Eval Cafe: Compassion and Critique, Care and Courage: Generative Conflict and Consciousness Raising as an Alternative to “do no harm” in Evaluation
Presenters: Aisha Rios, Ph.D., Founder and Learning & Change Strategist at Coactive Change and Vidhya Shanker, Ph.D., Co-chair of the American Evaluation Association's DEI Working Group
Abstract: We want to create space/time for critical reflection and dialogue with others who share an interest in collective freedom. With increasing privatization of evaluation services--including the consultancy economy and associated clientism--evaluators can feel confused about how to approach critique and conflict. Historically, evaluators have adopted a stance of "do no harm," as if we are somehow outside existing harmful systems. As people who have experienced trauma; who live with and among others who have experienced trauma; and whose lives and work are informed by movement organizing, mutual aid, and transformative justice, we reject the idea that doing no harm and avoiding conflict are possible or aspirational. Instead, we wonder: How can we sustain and regenerate ourselves and our relationships through conflict and harm?