Transform power, build solidarity, make change.
It’s All About Power
The Power Project calls for a new way of thinking about power, and action to build solidarity in social change.
How might thinking differently about power help build solidarity in social change?
There is no sticking plaster. We need to change how we think as much as what we do. This will look different for each organisation. But it begins with each one of us thinking differently about our own power.
The story so far
So far, the Power Project has hosted a two-year inquiry into power in civil society. Supported by the Cornerstone Fund, the inquiry focused on London – England’s most unequal city – but drew on learning and conversations from around the world.
Some social sector organisations already work in meaningful solidarity with people with first-hand experience. But we heard this is the exception, not the norm. Too often, people feel excluded or unwelcome, and engagement can feel tokenistic – even exploitative. It can perpetuate the very inequalities organisations work to tackle.
People who work in the social sector already talk a lot about power. Yet phrases like ‘empowering people’ or ‘sharing power’ can sound empty unless they’re backed up by better understanding and meaningful action. Talking about power can feel abstract, or uncomfortable. But power is everywhere, and it affects everyone. Unless we take the time to understand it, we’ll keep making the same mistakes.
We can only act intentionally to change what we can see. Power is complex, dynamic and pervasive. The Power Lens tool offers a bird’s eye view of the ‘nested’ systems that make up civil society, and the power that flows through and between each of them.
Just talking about power won’t solve anything. But seeing imbalances of power more clearly, then taking reflective, strategic, power-aware action to shift that balance, just might. The Power Framework is a tool to help inform and plan your strategic action to reshape power in social sector organisations.
Voices from the Power Project
Watch SMK CEO Sue Tibballs talk about the Power Project
Power Project blogs
It’s been a long and complex journey, but the findings from the Power Project are clear. Social sector organisations must think differently about power to build solidarity for social change. Saul Alinsky, organiser and activist, suggested that for a revolution to be...
In this blog, Head of the Power Sharing Project Sarah Thomas reflects on the unexpected journey the project took and calls for a new conversation about power in civil society – one that will help people with personal experience of poverty and inequality harness their...
Listening to stories of lived experience is vital but, as the Race Report has shown, it’s not enough
In the wake of the recent report from the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, the Government admitted that a ‘considerable number’ of people had in fact told the commission that, based on their own lived experience, structural racism was a real problem. This...
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Helping you think differently about power.
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