Regenerative Activism

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Regenerative Activism

  • Who: Ilaj at ULEX

This two workshop took place on November 9. Participants engaged in collaborative exercises to explore collective and personal tools which can make our activism more effective and sustainable. This workshop was designed to be useful for organization or project leads that are trying to understand how to prevent burnout on their teams and networks, be effective for the long haul, and add continuity to movement building. The workshop built on Ulex’s experience in delivering Sustainable Activism, Regenerative Organising programme, more here:

Bio: Ilaj is an activist and trainer, member of the Ulex Project core team, and project lead for Ulex’s LGBTQI+ psycho-social resilience and holistic security programme. Ilaj works with groups involved in social and environmental struggles. They are passionate about working with body awareness as a radical means of deconstructing internalized systems of oppression.


Concept Board Used:

Resources Shared by Participants

  • World wide resilience network growing out of permaculture but integrating political & social aspects beyond environmental sustainability people might find to useful to help think about personal/group resilience in this wider context


  • Reaction to the word "resilience"
  • exhaustion
  • sources of energy
  • imagination
  • resourcefulness
  • bouncing back
  • resistance
  • Ability to recover from damage or distraction
  • Toughness
  • Solidarity
  • Ability to keep growing and stay happy
  • Trees / growing
  • Resilience = expecting individuals to do more rather than change systems
  • Curious
  • Self-repair
  • Expensive
  • Sacrifice

Group discussion

  • in Arabic, the translation of resilience is not precise, it's closer to "flexibility"
  • language makes it difficult to really translate resilience to its true meaning
  • the ongoing covid lockdown moment is retraumatizing. friends & colleagues are in burnout and not entirely aware of it.
  • conflict avoidance is very dependent on cultural context. high context cultures have other indirect ways to resolve conflict in other ways that are less verbal/confrontational/public etc (vs low context which is mostly northern european)
  • capitalism intentionally divides us and interferes with our helping each other for free or barter. radical solidarity is better than outsourcing & being forced to pay strangers to help us. we as americans are particularly hideously convinced of false bootstrap individualism
  • There is also a connection between perfectionism / culture of achievement and identity. That for some groups perfectionism can be a form of survival, especially for certain races and social groups that are overlooked or feel like they’re representing their people
  • Many models of organizational conflict resolution rely on naming conflict but rely on a false idea that marginalized groups feel safe enough/have faith that if they point out racism/sexism/ableism etc, they will be supported and a solution found vs being further marginalized & punished for speaking out. we have to continually walk the talk and make sure that we are all committed to enacting social justice and supporting anyone who moves in that direction and interrupting those who act against it

Outputs for how we build better organizational culture for regenerative activism

  • strong structure, offering us boundaries (e.g. someone keeping track of time, making sure we cover the important topics, etc.), but at the same time the flexibility to adapt it to our needs in the moment.
  • education about recognizing toxic behaviours; better conflict management practices
  • balance and self care, e.g. standing / sitting desk, or adding plants and things you like in your working space, or awareness of body state, breathing, etc.

Articles/resources shared during discussion

  • NPR: Black and Brown communities aren't getting enough sleep compared to white people, report reveals

  • NYT: There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing

  • NYT: Is Resilience Overrated?

  • RIPE Community Resilience

  • This is a world wide resilience network growing out of permaculture but integrating political & social aspects beyond environmental sustainability