Cultures of Care | Gratitude & Credits

Gratitude & Credits

“There has never been a time in the history of the world where gratitude has gone out of style.”

We are hugely grateful to have been able to sit with this material over the last year. We are also grateful for the many people who have dreamed and fought to value care and care work prior to our engagement. Key among these for us are the words, organizing efforts and visions of care shared by Audre Lorde, The Black Panther Party, The Young Lords, Sins Invalid, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Dani McClain, Winona LaDuke, Miss Major, the network principles of the Allied Media Network, and the International Wages for Housework Campaign. We know that we have learned from more people than the ones named above, and we will continue to learn from more as well.

In many ways, Cultures of Care has cared for us during this difficult time. Listening and editing, writing and researching, discussing and dreaming with this material has also held us to approaching this work with an ethic of care.

One element of this is acknowledging our place as an Institute at a major university. This means contending with a legacy of gatekeeping on what knowledge holds value in society on one hand, and a legacy of extraction of knowledge on the other. The second essential practice of the Institute’s Cultural Strategy for Belonging speaks to this:

“Amplify the knowledge, insight and vision that comes through culture and cultural production and create containers and experiences where this knowledge, insight and vision can be expressed and understood on its own terms.”

This practice seeks to shift what knowledge is valued and in what form it is valued. It requires us, as a research institution, to remain open to shift what we value and acknowledge as actionable knowledge. It requires us to listen and to notice with openness⁠—often in ways that stretch beyond our disciplinary training. As a reflection of this, we created Cultures of Care as an edge zone where the practices included might inform and transform other sectors, fields of work and disciplines. But we also know that the materials we created are not the medicine themselves, you have to go to the source for that and we encourage you to do so. We also know you have your own sources, and we encourage you to share and celebrate them⁠—publicly or privately.

Part of the power of these practices is that they are contextual; they are specific to the places, cultures and history from which they have emerged and been cultivated. This context⁠—which also shapes the form of care⁠—is essential to the content. Karuk traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) is tied to 1.3 million acres of land and is grown out of a relationship from “time immemorial.” This doesn’t mean that TEK can’t inform and shape practices elsewhere. But the deeper question that Ani and Vikki raise is not about fire as a tool for wildfire control, but about the legacy of our relationship to land and how to make that relationship right today. Rich’s insight as cultivator of social connection through party and music comes in part from growing up in a family that built multiple churches and having what he calls, “A PhD in being Black.” In that sense, his work contends with a deeper conversation about joy, release and the congregation in the face of anti-Black racism. If we walk away from Cultures of Care thinking all one needs to do is to burn forest undergrowth at a specific time of year or play music while setting up an online chat room, then the deeper potential of these practices has been cut away. As both Jason and Naima reminded us, care requires intimacy. Intimacy comes from knowing someone and something deeply. But in order to know someone else we have to do the work to know ourselves. The openness of these practitioners sharing themselves with us is a gift for which we are deeply grateful. We come out of this project better knowing ourselves, how to care and how to ask for care.

Project Credits

Project Directors
Evan Bissell
Giovanna Fischer

Video Editor
Majo Calderon

Alex Lemire Pasternak

Website Design
Erfan Moradi

Graphic Design & Illustrations
Yuri Sakakibara

Marc Abizeid

Research Assistant
Jo Williams

Special thanks to the entire OBI Comms team (Cecilie Surasky, Christian Ivey, Erfan Moradi, Marc Abizeid) for their support and feedback throughout. Thank you to Dalia Rubiano Yedidia for early project guidance and feedback on Why Cultures of Care?

This project was made possible by the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation.
Hewlett Foundation logo

Citation suggestion: Bissell, Evan and Giovanna Fischer. “Cultures of Care.” Othering & Belonging Institute, March 2022.

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