May 26, 2015

Positive Steps Beyond (Norm) Criticism Conference Day 1 Report


Reporter: Sonya Chumburidze


First day is always interesting yet intense, due to the fact that participants get to know each other and their work in a local context.  We started by introductions and allocations in our home groups and understanding the purpose of them and meeting the leaders of the group.

We proceeded to an exercise where participants were able to express their expectations, hopes and fears toward the conference content and as well as specific personal relationships among each other. As part of this exercise participants designed envelopes for each other in order to encourage and support their personalities, actions and opinions presented during the sessions. Scavenger hunt with the different national magazines followed this exercise, which exposed lack of norm critical and intersectional approaches in mass media and in societies in general.

Participants also were introduced to the historical context of Norm Criticism as well as the Swedish perspective and experiences, which established thought ground for participants representing organizations and whether they employ norm critical methods in their organizational strategies and activities.

Discussion took place on labels, their individual impact and societal connotations – positive or negative, how we identify and label ourselves, as well as societal binary norms. Then we discussed privilege and power structures and wrapped up the day by identifying the definition of an Ally and how they can advocate for the social groups they want to support but are not apart of.

Shabby, “Minority Voice”, Sofia, Bulgaria

It was a very nice start of the conference, my first thought was that norm critical toolkit can be very useful, and it’s also very nice to remember different aspects of it and this is a really good forum to share. It was interesting to learn about the Swedish model of education and how they use norm critical approaches there. I’ve used the Swedish examples in my work and life before and this is just one more.



Justin, “It gets better” Project

My favorite exercise was placing ourselves on the knowledge continuum, because it allows us to acknowledge our privileges and also it’s a visual way of seeing and feel that you’re part of the larger group or community.





Emilia, SETA, Finland

I’m really looking forward to seeing comments in the mail (envelopes). I just wish we had more time to talk and share experiences.

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