants to register as a group, alongside friends and comrades with whom you organize. We are intentionally keeping this term "group" very broad -- your group could be anything from a more formal organizing initiative, to a student group, a book club, a mutual aid circle -- any gathering of people with whom you are finding your political community and where you could benefit from exploring this topic collectively.

Individual registrations are of course also welcome!