October 19, 2023, 9 AM Central
4 Hour Session

Engagement is how we root our projects in equity and relationships. Relational practice in community development work is the ground in which we plant the seeds of resiliency, connection and sustainability. The cultivation of this ground is an ongoing practice of attention and care. Without meaningful and sustainable efforts, we risk recreating the conditions we aim to ameliorate, both for ourselves and the systems we work within. 

This interactive workshop offers approaches to relational practices in community engagement and community development by bridging social positionalities with connections with each other and our collective work. We are often called to bring additional awareness of the personal and professional affiliations and relationships with power, access, and privilege to this work, however, how might we do this without risking emotional burnout? Acknowledging tensions between transactional and relational associations, we will discuss the ecosystem of impacts to our personal well-being and introduce personal practices of care, healing, and grounding as practices that balance the inherent challenges in relationship-building in community-based practice. 



  • Build shared language and terminology of equitable community engagement and its impact to us as individuals
  • Build awareness of personal power and privilege, and connect with access, practice, and influence
  • Balance between relational and transactional relationships in organizations, communities, and ourselves
  • Bring a value-based approach to relationship building that centers healing and community support



Open Architecture Collaborative (OAC) is a global learning community mobilizing architects, designers and a diverse range of professionals who shape the built environment with technical skills to build capacity with communities experiencing systemic racism and marginalization. 

Pathways to Equity (P2E) is a core program of OAC that provides transformative learning experiences for a wide range of professionals to shift the field towards anti-racism and equitable outcomes. Pathways to Equity is a unique leadership program that brings an equity lens to personal and professional practices to redefine and re-envision systems that impact the built environment. Participants supplement their design education, learn with other like-minded professionals and are guided by methodologies that center anti-racist and equitable outcomes.