consulting: relational design, valuation & evaluation

What is relational design, valuation & evalution?

Relational design, valuation and evaluation are methodologies for seeing and aligning with life-bearing ways of being in a project, and identifying and interrupting patterns of power that destroy them. It uses artistic, embodied, relational and analytical methods such as deep listening, storytelling, drawing and mapping, poetry, somatic practice and multi-layered social analysis to deepen our understanding of ‘what’s happening,’ value sources and possibilities for transformation, and strengthen the health of our relationships at every level. It is informed by earth-centered, living systems-inspired, queer and decolonial sensibilities which, in different ways, help us create more holistic maps of problems and what is needed to address them. Doing this builds capacities that put relationships and collective health at the center of systemic transformation in organizations, and cultivates conditions for healing and repair through organizing.

The themes of a relational design, valuation and/or evaluation program are emergent and vary depending on the organization’s context and needs. However, it often includes the following activities, which may be in-person or virtual as appropriate

  • meetings with individuals and groups of participants to share stories, gather information, and map areas of growth and struggle (using conversational and creative frames and exercises)
  • inquiry/research into the wider contexts in which the group works, initially and as needed
  • ongoing, iterative reflections on learning with the participants and project team (including around challenges, epiphanies, flows and blockages, strategy, relationship and more)
  • the creation of and experimentation with practices, tools and materials to guide genel and specific forms of learning in organizing contexts
  • ongoing review of program materials, practices, experiences and situations
  • formal qualitative and quantitative project valuation strategies, specialized and collaborative analysis, and discussion of outcomes and recommendations and at key moments in the project

my orientation & approach

I design and facilitate programs that help groups and organizations center radical relationship in their work. This means interrupting interpersonal, institutional and historical and systemic patterns of power that diminish, deny and harm interconnection. The programs focus on identifying binary, hierarchical, linear and transactional ways of thinking and relating, and deepening capacities for facing and challenging these and other logics of anthropocentrism, colonial capitalism, cis-heteropatriarchy, white supremacy, Eurocentrism and ableism. With twenty-five years of experience in critical, feminist and queer and decolonial theory and social research, I work with groups that want to learn and develop alternatives to ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ initiatives, and am particularly interested in working with people who are ready to move or already see beyond reform.

I have been doing social and relational research for more than twenty-five years and bring both deep experience and a listening-learning heart and mind to my partnerships and projects.

sample relational (E)Valulation work

A six-part series of free coaching sessions for BIPOC racial equity and social justice practitioners Our Bodhi Project, Portland, US, May-September 2021

A six-part series of free coaching sessions for racial equity and social justice practitioners who identify as white, Our Bodhi Project, Portland, US, November-December, 2021

An 18-month program organized by Seeding Justice (Portland, Oregon) to strengthen grassroots groups’ capacities for anti-racist organizing and cross-cultural engagement, July 2022 and ongoing.

get in touch to work with me

Please contact me to explore possibilities for working together, or if you’d like to learn more about how relational design, valuation and evaluation work can support you and/or your organization’s political education, alignment with co-liberatory sensibilities and accountability.

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