How do we engage with communities we are not part of?

Contributed by Jill Dimond

My dilemma is about how as a designer, as a programmer, I have a lot of technical skills, a lot of knowledge, so how do I authentically collaborate with communities where I'm not part of? How do we do authentic exchanges and collaborations together? That's really a lot of the focus of my work. Previously, with some of the big projects I've worked on, I am a member of the community, so my work in designing, developing tech to solve issues of street harassment, of online harassment. These are things that I've contended with basically my whole life.

I'm increasingly being asked to participate in projects that I'm not a member of, so addressing issues of HIV, of truth and reconciliation in other countries. I want to help out, but I have questions around how do I have this exchange in recognizing my power as a white woman from the west, and how do I bring these skills that have uneven resources in some ways, but that also I know I can learn from all communities that I come in contact with? How do we set up these processes in which there can be more just exchange?

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