Knowledge During Action

Recording What’s Happening

When you are carrying out an action or mobilization, it is important to create a record of what you’ve done and what you’re doing, as well as recording your memories and impressions about how it’s going.  Some of the information you need to record is practical: how many people come and participate, how to get in contact with people after they’ve participated, what different people say or what their perspectives are, what sort of materials different people need.  Some of the knowledge you need to record is about how the project changes and what you learn in the process of doing it. Recording this information as you go is called “documentation,” or sometimes it is called “monitoring” when the purpose of collecting that knowledge is to check if the project was successful later.  Documentation is often informal – for instance, after you have a meeting with someone, you have notes on your phone or in a notebook of what you said, or you have memories of the interaction.

These images are of the minutes of a meeting held by a community group.  Minutes are notes recording what happened at a meeting that are saved and shared.  They are a great way of making sure that everyone remembers what happened and what they need to do, and that you can check to find later  Minutes or shared notes from a meeting help the people who participate in the meetings to follow up the work that was done.

Reporting Back

In this video, Marie-Josée Massicotte, a Canadian professor who works with the World Social Forum and with indigenous communities in Latin America resisting companies taking their natural resources, describes the concept of the ‘report-back,’ which is a way that many groups ask members to share information.

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