what is the acc?
The amalgamating consciousness coalition utilizes consciousness raising as a practice to unsettle domination and invite in freedom and liberation. Violence is the expression of domination, it is the way we feel domination on our bodies, lives, and words. To excavate and rid worlds of domination, we must make sense of the ways its arms and legs of violence manifest in our own lives.
The consciousness raising (CR) groups of 5-8 persons each utilize a lens of violence to examine their personal environment, relationships, perspectives, and experiences so as to understand and make legible a particular area of focus. This area of focus (type of violence) operates as a situating compass to understand and build consciousness around our day to day lives. While we may organize around a violence to see how’s its various forms take shape in our day to day movements, our goal is to keep the connections between all of these violences alive and moving. Indeed, we cannot understand climate violence without understanding extraction and domination, rape as a whole. Nor can we make sense of racialized violence without putting to name the processes of othering and humiliation colonization produces. The types of interconnected violences that make up each CR group include but are not limited to:
- Racialized Violence
- Gendered Violence
- LGBTQ+ Violence
- Colonial Violence
- Epistemic/Knowledge Violence
- Food Violence
- Capitalist Violence
- Climate Violence
Our values remain in tune with our desire for freedom, and thus animate from our commitments to:
- embodied and experiential knowledge as a self-defined knowledge worthy of our attentiveness and love
- embodied knowledge as a vessel of expression and channel for connection and broader action
- making space for diverse ways of being and knowing, and means to express them through co-creation
- unlocking new systems of being with others in emotional states of solidarity
- unearthing personal embodied knowledge to support self-awareness, healing, and catalyze political action
- adopting an ‘amalgamating’ approach which means that consciousness accrues, accumulates over time, over lives, scales, energies like an object and material we gather
acc’s goal is to utilize consciousness as an avenue and practice to invite in radical imagination and political healing. We hope that that the process of an ‘amalgamating consciousness’ allows you, and us all, to generate new knowledges, ideas, projects, things that put to name violence through examining/making visible our everyday lives. By generating from our conversations through oral histories, storytelling, manifestos, policy recs, academic research, workshops, dailouge events, book clubs, educational content/syllabi, performance, prose, poetry, and art, we are able to raise consciousness and create action to disrupt domination as it manifests and is struggled with on a tangible, everyday level.
What this means is that we can understand white supremacist capitalist violence through examining our professional working environment or excavate hetero-patriarchy through unsettling our day to day relationships. What we go through and how we go through life every single day is reflective of transnational structures of violence that bind us together. By centering the banal, ordinary, mundane we can make visible and illuminate the grand dominator structures through which we all abide, operate, and ultimately resist.
Most of acc’s CR groups will be positioned as 1 year commitments of 2-3 hours a week. To show up for ourselves and others requires requirements on time, and more subtly, on energy, that we don’t always have to expend. Majority of the groups will likely meet once a week for 1.5-3 hours to ensure we keep the connections and work of healing alive. However, you may indicate in the form if this type of commitment is outside your boundaries, and what type of commitment you’d prefer.
While majority of the energy you share is during the sessions themselves and the engaging in creation of new knowledges, materials, and artifacts, there is no start and end date to raise ones consciousness; it is a practice that permeates and may imbue in several facets of your life. This means that you may be doing the work of healing and organizing by yourself and with others in various contexts. It also means that questions and thoughts that guide your sessions answer themselves in other spaces of living and moving that you may wish to note down like a homework assignment to bring up during the next session. This is something to be mindful of when thinking about your own capacity and commitment for this type of omnipresent and engrained work.
This is a co-created space, so we will be building and facilitating the groups together, rather than something already being built, which you may then then slip into. This means that each CR group will build their collective charter, ways of moving and being with one another, together. This may include outlining rules of engagement; defining and describing the spaces, emotional and physical we will take up; developing details around sharing, confidentiality, listening; clarifying expectations we have from ourselves and each other; and so on. The beginning few weeks will be spent in deep exploration, figuring out how each group likes to work together, but also how we as individuals nourish our consciousness in different ways of relating and belonging.
This exploration may include the formation of ‘agendas’, the compass points that situate each session. These agendas may clarify how sessions begin, any rituals to ground the conversations; decide on how we want to dialogue and relate, maybe by asking a thematic question of our lives and everyone going around the table sharing, or each person sharing what’s on their mind and then letting the conversation flow from there, asking each other questions; clarify the processes of introspection such as journaling thoughts down for ourselves, stuff we may not be ready to share; how we’d like to repair and know that we’re at the end of the session, such as if we’d like to dedicate time to reflect on what we’ve discussed, or possible points to take with us till our next session and thereafter; and so on. There is little rigidity in this exploration, and it can be daunting, but we must not let our fear discourage us from risk-taking, as the messiness and riskiness of our work is what facilitates the unravelling of the messiness and reskiness of domination and violence.
While not everyone in the group will feel nourished from the same ‘format’, the point of these explorations facilitated, at least initially, by someone well-versed in exploring embodied knowledges, is to find that meeting ground–and if that meeting ground is unable to be found, or if its founding would lead to the exclusion of folks from participating, we are welcome to shift in and out of different groups until we find a resonating match.
how can i join?
To join one of the consciousness raising groups within the amalgamating consciousness coalition, please fill out this linked form to the best of your ability. If you require any accommodations, please reach out to us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
founder & director
Kanishka Sikri (she/her) is a post-de-colonial feminist writer unravelling the multiple faces and forms of violence as a mundane language of our dominator culture so as to imagine worlds without its mutilating and genocidal bounds. She came to the study of violence because she was yearning to make sense of the messiness, the violence that unrolls its arms to every corner of our being, spreading its fingers and slowly enveloping us into its bounds. You can connect with her @ kanishkasikri.com
advisory board member
Ema Walters (she/her) is a visual artist with a background in video and communications – passionate about storytelling and education. She is currently studying Sociology and Political Science at Concordia University. She is sensitive to her intuition and is always looking to have a better understanding of herself and the world around her, you may even call her an Innocent Scientist. She has a strong belief in people over profit and wants to mend the disconnect between each other and from our earth. Her dream is internal and collective peace.
advisory board member
Originally from Nova Scotia, Cody Baxter (he/him) has lived in Calgary, Alberta for a number of years. With a background in Information Systems and Political Science with degrees from St. Francis Xavier University, and the University of Calgary. He is currently completing a Masters of Science in Information Systems from Athabasca University, focusing on the impact of the technological divide on social communication in the Global South. His professional background includes work with the Alberta Justice Solicitor General, and the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences in a number of organizational and coordination roles. Most recently he has worked with the University of Calgary within the umbrella of student accommodations and accessibility. In his spare time he can regularly be found on the sides of mountains, dragging heavy film photography equipment in a vain attempt to capture the beauty of nature. When not risking life and limb, he spends most of his time baking delicious desserts or volunteering around Calgary for a variety of causes.
advisory board member
Rayna Sutherland (she/her) is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Toronto Scarborough (USTC) pursuing a specialist degree in International Development as well as Women’s and Gender Studies. Her past research and community-based organizing experiences include working with grassroots organizations such as a Tanzanian member-based small-scale farming organization, MVIWATA; the UTSC Women’s and Trans Centre, and Natural Justice, a pan-African social and environmental justice organization. Currently, her research explores tensions between biodiversity conservation, land restitution and Indigenous land rights in relation to intuitive justice in South Africa. She also serves as a Research and Project Associate at the Knowledge Equity Lab and on the Youth Coordination team within the Club of Rome’s Youth Engagement Program. These experiences have further solidified her passion for “justice” mobilizing through anti-oppressive, feminist, community-based, and action-oriented approaches, ever-grounded in relationships.
we are grateful for the support received from Rising Youth, TakingITGlobal, the Government of Canada, and Canada Service Corps