A few years ago, I had the chance to become a certified yoga teacher. Besides doing a whole lot of downward dogs, my teacher training required me to consider what it really means to ‘hold space.’ How you create – and maintain – space for a group of strangers to feel safe, supported, and open. (If you didn’t think I was a hippie from California, I’m sure it’s clear now!)
When we talk about co-design, it’s not long before we bring up the need for creating safe spaces
. It would be difficult, if not unethical, to facilitate a participatory discussion, design or decision-making process without everyone in the room feeling safe.
But, much like when I was training to be a teacher, I wonder if the way we talk about safe spaces leaves room for all the nuances of what it means to feel safe. Safe for whom? And who gets to decide what that looks like? Something to think on…