Radical inclusiveness

The next 10 pages will be in response to posts from a friend who went to the Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert last year. She is writing about the 10 principles that inform their community. I said that I would respond with something on each of the same themes. The first one she wrote about was the term ‘radical inclusivity’.

Inclusivity is something I’ve been exploring for ages. How do you make others feel included? I feel it is a question for our times as with marriages lasting for shorter times it means families fragment and blend in different forms, often some members feel lonely, isolated and less part of something as a result. When I was working overseas in a development setting I was concerned with the power dynamics and how you could minimise difference between the so called expert and the people you were meant to be helping. In Nepal women were often excluded from discourse as they were seen as inferior, and a chattel rather than an independent being. Families often sent their sons to school but girls were not so fortunate. Literacy levels were starkly different and girls had far fewer opportunities. They were raised to work and take care of their families. There were differences too that arose from the caste system and you would find that lower caste people were not allowed to enter higher caste homes. As a westerner I was someone who was outside their cultural frame and I was given a kind of male honorary status. The research I did tried to give women a voice and allow their voices to be heard.

The use of visual methods allowed a greater participation and I learnt a lot from village women who were outside the political arena. I gradually saw them come into their power through the use of networks of relationships that were based on trust and saw them bring positive change in their communities and begin to speak out more.

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