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Creating spaces for mutual support and empathy in participatory processes

The search for a living balance between the paradoxes of creating communicative spaces

My journey

When I studied Social Communication, with an emphasis on Public Relations, I understood the importance of fluid communication directed to each public with which an organisation relates.


After having experience with organisational communication in an advertising agency, industry and non-profit organisation, I pursued a post-graduation in Social Innovation Management at the Amani Institute, when I discovered the field of dialogue facilitation and recognized myself as a facilitator.

In search of improving myself in this practice, I sought training in different methodologies - Art of Hosting, Theory U, Essence of Facilitation (phenomenology), Thinking Environment, Sociocracy, Nonviolent Communication, Social Presence Theatre, Dragon Dreaming, Visual Facilitation, among others.

The impact of becoming more conscious about the quality of my presence in my conversations and relationships brought the desire to offer more people a personal development space in the field of dialogue. Between 2017 and 2020, I co-hosted learning spaces around this field, involving Theory U, Art of Hosting and other methodologies, for about 100 people.

I am a partner at CoCriar, a member of Sociocracy for All (SoFA) and co-founder of Húmus. In 2021, I was selected as a Chevening Awards fellow to study for an MA in Power, Participation and Social Change at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at Sussex University, UK. 

Source: own elaboration based on the paradoxes of Wicks and Reason (2009)

Cultivating the practice of inhabiting this liminal space is an exercise that requires constant attention and reflection regarding our individual preferences and tendencies to move towards one of the extremes of each polarity. If I bring to my awareness that I am a person who prefers order and predictability, I can try to make room for disorder and the unexpected in the participatory processes in which I participate. Encouraging this reflection in the group can also help us to find a lively balance between different personalities, preferences and needs.


  1. Original text in English: These safe communicative spaces are carefully thought-out environments of mutual support and empathy in which people, who might otherwise feel threatened by sharing their knowledge and experience with others, can feel free to express themselves. (Pimbert and Wakeford, 2003, cited by Wicks & Reason, 2009, p. 251)

  2. Original text in English: “these spaces for participation are not neutral but are themselves shaped by power relations, which both surround and enter them” (Cornwall, 2002, cited by Gaventa, 2006, p. 26).
    D. Greenwood & Levin, 2007a, 2007b

  3. Wicks and Reason name this paradox "Contracting" and refer to coming to terms with purpose. I thought it more appropriate to translate it this way.

  4. (Arieli et al., 2009)


Arieli, D., Friedman, VJ, & Agbaria, K. (2009). The paradox of participation in action research: http://Dx.Doi.Org/10.1177/1476750309336718, 7(3), 263–290.

Gaventa, J. (2006). Finding the spaces for change: a power analysis. IDS Bulletin, 37(6), Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, 22–33.

Kaplan, A. (2002). Development practitioners and social process : artists of the invisible. Pluto Press.

Wicks, PG, & Reason, P. (2009). Initiating action research: Challenges and paradoxes of opening communicative space. http://Dx.Doi.Org.Ezproxy.Sussex.Ac.Uk/10.1177/1476750309336715, 7(3), 243–262.

Explorando o espaço liminar
Propósito pré-definido e rígido
Intenção pré-definida que oferece direcionamento e é fluida para ser transformada
Ausência de propósito - qualquer coisa cabe
Fronteiras rígidas, que isolam o grupo
Limites que definem o grupo, mas não o isolam de seu contexto
Ausência de fronteiras - qualquer pessoa faz parte
A participação é imposta – força pessoas que não querem ou não têm condições de participar
A participação é convidada intencionalmente e amplamente, mas não imposta
A participação não é incentivada amplamente – só as pessoas com condições mais favoráveis para participar se engajam
Liderança excessiva, que mina as contribuições do grupo
Liderança que cria condições para que a participação de todos floresça
Ausência de liderança - espero que o grupo tome iniciativa sobre qualquer coisa
Ansiedade não é tolerada
Há espaço para que a ansiedade seja expressa e contida
A ansiedade toma conta do processo
Ordem - nada pode sair do planejado
Caórdico - há estruturas que norteiam e há espaço para criativamente sair delas
Caos - tudo é aceito a qualquer momento

About this website

Besides the gallery with relevant projects in which I have been involved in my trajectory, I will publish content - reflections, proposals and stories - that I consider may inspire more conscious and sustainable views on how we relate, produce, consume, and live. I hope that what feeds my thoughts may generate ideas in you as well.

about this site

On this site, I publish stories about relevant projects in which I have been involved in my trajectory, as well as content - reflections, propositions and stories - that I believe can inspire more conscious and sustainable perspectives on the ways in which we relate, produce, consume, live. I wish that what feeds my thoughts can generate ideas in you too. If something you find here makes you want to talk more, write to me

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