Georgia Nicolau, an esteemed participant in the critical making mentoring program, hails from Brazil and possesses a diverse skill set, such as being a creative professional, researcher, writer, trained facilitator, and consultant. Her expertise lies in the realms of social organizations, collective action, innovation, and culture and the arts. Notably, she played a pivotal role in co-founding the Procomum Institute in 2016—an NGO that champions the commons-oriented approach in her Southern American country. At the institute, she serves as Program Director, enabling partnerships and institutional development.

She initiates an in-depth exploration of the pedagogy employed by the Procomum organization. Their pedagogy serves as a means to comprehend the foundation of their community-focused work particularly in terms of integrating local knowledge. What does this mean, you ask? And also, why is this important? To address these questions effectively let us explore the analysis of the seven principles underlying the organization’s pedagogy.

First is faith in people and their encounters. The notion that every person matters, and the participation of each member is fundamental to reaching the results one is striving to achieve. Second is an abundance logic; to trust people’s values horizontally, where individuals can distribute decision-making and power. In other words, placing trust in individuals and their inherent capabilities by treating them as equals and recognizing their diverse perspectives and experiences. It emphasizes the belief that everyone has something valuable to contribute, regardless of their position or background. Thirdly, the concept of affection can be linked to the idea of filling one’s cup before tending to others. It emphasizes the importance of nurturing and caring for oneself first to cultivate personal growth and well-being. We can only create a sustainable environment conducive to supporting and helping others effectively by attending to our needs first. Fourth is serendipity, which means to identify collective findings in spontaneity, and not always in the initial planning. Fifth, learning by doing and doing by learning, generating and provoking knowledge and reflection where practice feeds theory and vice versa. Sixth, detachment and simplicity; pay attention to the essence of each encounter as it provides useful meaning to create and make. Lastly, divergence is wealth; the concept of conflicting ideas breed new strategies, wavelengths in thinking, and ways to adapt by conducting one’s behavior to act calm and collected.

By comprehending the method employed, one can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the impactful work carried out by LabProcurum. This is evident through the tangible outcomes of their projects, such as Lab Negritudes, LaCuida, and different Working Groups in various topics. Certain projects bring attention to the critical intersectional issues concerning class, race, and gender within Brazil’s borders. Others shed light on the challenges posed by climate change, particularly in relation to floods and landslides, with a specific focus on the vulnerable regions of Santos and Baixada Santista. Additionally, these projects address the concerns surrounding indigenous populations and the preservation of the Atlantic forests. The region is home to nearly 4,000 indigenous peoples and encompasses significant expanses of the Atlantic forest, both of which face economic pressures and real estate speculation, posing significant threats to their existence.

LabProcurum actively provides resources and integrates their pedagogical practices in the work through empathy & care, power, and action & memory; therefore, paving a way for society to access these tools and ideas. As a result, Labprocurum’s endeavors extend beyond self-interest, as they firmly believe that knowledge is meant to be shared for the benefit of the commons. They operate as an international organization, while equally embracing local contexts, thus fostering a cosmopolitan network. This approach broadens possibilities by transcending individual limitations and opening up new horizons for all.

Makerspaces should promote “learning by doing and doing by learning” as it generates knowledge from various perspectives or disciplines. Individuals can reflect on their actions, evaluate their outcomes, and refine their approaches by actively making or creating something. Thus, this iterative cycle of doing, reflecting, and learning contributes to continuous growth and improvement.

Please take a moment to watch Georgia’s makerspace mentoring video below.

Looking for more inspiration on Critical Making? Check out more resources HERE.


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