Getting to the roots...
For OpenEdge, why we do what we do is fundamental to what we do and how we do it. When we understand that there are reasons why violence and violent conflict happen we can relate to them as a form of (tragic) feedback about what is not working. In this way, we need to go down, underneath what we see happening, to reach the layers of 'why is it happening?'
OpenEdge understands that if we do not go down deep enough, we are in danger of individualising the causes of violence while still not addressing the often unconscious rationale that justifies violent choices and systems. OpenEdge seeks to go to the bottom, asking multiple 'why?'s, so we can get all the information that any given conflict is presenting us with.
Without sophisticated understanding of all feedback being offered by a conflict, and without integrating this wisdom, temporary and negative 'peace' may be found (i.e. end in direct hostilities), however, divisions and separation based relationships and violence in other forms continue or recur.
A transformative agenda....
All OpenEdge offerings seek to support the transformation not only of direct violent conflict behaviours, but also the normalised conditions, practices and structures of societies or groups, that make such individual behaviours possible. Crucially, this means transforming the underlying beliefs and ideas about human experience which underpin and justify existing accepted systems, practices and behaviours.
OpenEdge understands that existing ways of thinking and organising in our personal lives, organisations and local and global communities, inherently leads to the different types of violences which we experience in the world today. As such, we understand that violence is never a single moment, action or event, and is never ‘senseless’. We understand that the violences we see in daily life, at all levels, are part of continuums of violence which both reproduce and are products of unquestioned assumptions about human experiences.
OpenEdge engages in many different activities and projects (the ‘what’ of our work), but whatever we do, it is with the overall purpose of transforming behaviours, structures, and underlying assumptions.
The social and cultural dimensions of violence are what give violence its power and meaning. Focusing exclusively on the physical aspects of torture, terror, violence misses the point and keeps the project a clinical or literary exercise which runs the risk of degenerating into a theatre of pornography of violence, in which the voyeuristic impulse subverts the larger project of witnessing, critiquing, and transforming violence, injustice and suffering.
And all these images still look at it being the difference in the individuals that mean they have different needs. We have reworked our own version of this image to show the uneven terrain the individuals are standing on!
Local and global interdependent needs-based communities.
Creating emancipatory, transformative, re-humanising engagement with self and each other, in all our activities.
Transforming conflict and violence, division and exclusion, justice and change practices, through restoring connection and interdependent ways of being and organising.