← All books

Holding Change: The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and Mediation (Emergent Strategy Series Book 4)
by Adrienne Maree Brown


"Holding Change: The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and Mediation" by Adrienne Maree Brown is a practical guide for facilitators and mediators seeking to create spaces for transformative change. It combines Brown's years of experience with insights from a collective of Black feminist facilitators, creating a unique approach to holding space for collective work.

The book's core themes are:

  • Emergent Strategy: A framework for approaching change by partnering with natural processes and embracing complexity.
  • Holding Change: The practice of facilitating and mediating in a way that supports individuals and groups to navigate change with intention and resilience.
  • Black Feminist Wisdom: Drawing on the legacy and wisdom of Black feminist organizers and thinkers to shape facilitation practices.

Key concepts and practices explored:

  • Group Dynamics: Assessing group culture and functionality, recognizing power dynamics, and navigating conflict effectively.
  • Trust Building: Understanding trust as a fractal construct that starts with individual connections and builds through small gestures and vulnerabilities.
  • Intentional Adaptation: Embracing change as constant and learning to adapt with intention, using our feelings as data to guide our responses.
  • Consensus: Approaching decision-making through shared understanding and agreement, acknowledging differences in worldview.
  • Boundaries: Setting clear limits as an act of self-love and creating space for healthy relationships.
  • Transformative Justice: Moving beyond punishment to address harm through accountability, repair, and restorative practices.
  • Grief: Recognizing grief as an essential part of social change, offering tools to process and move through loss with compassion and agency.
  • Creating More Possibilities: Cultivating a mindset that sees potential for growth and transformation, inviting creativity and experimentation.
  • Embodiment and Ritual: Harnessing the wisdom of our bodies to connect to our ancestral lineages, practice healing, and access deeper levels of understanding.

The book offers:

  • Self-Assessments and Group Assessments: Tools to gauge the health of a group and identify areas for improvement.
  • Specific Facilitation and Mediation Techniques: Practical guidance for each stage of the process, including agenda building, check-ins, discussions, and closure.
  • Black Feminist Wisdoms: Insights and reflections from renowned Black feminist organizers and thinkers, offering a vital perspective on holding space for change.

"Holding Change" is a valuable resource for:

  • Experienced facilitators and mediators: Offering new perspectives and tools to deepen their practice.
  • Emerging facilitators and mediators: Providing a foundation for building skills and understanding the nuances of the work.
  • Movement organizers and community leaders: Providing a framework for strengthening group dynamics and creating more effective and resilient movements.

The book ultimately encourages readers to see themselves as agents of change, capable of holding space for complex emotions and contributing to a more just and equitable world.