Presenting to the Garrison Fellows

Sharing an ally work project update with the Garrison Fellows.

Presenting to the Garrison Fellows

It’s been an absolute godsend to have this ally work project be supported by the Garrison Institute. I’m seven months into a two-year fellowship with this amazing group of folks.

We’ve each been having the opportunity to present our work to the other fellows — and receive reflection, feedback, and support.

This past week I presented about ally work. To be honest, I had high levels of anxiety the night before presenting. I didn’t sleep too well.

How did it go? It was definitely a success as a learning opportunity. And has left me with nutritious food for thought. My intention in presenting was to focus on speaking from the heart, rather than on frameworks and theory. While this may have left an intellectual gap in the material, I learned a lot through a more experiential and creative rhetorical approach.

What were some of the reactions? One response highlighted how “non-mainstream” this work is. And that’s true. In response, another shared that the content was deeply “mainstream” for their own being.

Those two experiences are helpful in illustrating the paradoxical nature of this work. In one sense, it seems so out on the margins in terms of the conversations our culture is having. At the same time, the work itself couldn’t be closer to the essence of each of our beings.

Two initial takeaways for me after presenting:

  • It’s valuable to share one’s work in community. Beforehand, I feared that the material would fall flat or not be engaging. It surprised me to receive strong emotional responses to the presentation. It gave me the insight that when exploring work on my own, in isolation, it’s hard to predict how it will actually land for people. Which highlights the value of working in community.
  • An inquiry is arising around the question, what is my role in relationship to the sharing of ally work. Part of my process in the fellowship has been to explore how I might develop pedagogy around ally work. I began to question this after the presentation. Is my goal to teach ally work? Or it simply to share my passion for it?