Wednesday, June 18, 2014

BLINC Workshop and Exhibition: 'Asserting Community Rights over the Environment'

Natural Justice India office is hosting a two-day workshop and exhibition called BLINC on the 27th and 28th of June, 2014. BLINC aims to bring together NGOs, academics, activists, designers and individuals or groups interested in the overarching theme of ‘Asserting community rights over the environment’. Some of the objectives guiding this workshop and exhibition are:
  • To bring together interested individuals and groups to discuss their approaches when they encounter challenges on the field while working with communities;
  • To experiment with new methods of conducting such workshops;
  • To work with the participants in arriving at new ways or potential approaches to challenges they experience in the field whilst engaging in such work.

The dominant themes that have emerged from ongoing discussions are:
  • Participatory  Intervention Processes
This theme in particular will focus on approaches taken by organizations in designing inclusive models for decision-making around legal/non-legal interventions with communities. Here participatory tools and methodologies will be discussed to enable an exchange of ideas on this key issue. The time factor, pre and post intervention will also be discussed to gain a sense of thought process behind the intervention. The understanding of inclusivity and participatory will be dependent on the nature of rights holders on the resources but keeping in mind internal divisions that fragment communities from cohesive action.

This fragmentation often acts as a precursor to exclusive interventions. The forces of such fragmentation (caste, gender or entrance of companies)  need to be recognized and discussion around methods used to overcome them should provide the background for unpacking the notion of participatory intervention processes.
  • Conflict Transformation or Resolution
This theme flows from the previous one on participatory interventions. Given that one of the dominant challenges in the field is divisions within communities, among communities and different stakeholders, this thematic seeks to address this challenge by working with the participants on exploring ways of conflict transformation and resolution. Conflict here refers to frictions which maybe historically located or contemporary in nature among the different interests of the communities or stakeholders in a given landscape.

(The motivation for exploring this theme is to understand how conflict transformation can contribute to a cathartic process in the application of law or other ways of intervention. This would mean using aspects of law as a basis for methods of or activities for conflict transformation. To also push the envelope further by suggesting that conflict resolution and transformation should form an integral part of working with communities in their struggle for asserting their rights over resources and to see how this suggestion might be addressed by the different partners.)
  • Reconciling Conservation and Development Desires
This theme zooms in on the constant tussle that every organization encounters in their work with communities. The balancing act of environmental conservation and desires for development that emerge from the communities is a reality that contextualises such work. These two contrasting interests seem to be at odds, but in this workshop we will aim to see how this tension can be resolved to better understand the communities we work with.

The planned activities are:
  • Workshop: To conduct a day and a half long workshop on the thematic areas;
  • Public Exhibition: To hold a public exhibition in M.G road on the overarching theme of ‘Asserting Community Rights over Resources’. Here we hope to showcase the work of the participants and their organizations for the public to engage with along with other exhibits from the Law, Environment and Design Laboratory at Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology.

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