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.
EARLY BIRD: Before Oct 31, 2021 $325.00 CAD plus 42.25 (13% HST) = $367.25 CAD From Oct 31, 2021 $375.00 CAD plus $48.75 (13% HST) = $423.75 CAD
This conference is for leaders, activists, community organizers, staff and managers wanting an opportunity to learn through immediate and direct experience about difference, the effects of colonization, the conscious and unconscious group dynamics, and authority in addressing difference. No background or experience is necessary to participate.
Training Group The Exploring Difference Conference will provide an opportunity for participants with some group relations experience to participate in a training group. Participation in the training group will be decided by the conference directorate. If you wish to indicate your interest in joining the Training Group, please let us know during the registration process and we will be in touch.
Orientation Sessions If you have not participated in a group relations conference before, it is essential to attend an orientation session prior to the start of the conference. Two sessions are being provided: October 27, 2021 at 4 p.m. ET November 6, 2021 at noon ET If these dates and times don't work for you, please contact [email protected] to make alternative arrangements.
Barbara Williams, EdD, Director of Bureau Kensington (BKI), a consulting practice working with movement building and feminist networks and organizations internationally. She is a guest of the Toronto Psychoanalytic Society and founder of Impact for Community Insight (www.ici-ici.ca) a group relations network offering GR conferences and consulting training in Toronto.
Jo-anne Carlyle PhD, Clin. Foren. Psychol., Org. Consultant, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist. Having worked as a clinician, researcher, teacher and consultant for over 30 years, she is transitioning to work with greater social impact for the final phase of her career.
Director of Administration
Rod Smith, PhD, Leadership Studies, Assistant Professor, US Air Force Academy, uses group relations theory to teach leadership to undergraduate and graduate students in support of developing inclusive leaders of character. He is a board member for the AK Rice Institute (AKRI) and the Adaptive Leadership Network (ALN).
Exploring Difference Conference Staff
Anita is Exec Director of Working for Change, a survivor based organization building economic and social mobility in communities that live in poverty. She has been a grass roots community development and social justice worker for two decades; and involved in group relations for six years.
Dr Anne Aiyegbusi is a group analyst, forensic psychotherapist and registered mental health nurse. Anne works part time in the National Health Service in the UK and is a visiting professor at Buckinghamshire New University. She is also a director, consultant nurse and psychotherapist at Psychological Approaches CIC.
Dr. Janelle Joseph is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto. Dr Joseph’s research focuses on leadership related to race, gender, equity, and de-colonization
Lubna Khalid is a consultant living in Toronto. She coordinates women’s leadership and empowerment training programs in a not-for-profit organization. An active member of ICI offering learning on the nature of difference, leadership, and authority in groups.
Stewart Morton has been involved with group relations work for six years. He finds this work interesting and continues in the exploration of his learning. He lives in Toronto and works in the electricity industry.
Tanya Lewis PhD is Director of Coaching at Bureau kensington. Her work experience includes post secondary education, non profit community based settings. She is coordinator of ICI which offers group relations training in Toronto. She is treasurer for CSGSS.
The consulting practitioners will work with the consultants to support the learning of members and the conference as a whole.
Anna Turley is a consultant who works with feminist and human rights organizations in the areas of leadership development, governance, organizational strengthening and strategic communications. She has a particular interest in supporting shared leadership and networked governance and uses a collaborative and pedagogical approach to working with leaders, best thought about as 'walking with'. Anna has an MSc in Development Studies and lives in South Africa.
David Westbrook, MA, CTP Dipl. is a former psychotherapist and conscientious resistor of government certification and other reifications in "mental health" discourse and practice. I have been engaged in psychodynamic group work almost continuously since 1997; as psychotherapist in training, as group member, as peer, and as facilitator. My Group Relations experience began in 2017 and I am greatly looking forward to my first conference in a consultant role.
Kristine is a dynamic HR professional with legal background and experience working for various public and private sector organizations in Canada, France and Latvia. Kristine has an MBA with a focus on Organization Studies and LL.M in International and European Law. Kristine is particularly interested in exploring the nature and emergence of difference, leadership and authority in groups.
We are delighted that Kathy White is joining us as Consultant to the Directorate and staff team.
Kathy White PhD, is a psychologist/psychoanalyst practicing executive coaching and organizational consultation. Principal, Pogue White Consultancy, LLC, New York.
The definitions, quotes and images below give some idea of the context that the Directorate and staff team are working with in preparing for this year's conference. We will look forward to hearing the ideas, images and stories that members will bring to inform the conference work.
Colonialism Colonialism is the process of a country taking full or partial political control of a dependent country, territory or people. It occurs when people from one country settle in another country for the purpose of exploiting its people and natural resources. Colonial powers typically attempt to impose their language and cultures on the indigenous people of the countries they colonize. Colonialism is similar to imperialism, the process of using force and influence to control another country or people.
“she never asked for recognition, because she wasn't doing it to be recognized. she did it because it filled her up. she just carefully planted those seeds. she just kept picking up those pieces. she just kept visiting those old ones. she just kept speaking her language and sitting with her mother.
she just kept on lighting that seventh fire every time it went out.
she just kept making things a little bit better, until they were.”
This image of a rusty pipe is symbolic of the resource extraction processes that have centralized wealth through colonial capitalistic power, appropriated Indigenous lands and polluted the environment.
This image is a close up of the smashed statues of previously revered and memorialized white men who were instrumental in establishing residential schools, maintaining slavery and indentured labour practices. Their histories has been publically exposed and condemned.
"No, we can't essentialize any one community to one experience. Much like in the Indigenous community, we don't want to be reduced to one voice, we should also acknowledge that the immigrant community has this huge diversity of experience."
Wab Kinew, Director of Indigenous Inclusion at the University of Winnipeg, CBC broadcaster, Canada Reads panelist, hip-hop artist
Large Group Story Telling:
in this event, you will have the opportunity to share stories of difference.
Small Study Groups:
the task of the Small Study Group is to studyconscious and unconscious group dynamics in the exploration of difference from whatever is happening in the group as it is unfolding in the here and now. Two consultants will be available.
Training Small Study Group:
in this event, more experienced members will have an opportunity to review conscious and unconscious group dynamics in the exploration of difference from whatever is happening in the group as it is unfolding in the here and now.
Large Study Groups:
the task of the Large Study Group is to study the large group process as it happens in the here and now. There is the opportunity to consider the dynamics of large groups and the processes of exploring difference in a large group. Three consultants will be present in order to help the Large Study Group to think about its own process and what is happening.
Learning Experience Groups:
the task is to review your learnings in the conference and explore how you might take those learnings into your work, leadership, community or family.
There will be two movement sessions during the course of the conference. Members will be facilitated to collectively explore difference through movement.
The conference will open and close in full plenary of members and staff. The opening plenary provides an opportunity to introduce the conference and for members and staff to reflect on their thoughts and feelings about joining the event. The closing plenary will provide an opportunity to reflect on the conference and to share thoughts about how to continue the work.
A detailed schedule for the conference will be posted here.
The Online Exploring Difference Conference will include two sixty-minute movement sessions. You are hereby invited to participate in a research project about these movement sessions. Your participation in this research is entirely voluntary - you do not need to consent to participate in the research in order to take part in the movement sessions or the rest of the Exploring Differences Conference. Also, if you consent initially, you can withdraw your consent at any time.
Dr. Janelle Joseph of the University of Toronto Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education is researching how these movement sessions affect participant learning during and after the workshop.
As part of the registration process you will be asked if you wish to participate in the research study. If you affirm that you wish to do so, then you will be contacted separately by the conference organizers with information about the research and a formal University of Toronto consent form. This consent form contains specific information about confidentiality and how your information will be used and stored.
During the movement sessions of the Exploring Difference Conference physical movements generated by the participants will be seen and recorded on the Zoom screen. The movements will not be physically taxing and pose low physical risk to individuals taking part. Anyone not wishing to be seen can turn off their cameras.
Following the conference, you will be asked to complete a follow-up survey for the Exploring Difference Conference, which will include specific, optional questions related to the two movement sessions. You will be offered an opportunity at the end of the survey to provide your contact information to participate in an interview.
If you choose to be interviewed by Dr. Joseph or a Research Assistant. You will be offered $20 for your time. An interview will take between 60 and 90 minutes. Interviews will take place online via Zoom. Your personal information (age, gender, ethnicity and other demographic information) will be collected along with your ideas about the movement sessions.
One participant debrief focus group will be held to enhance participants’ learning from the Exploring Difference Conference. Questions about the movement sessions will be included in these debriefs. A separate debrief focus group will be held with the Exploring Difference Conference Staff.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Dr. Janelle Joseph ([email protected]).
About Insight for Community Impact (ICI)
Working with others can be exhilarating and it can be trying. We know that when we work with others “how” we do the work is of equal or more importance to “what” work we do. Yet working in difficult conditions and fraught environments as activists, professionals, leaders and workers, we can encounter intractable group and organizational problems which are difficult to make sense of never mind overcome. At ICI, we believe that making sense of these difficulties is key to creating the change we want to see in our communities and organizations, and that we can do so – or at least begin to do so - by better understanding ourselves, each other, and how we work together. By improving our understanding of how unconscious forces affect groups and they us, we can improve our own impact, develop our leadership capacity, and increase our capacity to a better world. ICI's trainings, based on the group relations method developed by the UK-based Tavistock Institute, offer opportunities to learn about the nature and emergence of difference, leadership and authority in groups. This requires exploring the connection between our inner worlds (thoughts, fantasies) and outer worlds (context and environments) and sharing those connections. Using a variety of didactic sessions, small and large group sessions, storytelling, and role analysis, we link the learnings from the event to your organization and context. ICI’s training offers opportunities to:
Increase effectiveness by understanding difference and people-in-context Observe group behaviour in the here-and-now and understand how they appear in your organization Develop your leadership capacity Understand how your leadership style affects the group Learn about "under the surface" forces that impact people, groups and organizations.
ICI is sponsored and supported by Bureau Kensington, Inc, PARC (Parkdale Activity and Recreation Centre), and West Neighbourhood House.