A Platform for Collaborative Research, Discussion and Creation
With ASSEMBLIES, NAVEL invests in forms of learning that are:
COLLABORATIVE + EXPERIMENTAL + PROCESS-ORIENTED + CARING
ASSEMBLIES is a learning community and collaborative practice. Its form ever-evolves through an iterative and collaborative process with its participants, who are active agents in creating and recreating the space in which the learning occurs.
Community-led, these learning groups form around a theme, practice, project or experiment. To name a few, the first round of ASSEMBLIES saw groups form around topics including black ethics in rap music, anti-colonial media literacy, decolonizing augmented reality and revolutionary wealth redistribution. They take very different shapes and forms.
For three-month intervals, which we call quarters, NAVEL provides each ASSEMBLY with space, community, support, tools and resources—including access to our equipment, peer network, a facilitation training and micro funding. At the end of the quarter, each ASSEMBLY is asked to present about their experience and/or project. Projects can take whatever format feels most appropriate, be it a presentation, performance, publication, field trip, object, website, physical structure, etc…
Our Guiding Principles & Values for Braver, Caring, and Collaborative Learning
By braver, we mean an inclusive and compassionate environment where we feel empowered to take risks, make mistakes and engage in challenging discussions.
- We all have something to share and to learn from one another.
- We value transparency, knowledge and resource sharing, with the belief that what we share increases access, challenges the individualism of capitalist culture, supports us in learning from one another, and generates more possibilities for all.
- We center care, compassion and vulnerability with ourselves and in our interactions with others.
- We are curious about different ways of thinking, being and making. We are also curious about other living and non-living beings with whom we cohabit.
- We privilege process over outcome. There is always more to learn and things can be revisited. Never failing, always learning.
- What we trust becomes trustworthy. We trust ourselves, our peers and our process.
- We are honest about our own privileges and power. We recognize that inequity is systemic and are mindful about the space we occupy in relation to others.
- There is a time and place for everything. We prioritize listening and welcome discomforts, mistakes and disagreements with an open heart and mind, as opportunities to learn, grow, reach deeper mutual understanding and develop more empathetic relationships.
- We use a facilitative approach. We empower and invest in each other, share responsibility and practice collective decision-making.
- Our bond and collective agreements keep us accountable to each other and our learning goals.
- We respect each other’s privacy and boundaries, including confidentiality. We ask permission and understand that safety, accessibility and personal boundaries mean different things for different people. We allow space for ourselves and others to enter and leave according to their needs.
- We are grateful for our learnings, for what we could have only created and learned together, at this moment, in this space.
- We remember to have fun and enjoy ourselves.
The ASSEMBLIES Community & Resources
For the three month period of the ASSEMBLY, NAVEL provides:
- Organizers: propose, organize and facilitate the ASSEMBLIES
- Participants: members of one or more ASSEMBLIES
- Steward: point person on the NAVEL team coordinating the ASSEMBLIES.
- NAVEL Space in Downtown LA (amenities include a kitchen, modular seating and furniture)
- Neighboring Community Spaces throughout Los Angeles (_beginning 2021).
- AV Equipment: projector, PA system, cameras, laptop, etc.
- Video Conferencing: Pro Zoom account for online meetings
- Peer Network: connecting organizers with the NAVEL network, community members and relevant guest speakers.
- Micro Funding: Amount varies each quarter according to the number of total participants in the program. Each group receives a micro-grant and is asked to collectively decide how to use it.
- A Facilitation and Peer-Learning Reading List & Resources
- Regular Check-ins: The program steward is available to organizers throughout the quarter.
- An Information Session: Where logistics and knowledge from previous ASSEMBLIES and facilitation practices are shared with organizers.
- A Facilitation Training: With a certified leadership and DEI consultant/trainer.
- A Peer Group: organizers get to know one another during presentations, info sessions and training, and are connected via a group chat where they can share best practices, tips and resources throughout the quarter.
- Promotion: NAVEL promotes the groups through our extended networks.
- Documentation & Archiving: NAVEL archives and publishes the groups’ research, content and presentations.
- Public Presentation: NAVEL organizes and promotes a public presentation by the ASSEMBLIES at the end of quarter, during which groups share learnings with each other as well as the wider community, and have the opportunity to recruit new members.
The ASSEMBLIES Program Structure
Illustrations by Alice Yuan Zhang