Highlights of Aminata Cairo’s Event

In Home by Friso van Dijk

On November 3, Sietar Netherlands had the privilege of welcoming Aminata Cairo with her workshop Holding Space. Based on the book of the same name which she published in 2021 and which is an inspiration to many. A nice diverse group of 36 participants enjoyed this special workshop in the hospitable Ulu Mosque in Utrecht. It was the first live event in months and a real pleasure to meet physically instead of on screen.

The energy that Aminata brought with her was tangible and noticeable during the workshop. She knew how to touch each of us with her way of working. Through various assignments, she introduced us to her body of thought. In small groups we worked on questions such as where are you in the dominant position and when in the position of ‘the other’. We shared experiences so we could hear eachother’s stories. It became clear that it was the marginalized stories that touched us the most. It did not stop at just talking. Aminata also worked physically with the group by moving, singing and dancing. Her message is to listen to our bodies because they are our radar. Our body indicates that something is going on.

What is this feeling, what is the discomfort, what do you need and who are your allies. She called on us not to take things personally, but to see how the systems work and stand between people. She talked about listening and hearing and what being truly engaged means, where it becomes uncomfortable and how to create space to deal with it.

After the workshop, participants could enjoy sweet and savory delicacies, a drink, and there were lovely encounters and conversations. People could also get a tour of the beautiful mosque. In short, a successful workshop where participants were inspired to put what they had learned into practice.