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unsettling workshop

with Sekai Makoni

“What does it feel like to be heard? To be listened to?”

These questions will frame two workshops for students and staff members of Rietveld Academie and Sandberg Instituut who are interested in facilitating collective and possibly uncomfortable conversations. Guided by Sekai Makoni, the workshops will take place across two evenings and will introduce various methods of discussion facilitation, active listening and space holding skills drawn from direct education and transformative approaches. The workshops will also offer further reading and practical tools. As part of the unsettling Rietveld/Sandberg program, the workshops have been designed to help support students and staff members moderate conversations within their departments in the upcoming Days of Listening in 2019 when students and staff are invited to gather in their departments to hear from each other about their experiences, ideas, frustrations and desires for the future of their departments. These days are one way to create transparency around how decisions are made about the curriculum and an opportunity for students to give feedback and propose new ideas.

Sekai Makoni is a Black feminist researcher, trainer and podcaster. She is a graduate of University of Birmingham’s African studies BA and the London School of Economics MSc in Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial studies. She is currently on the Critical Studies program at the Sandberg where she is exploring intergenerational trauma amongst Black people in the diaspora and healing approaches through Southern African choral song. Sekai runs a podcast called Between Ourselves that centers Black women’s voices on topics such as Zimbabwean-ness in the diaspora, mixed identities in relation to Blackness and the particularities of Black motherhood. Sekai’s interests also lie in campaigning and activism. She was a part of Sisters Uncut North; a direct-action feminist group that work to counter government cuts to domestic violence services in the UK. She worked for Campaign Bootcamp as a Local Training Programme Coordinator and through NEON (the New Economy Organisers Network) she trained as an Action Learning set facilitator. She currently runs a set for women of colour organizing intersectionally. Sekai is an Associate of ALA (Action Learning Associates) through whom she has worked for institutions such as the University of Oxford and the Clore Social Leadership Programme. Recently she worked for the European Cultural Foundation at their European Cultural Challenge conference where she explored ‘Diversity and Equality in Europe’. Sekai is trained in Open Space Technology - a model that utilizes group self-organization and direct education approaches as taught by the US organization; Training for Change. She also is a graduate of Talk For Health who work to demystify therapeutic talk by helping groups authentically speak and empathically listen.