Changing the World With: Avoiding the Perfunctory Inclusion Trap
Date & Time
Tuesday, April 27, 2021, 2:15 PM - 3:30 PM
Nicole Kish-Field Sherry Edmunds-Flett

How do organizations conceptualize and implement collective engagement?  Are people with lived experience given meaningful employment positions and professional development opportunities, or is participation limited to stakeholder committees and consultancy? Can ‘lived experience’ committees unintentionally reproduce social silos? Does a salary/honorarium dichotomy exist that devalues certain knowledges and perpetuates socio-economic inequality? As social purpose organizations (SPO’s) recognize the benefit of collective impact (CI) models  and increasingly adopt CI practices, critical organizational reflexivity is required to ensure that their implementation does not re-marginalize voices of lived experience. 

Examine these questions through autoethnographic case studies shared by staff from the LINC Society, a peer-founded, peer-led transformative justice organization that has navigated tensions in expert-subject stratification between service providers and clients for nearly three decades. 

The case studies are designed to explore the covert ways inequity can persist in SPO’s, and to highlight the systems level change that results from authentic co-design. Participants will then engage in exercises designed to build skills to recognize and disrupt the perfunctory inclusion trap.

Learning Objectives: Participants will gain: 

  • A nuanced understanding of perfunctory inclusion
  • Attentiveness to: 1) How power dynamics within SPO structures can create or prevent systems change and 2) How social silos and inequality can be unintentionally reproduced when impacted communities are called upon to inform SPO’s, and are then returned to their silos.
  • Tools to cultivate critical organizational reflexivity and just practices for working with impacted groups at every step of social purpose work, from design to evaluation. 
Session Type
Concurrent How To Session
Community Engagement