Cultivating Power for Liberatory Transformation
A New Set of Offerings From Change Elemental!
The Prefiguring Futures Lab (fka the Five Elements Lab) is a generator for power with and power within (and appropriate uses of power over)—for the be-how and know-how of advancing liberatory transformation. Rooted in the elements of liberatory transformation, it provides experiences, experiments, and practice—as well as some resources and tools—for tending to the being and doing of prefiguring liberation.
More specifically, the Prefiguring Futures Lab is a set of programs that deepen practice in the elements of liberatory transformation:
- Deep Equity & Liberation
- Complex Systems Change
- Shared Leadership & Power
- Multiple Ways of Knowing
- Inner work
Why these five elements? We are advancing deep equity and liberation. This is complex, systems change. The way forward is both planful and emergent, requiring us to define, understand, and share leadership and power differently, which takes inner work and embracing multiple ways of knowing. The elements work together as a hand and the Lab gives movement leaders, accomplices, and accompanists space to learn and deepen their practice with the hand of liberatory transformation. Read more about the elements and our connected theory of transformation.
Who This Is For
With our movement spaces experiencing discord and dis-ease from coping in toxic, racist systems, a crucial part of our work is supporting a big we to be well and move well in it all together. We believe that deepening practices of the elements is essential for transforming the being and doing necessary for thriving, liberatory movements. We are thrilled to be launching the Prefiguring Futures Lab as an ongoing set of offerings to learn and to be in practice together. The Lab is for all of us concerned with leading liberatory transformation and how that leadership is defined, cultivated, exercised, and supported. This includes movement leaders, movement consultants, coaches, and funders. We hope you’ll join us.
The Lab Experience
We will work together to co-create a rigorous, creative, and liberatory learning and practice space. We will connect with ourselves, and each other, deepening our interdependence and ways of being and doing in service of building and sustaining thriving movements.
Design is emergent, co-created, and rooted throughout the time in practicing liberation (influenced by the work of Monica Dennis), connecting, engaging, embracing, and reweaving:
- Body: Physical practice like dance, 10-Step, breath, and neurosomatic practices
- Source: Nature walks, meditation/prayer, and quiet time
- Emotions: Learning and moving from and with our emotions
- Story: Story telling orally, in pictures, and in song
Areas of Inquiry & Practice
- A Theory of Transformation: Connecting to and deepening our pathways and portals to the next world now
- LANDS (Liberation AND Sovereignty): Unlearning and learning, reclaiming, and reconnecting
- Complexity: Sense-making and strategy in the emergent and chaotic
- Shared Leadership and Power: Engaging with power over, with, and within, embracing generative conflict and mutual accountability
- Multiple Ways of Knowing: Leveraging creativity, intuition, energy, soma, and the natural world as guides
- Inner Work: Moving with purpose, source, and the sacred
- Hands-on: Experimenting our way forward, application, and reflection
All Lab experiences, whether it be a 16-month cohort, a 5-day workshop, or another kind of gathering, will draw on these same design elements and be rooted in the areas of practice above.
Liberatory Transformation: A Few Tools & Resources
To get a feel for the Prefiguring Futures Lab experience, below we share some invocations, inquiries, and offerings from previous Labs.
Invocations, Principles, Ingredients, and Recipes for Nourishing Social Justice Practitioners and Networks
From 2017-2019, Change Elemental, in partnership with CompassPoint, co-created and co-led the Network Weaver Learning Lab. This Lab was a space for leaders to deepen their thinking and practice in what it takes to advance liberatory transformation and to explore and experiment together on ways to advance the movement to end relationship-based violence.
Check out the medicine deck and healing recipe book that came out of the Network Weaver Learning Lab here.
Inner Work & Multiple Ways of Knowing: A Five Elements Lab Anthology
In the winter of 2023, the Change Elemental team held a Lab prototype where our staff team and some close-in co-creators came together to deepen our practices of multiple ways of knowing and inner work.
Learn more about the experience, and engage in some of the practices we tried on, by exploring the anthology here.
- Lead Designer & Facilitator: Elissa Sloan Perry
- Change Elemental Facilitators: Natalie Bamdad, Aja Couchois Duncan, Alison Lin, and Tamitha Walker McKinnis (different Change Elemental facilitators will be present for different iterations of the Lab).
- Experience Coordinators: Aina Dang (Collectiva) and Naima Yael Tokunow (Change Elemental)
- Communications and Learning: Aja Couchois Duncan, Naima Yael Tokunow, and Natasha Winegar
For more information, including participating in upcoming offerings, please reach out to us at PrefiguringFutures@ChangeElemental.org.