The nuances of consent : Radical bodywork network workshop

September Sunday 9th 1-5pm in Glasgow
Laboratory : Nuances of consent
Facilitated by Katu (they/them) and Mathilde (she/her), somatic bodyworkers.

Consent seems obvious – most bodyworkers or any kind of therapist value consent as a core value of their practice. But if consent is obvious, its expression is nuanced. Even if we are aware of the importance of consent, we may sometimes not listen carefully enough to the nuances that people express and cross a border.

Our personal history, the culture we’ve been raised in and a long history of systems of oppression gave us agency or took it away from us. By its very nature trauma can take away our sense of choice about what is happening and makes it difficult to trust that our yes’s and no’s will be heard. We need to give consideration to the different ways of expressing consent. Both verbally and non-verbally. What supports life movement? What triggers freeze, fight or flight responses?

We would like to open a space to challenge our practices and explore these nuances of consent in practice, and deepen our awareness of some of the issues standing behind a verbal “yes”, “no” or “i’m not sure”.

– What is a consent-based bodywork practice? What do we expect from a consent-based practitioner?
– What steps can we do to make our practice even safer?
– What do clients need to know to experience that bodywork is collaborative and consent-based? How to encourage collaborative communication? How to ask questions that welcome safe no’s? Are we really asking in a way that allows free answering?

What we want to explore with you in this lab is…
– a space for open discussion about the topic
– one-on-one physical exchange inspired by the somatic practices about communicating through the body / learning how to communicate through touch and listen very closely to someone else’s body
– one-on-one sessions of our personal practices, updated with what we will have discussed in the group
– practical cases and short intervision (collective supervision)?

It might feel vulnerable to talk about times where we may have not respected someone’s consent, in or out of our work. We would really like this space to be welcoming to our experiences. This is how we can grow.

This is a co-learning space. Listening to bodies is an expanding ability : we will never reach the maximum. Be welcome, no matter if you have years of consent-based practice or if you have only just started working with people. We are facilitating it with a proposition and a structure, but we’re here to learn with everyone sharing the space. Let’s share skills, thoughts, practice and inspire each other.

We’re happy to hear from you before the workshop as well if there’s something you’d like to tell us to make this space an interesting learning for you.

Katu (they/them) and Mathilde (she/her) are somatic bodyworkers. Their body-mind approach is taught through a combination of touch, body awareness, breathing and both verbal and bodily communication. We do our best to be aware of the way hierarchy and inequalities affect our bodies, and how we can take care of our health through connection to who we are, self-care, community-care and transformation.

September Sunday 9th 6-8pm in Glasgow
Dinner and conversation to meet each other and speak about local network building and activity.

Interested in joining the Radical Bodywork Network ?
Join us on the Facebook group.

It is a space for bodyworkers, and other holistic practitioners, working in a grassroots, anti-oppression frameworks to share experiences, ideas, resources and events and build a community around what we do.

We see bodywork – when done well, and with awareness and critical analysis – as a political tool and an integral part of radical social change. We celebrate it as a way to facilitate wider healing of communities and as a form of body-affirmative activism in a world of body-shaming and systemic oppression.

The group will prioritise the voices of groups who experience structural oppression directly (racism, misogyny, transphobia, ableism, classism etc) and we’ll try to keep it as accessible as possible.

What do we mean by Bodywork?
We’re using this term as an umbrella for any transformative or healing work done with or through people’s bodies. Examples include Massage, Acupuncture, Somatic practises, Dance, Yoga, T’ai Chi.

What do we mean by Radical Bodywork?
Work that is radical (from Latin radix, radic- ‘root’) looks at the roots of a problem. It is holistic and embraces the bigger picture. When bodywork is radical, it understands health in the broadest sense of the word (the emotional, psychological, physical, spiritual, social and political). It acknowledges the root causes of ill health that include oppression, structural economic inequality or a polluted environment and works towards supporting on an individual level as well as the wider health of communities beyond the individual. It’s usually done in a way that makes it accessible to more people, and particularly oppressed groups.

Radical Bodywork Network activity –
The network which is an umbrella for both individual members and local organising chapters/collectives, is not-for-profit. It asks that no one organising under its auspices make personal economic gain from it, but acknowledges that local chapters/organising will necessarily make their own assessments and decisions in line with this guiding principle.

Thank you to Lisa Fannen (Glasgow), Otter Lieffe (Brussels – Berlin) Katu Sck and all the others instigators of this engaged and necessary network.

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