An evening with Emily Beausoleil: Tauiwi Tautoko: Impacts of a Listening-Based Approach to Transforming White Defensiveness in Aotearoa

Presenter: College of Arts
  • Date: Tuesday, 1 December 2020 to Tuesday, 1 December 2020
  • Time: 06:00PM to 07:30PM
  • Location: Recital Room, UC Arts at the Arts Centre, 3 Hereford St
  • Ticket: Free $0

Tauiwi Tautoko: Impacts of a Listening-Based Approach to Transforming White Defensiveness in Aotearoa 

Claims to attend to racism and settler-colonialism are often met with defensiveness by Pākehā. What, exactly, might break through such well-developed and pervasive defences? This talk will offer findings from the Tauiwi Tautoko project, a nationwide initiative in partnership with ActionStation that trained and supported roughly 140 volunteers to address online racism towards Māori – and, post-March 15th, more broadly – to address this question. Tauiwi Tautoko developed a novel approach to addressing racism, integrating practical insights from listening-centred practices of transformation such as conflict mediation, Tiriti education, performance, and therapy with values-based messaging that has been shown to prompt more progressive thinking. Through this work, we observed shifts and changes in the online context that are rarely if ever observed: from toxic, rapidfire, and dismissive to open, curious, and acknowledging tones; from grand sweeping declarations about ‘them’ to tempered, situated claims that account for one’s particular positionality; and, even in a handful of interactions, instances of actual position shifts. This talk will offer reflections on what dimensions of the model appear to be the cause of which forms of change we observed, offering practical insight regarding specific strategies that proved, in this case, most effective in softening, opening, and shifting ‘pākehā defensiveness’ in Aotearoa.

Join Emily Beausoleil (Senior Lecturer in Politics at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington) in conversation with Bronwyn Hayward (Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at University of Canterbury) and Director of The Sustainable Citizenship and Civic Imagination Research Group. 

Beausoleil’s research involves the investigation of persistent obstacles and creative approaches to listening by dominant groups in conditions of inequality. Connecting affect, critical democratic, postcolonial, neuroscience, and performance scholarship, her work explores how we might realise democratic ideals of receptivity and responsiveness to social difference in concrete terms. Her work has been published in Political Theory, Contemporary Political Theory, Constellations, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, and Ethics & Global Politics, as well as various books, and she is Editor-in-Chief of Democratic Theory.

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