Experience shows us, and studies confirm, that community well-being is dependent on the quality of the relationships and the sense of cohesiveness and belonging of its members. At the same time, people in many communities around the world are reporting an increased sense of isolation, division, conflict, and violence, and a resulting decreased sense of safety. The very fabric of our communities seems to be unraveling. Despite all of this, few individuals – let alone communities – know how to respond to conflict with behaviors without creating further pain and damaging relationships. How, then, do we build safe, resilient communities?
Restorative Circles offer a systemic approach to community self-care that directly addresses a community’s sense of relatedness, belonging, cohesion and connection. It invites you into a whole new way of understanding and experiencing being in community, engaging in justice, and living interdependently.
Restorative Circles, as developed by Dominic Barter and the favela communities in Brazil, establish a simple, concrete structure which empowers communities to choose a nonviolent response to conflict. These involve your whole community in discovering sustainable strategies for addressing your immediate and underlying long-term causes of conflict. The circles provide an alternative to the accusatory-punishment paradigms for dealing with crime, harm, and conflict that are embedded into conventional law. Instead, the circles focus on your individual and collective resources and responsibility for restoring justice and renewing your community’s social fabric.
Join this practice-based course with Duke Duchscherer for an introduction to supporting your families, groups/organizations, and other communities to create community spaces for conflict that are safe, constructive, and often, transformative. You can:
- Learn how to build a container for dialogue that can sustain all the pain and intense emotions that can arise in you and in others in your community when you experience conflict (even violent conflict)
- Develop the personal skills to stay grounded and focused within yourself even when fear, uncertainty, and doubt come to shake your sense of self
- Create a process that empowers your communities to develop their own unique systemic approach for transforming conflict that you can facilitate with them
- Practice facilitating a dialogue process that enables you to guide, and everyone to navigate, the chaos and complexity of group conflict.
In this course, you can begin exploring Restorative Circles in different social contexts such as schools, neighborhood and church groups, families, and business. You can begin to discover how this resource may be applied to your specific community.