3 PHASES of
Unsilence Here workshops break down barriers to open dialogue and sustainable change by unpacking the fundamentals of institutional, cultural, and personal silencing.
BEFORE YOU UNSILENCE...
...it's important to understand the concepts of "silencing" and "unsilencing."
Explore Secrets, comprised of interactive stories, based on real events, that introduce these concepts and illustrate how institutional silencing, cultural silencing, and personal silencing create social taboos.
1a. NAME TABOOS
1B. IDENTIFY BARRIERS
1C. EXAMINE HUMAN RIGHTS
Use our summary of "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights" (UDHR) to identify where your community taboos fit within International law.
2A. RESEARCH ROOT CAUSES
2B. ENGAGE IN DIALOGUE
More content coming soon
2C. EXPLORE SOLUTIONS
3A. DESIGN INTERVENTIONS
3B. IMPLEMENT SOLUTIONS
Preparing for Implementation
3C. EVALUATE & PLAN for FUTURE
Change is only sustainable when it can be seen, experienced, and most importantly quantified. As part of the design and implementation process, participants will define metrics to evaluate impact.
PREPARING FOR CONVERSATIONS
At the start of a difficult conversation, help the group set some ground rules for dialogue - these may include:◆
CONFRONTING DIFFICULT SUBJECTS
For more on how to manage emotional responses to violence and injustice, check out Oxygen:
Sample outcome: UNSILENCE ACTION PROJECT
After exploring the concepts of silencing and unsilencing, 9th grade students name “transgender rights” as a taboo issue that is affecting members of their community (different communities identify different issues based on what is prevalent, marginalized, and taboo to them). The students work with their classroom teacher to identify barriers - personal (e.g., fear of exclusion), cultural (e.g., parents and teachers don’t know how to talk about trans experiences), and institutional (e.g., school doesn’t recognize gender identities of trans students) - that prevent them from talking about transgender rights.
They begin to explore the issue through secondary research that includes interactive, digital Unsilence Learning Experiences and guided reviews of published literature, research, and NGO reports to learn about trans experiences and the root causes of its silencing. This exploration leads students to understand the trans experiences in the context of human rights. Next, students engage in primary research, which includes interviews, surveys, and concept mapping to better understand both the historical and present-day contexts of transgender rights, as well as connections to other human rights issues.
Now, armed with information, agency, and growing skills in having difficult conversations, students design community-based interventions that serve to unsilence the transgender rights and trans experiences within their community. The students are then ready to implement their solutions (e.g., hosting a weekly lunchtime discussion group with their peers and teachers around trans experiences).
During this entire process, the students and their teachers receive Unsilence Leadership Training, document each phase, reflect on their learning and understanding, and evaluate their challenges, progress, and successes. As the students gain comfort with facilitating difficult conversations around taboo issues, Unsilence supports them to share their work with their community through various events and public speaking opportunities and then plan future action.
Our work at Unsilence builds a foundation for young people, educators, and the public to engage and reflect deeply on how they see the world, to develop empathy for others, and to begin personal and collective healing. Above all else, we elevate young people to be informed and engaged citizens who know how to lead.